How it all began…
For those who did not know, I relocated to England from Omaha, Nebraska in May of this year. It was a move we were very excited about, but it was also a rather harrowing move. We had always moved ourselves, taking on four interstate moves in eight years, and I had to trust my irreplaceable family heirlooms to commercial movers for the first time. I remember that I watched the girl packing my grandmother’s tea set while chanting a line that I once heard in a sermon at church, “You can’t take it with you!” I must say that a part of me did not miss the packing, but I can honestly admit that I still prefer it. If something breaks, it is no one’s fault but my own and I honestly like it that way.
Beyond our household belongings, there was our family dog, Layla, who is shy of strangers and can be skittish. We prepared her for travel as much as we could by taking her to obedience classes to get her more comfortable with strangers, and putting her in her travel crate while we drove through a car wash. I am not sure it helped, but we were nervous about how she would tolerate it all, and I am sure that I bugged the great guy we hired to pick her up from the airport and board her here. Nevertheless, he was patient, and did not run from me when we finally met. I still take that as a positive sign.:-)
Because of Layla, we drove out of Omaha to Chicago where we shipped Layla the day after we arrived. She scared me the morning that we flew her out. She was barely drinking and she hates doing her business on a leash, so she was refusing to do anything while I walked her. It was not the situation I’d hoped for before an 8 hour flight. To compound my stress, the traffic around O’hare was terrible, and the road construction managed to get us completely turned around. I became a wreck because I believed her to be late to check in, but we managed to get her to the facility in plenty of time. Curses to the airline operator who told me an hour more than they actually needed!
Our flight left later in the week, so we then took in destinations that we had been hoping to see for a while. A friend and fellow JAFF Author C Rafe Carlson recommended seeing the “Bean,” which was our first destination upon arriving to the imposing downtown area. The “Bean” is actually a sculpture called “Cloud Gate” by Indian British born artist Anish Kapoor. It is a bean shaped stainless steel structure that reflects the sky and the Chicago skyline situated in Millennium Park. We then wandered around Millennium Park before meeting the aforementioned C Rafe Carlson for lunch at a local Sushi restaurant. Our final stop for the day was The Art Institute of Chicago. For those who do not know by know, I have two degrees from University–Biology and Art. I had long wished to go to The Art Institute of Chicago. I did not get to mull through it as I might have liked, not everyone in my family enjoys taking days to stroll and study the works, but I did get to see a great deal of amazing art that I had long wanted to see. I ended up making them take their time through certain sections and then I looked for particular works I had wanted to see.
Our last stop of the Chicago part of our journey ended with the Field Museum. Our children had been begging us for a few years to go see Sue, the most complete skeleton of a T-Rex that is situated in the lobby. If anyone has seen Night at the Museum, the T-Rex is Sue. She is rather impressive as are the other dinosaur skeletons found in the actual exhibit. Like the art institute, the Field Museum is large and could take more than a day if you were to take your time. By the end of the day, we all had aching feet, but my husband humoured me and drove me out to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. I didn’t go inside, but he parallel parked beside it and then in front so I could study the details and see what I had only seen before in photos.
We spent the day after checking out of our hotel and making out way to the airport, where we remained for the duration of the afternoon for our evening flight. I do not like flying at all, and I remember pausing at that last step that took me onto the airplane. I made it through the flight, and even managed to sleep for a while, bruising my legs while I attempted to get comfortable with two children sleeping across my lap. What I wouldn’t give to afford first class!!!
Next up…Arriving in the UK and Ely