Chicago Connections - My Family Travels
My version of the Chicago Skyline
My version of the Chicago Skyline

As soon as I stepped out of the car the fumes and smog hit me. I was no longer in the suburbs of the mid-western state of Iowa, my hometown. Squinting through the sun and smog, the skyscrapers came into view more clearly.  Excitement buzzing through my body made it impossible to stand still.  As if time had suddenly sped up, people whizzed by me like as if I were an obstacle.  “This is going to be a long week and half,” I thought to myself nervously.

                We had just spent six hours driving from Des Moines, Iowa, to downtown Chicago.  This was definitely a change, but a good one at that.  A whole new adventure lay in front of me.  After successfully getting through this one last day with my family, I was on my own for a week and half.  Being engulfed in the city seemed like an endeavor I wanted to experience.  Walking down Michigan Ave., commonly known as Magnificent Mile to tourists, I noted all the department stores that were twice as big as the ones back home.  Cramming all these sites into one day was going to be a challenge, but we were bound and determined to do it.  “Come on, we’ve got to hurry,” my parents yelled, jolting me back to reality.  We were off; one step towards the beginning of a new journey.

                Our first stop was the John Hancock center.  Traveling up 94 floors faster than you can count to 94, can be quite an enthralling experience.  Looking down from the observatory is a whole another experience.  Now, I’m not one that’s afraid of heights, but I will admit, I was queasy looking out those windows.  At this point of time I realized how much I still depended on my family.  As I looked down at all the people that looked like ants, it came to me that one day that could be me.  I suddenly had a newfound appreciation of my family.  Even though I fight with my sister constantly, I was going to spend these last few hours embracing her presence.  Now, it seems like the harder you try to make something work, the less it works.  Although it was hard, I learned a lot from these few hours.  I learned to not give up on anything you are passionate about.  Sometimes it’s hard to get what you want – in this case, getting along with my family – and you have to want to get there to accomplish it. The little ant sized people reminded me that there is always a bigger picture, and everyone is a part of it.  No matter how small you may feel like you are, you contribute to a larger whole.  It’s up to you to make the best of it.

                As we were leaving, and with my family still unaware of my goal to get along, I felt an odd sort of rush.  It might’ve been the elevator speed and my ears popping, but I think it was more than that.  It reminded me that family is family and no matter what you do, they’ll always be your family.  You may not get along with them, or even like them, but there is an unwritten rule of always sticking up for them. Turning, we walked down Michigan Avenue again and I found a new beauty in the crowded city of Chicago. Heading off for the next week and a half on my own, I sincerely said goodbye to them, and put them in a safe place in my heart.


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