Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 1: Chicago

For Michelle's 12th birthday, the two of us took a trip together.  We flew to Chicago but then spent most of the trip in Nauvoo.  The trip got off to a bit of a rough start.  We were supposed to fly to Chicago on Thursday evening.  When we arrived at the airport, the flight had been delayed due to bad weather in Chicago.  But after an hour and a half, they told us the weather was improving and we would depart soon.  We were loaded onto the plane and then they announced that the flight had been delayed again.  After awhile, they announced that the flight would not be going to Chicago that evening at all. It was supposed to fly to Chicago then continue on to Buffalo, NY.  Instead, they were going to skip Chicago and fly straight to NY.  We had the option of remaining in SLC but there would be no room on any flights the following day or we could fly to NY and catch a flight the following morning to Chicago.  So that's what we did.  We arrived in Buffalo at 2:30 AM.  Alfredo had found us a hotel next to the airport, so we went there and got 2 hours of sleep.  Then headed back to the airport.

At one point, sitting on the plane, thinking about how tired we were going to be and how frustrating all of this was, I suddenly had a bit of insight/attitude adjustment.  Number 1, I was getting one on one time with my daughter.  Sure it wasn't turning out how we had hoped, but still this was invaluable.  And number 2, and most important of all, we were headed to Nauvoo to learn more about the early Saints.  Who had left NY and moved to Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and then out west to Utah. They had suffered unspeakable hardships and their journey west lasted months.  I was going there to honor them and learn of them, so what right/reason did I have to complain about ONE difficult night of a relatively comfortable airplane?!

We arrived in Chicago a little after 8 AM on Friday morning.  We had a bit of a challenge getting our rental car since we were picking it up a day later than originally planned, but we got it worked out and then we headed for the Chicago Temple.  Traffic was terrible and it took much longer than I'd hoped to get there.  But the temple workers were so kind and so helpful.  We were the only two in the Baptistry.  There is a beautiful painting of the Savior being baptized by John the Baptist with some onlookers and we were counseled to make sure we are always looking toward the Savior, not away from him.  It was Michelle's first time in the temple, and it was wonderful.  So peaceful and beautiful.

Then we headed to Downtown Chicago.  Again, traffic was terrible.  I am grateful to not live in a city as large or as crowded as Chicago.  It's got a lot of neat things to do, but I would hate to drive in that much traffic so often.   We walked along a river in the Lincoln Park area and drove along Lake Shore Drive.  Michelle was impressed to see Lake Michigan.

Michelle on  our walk near Lincoln Park

A mother duck and her darling little ducklings.

Then Michelle and I headed to the Field Museum.  It is huge.  After we were inside, I realized we had been there before...about 8 years ago when we went to visit my sister and her family.  But Michelle doesn't remember that visit and many of the displays were different.  So it was worth going...especially since we got in free with our membership to Thanksgiving Point.
Across the street from the Field Museum, they had a war memorial.  

Michelle on the steps of the Field Museum

This was a preserved mother lion with her cubs.  Her cubs were so darling.  So darling.  I wanted to pick it up and cuddle it in my arms.

Left:  Ostrich egg, Right:  elephant bird egg

 There was a section about Africa, particularly the culture of Senegal.   There was also an exhibit on Ancient Egypt.  Since Michelle had studied Ancient Egypt this year, she really enjoyed seeing that room.

More photos from the military memorials.

The Navy's seal

After we finished at the Field Museum, it was time to start heading toward Nauvoo.  We had hoped to explore one more museum, but arriving later than expected and traffic had used up more of our time than we had anticipated.  So we began driving to Nauvoo.  Michelle slept a fair amount...we were both tired.  When she was awake, we listened to music, we talked and we started listening to a book on CD...A Pillar of Light, the first book in the Work and the Glory series by Gerald Lund.   We got a later start than I had been planning, so we got to Keokuk, Iowa (just outside Nauvoo...about 15 miles away...where our hotel was) about 11 PM.  It was a long, exhausting day but had some wonderful moments.