Feels like just yesterday I was in the wonderful city of Chicago with my sister Kember. I remember sitting in a Starbucks cafe writing posts for this blog. Though this time I am not traveling in Vandy but by plane. I cannot believe that was 4 years ago...
Elli went back home long before me so I flew alone, well I was accompanied by babe our stuffed pig. Julie got it for me one day while we were all in Maine at the inne this winter. So I decided this little pink pig should see the world and join us on our travels. We have made it a mission to take a photo of her on every plane ride and as many outdoor adventures we can remember to bring her on. I took one of her looking out the window. Oh how big this world is, she had no idea.
Once I landed in Chicago I was warmly welcomed by Elli and her two younger brothers so eagerly waiting for my 2 hour delayed plane to arrive late at night. It was my first time meeting Simon(20) and Fischer(18), I must say they are not very little... they both tower over me by over a foot. My 5'4" self cannot compare to 6'5" and 6'8". I feel bad for their necks having to look so far down just to talk to me. It was so nice to get to talk to them and hear about there time in Chicago as Fischer just returned from college at BYU for winter break and Simon had just returned from his 2 year long mission in Wyoming and Taiwan. Elli's family had weekly zoom calls while Simon was away that her and I joined so honestly it felt like I already knew her whole family before meeting them in person. The next morning I met her older and final brother Jeron(26) once again standing at 6'8". My nickname in the family is a beautiful little pixie thanks to their family friend April. I have been so grateful to the warm welcome the Dastrup family has given me. From day one they opened their arms to me and have made me feel like family.
We got up to a lot in the short 8 days we were there. For one thing we ate lots and lots of food. They all wanted to take me to try their favorite spots we often hopped from place to place. Elli took me to the lovely bean which I went to with Kember back in 2018. I learned that the real name is called cloud gate which all the people of Chicago call it... but in reality it is just a dirty bean shaped mirror. Cute for photos I guess. We also explored the Chicago cultural center which has beautiful tile all over the walls and ceiling. I went to the chiropractor for the first time ever, my bones were cracking for many days after my adjustment. The woman knew my body better than I did. She would feel a part of my back or neck and link it to an injury I had or pain in other parts of my body. I have been saying for years I should see a chiropractor but never did the research or called anyone. I think I might just go from time to time when we get back in April. On to some other fun things we went to the Museum of Science and Industry and saw baby chicks being hatched! They were so little and so fluffy! I will say it made me miss the inne and our beautiful egg producing ladies. If you go follow Thewaterfordinne on instagram you can keep up to date on all the beautiful colored eggs they lay. Plus just see what Kember has been up to and the mouth watering food she makes.
Elli got her masters at the University of Illinois so we took a weekend trip to Champaign where I got a tour of where her family lived for a few years when she was young. I then got a whole tour of the campus, I almost bought an U of I dad hat, met some of her friends and stopped by some of her old stomping grounds... aka bar hopped. She even tried to convince me just a bit to get my masters there. Overall a wonderful little getaway. To wrap up this list of activities for her moms 51st birthday we went to a Korean spa called Kings Spa. Let me tell you this was an experience and a half. It cost 37 bucks for the pass which included access to over 10 different saunas, a wet spa and 24 hours access to everything inside. Once you enter you are given a "uniform" which differs by sex. Men got a grey t-shirt and grey shorts, while Women got a pink t-shirt and pink shorts. Amy, Elli and I spent the next six hours jumping from 100+ degree rooms to the 30 degree ice room and the "napping" rooms as we called it. I have never sweat so much in my life. Though it was very relaxing. It was truly nothing like I have ever experienced before but I am glad I got to go through that with both Amy and Elli. We entered not knowing what to expect, Elli and I were honestly a little anxious about it but we had an open mind. Amy has since gone back so if you are ever in Chicago and want something to do... Hit up Kings Spa.
After our lovely time in Chicago was coming to an end we got all packed up for our 3 months of travels. We are both only taking a carry on and a small backpack, though if you ever want a sneaky travel tip you can fill a pillow case with clothes and anything else and bring it onto the plane no charge for too many personal items. So that is what we will be doing whenever we cannot fit something into our bags. We are sad to leave Chicago but we are excited to go stay with Dane and Bella in Florida! I for one am looking forward to some warm weather. I am already tired of snow and it is only January. Follow along for more posts about all our adventures.
I will be adding photos throughout these travels in the photos tab if you want to keep up to date on all the beautiful places we go. Of course the photos of the piggy will be there as well! I mean that is the reason I am sure most of you follow this trip... just to hear about babe's adventures.
Greta Ann Vanderblue.