Peering out the backseat window I watch the world whiz by. Five of my six family members are crammed into the confinement of my mom’s Toyota Highlander. Each passing hour the vehicle seems to become smaller and smaller, the aura in the Toyota becomes tenser and tenser. Jamming out to the beats on my iPod, I watch the countryside turn from flat, corn-ridden South Dakota, to the rolling hills of Iowa, to the picturesque scenery of Illinois.
Ten hours of “Are we there yet?” and “I have to go to the bathroom,” finally comes to a merciful end as we pull into our six-story, three-star, Hampton Inn and Suites hotel located on the outskirts of Chicago. Unloading the car, the excitement and hustle-and-bustle of Chicago seeped in my bones, pushing aside my fears and worries. I was ready to start off on an adventure.
Our first destination on the itinerary: Six Flags. I have had the privilege to visit numerous amusement parks, but Six Flags over Chicago is the most significant to me because I was finally able to put aside my lifelong fear of thrills and step into a whirlwind of excitement.
That night we drove to the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The gray-blue water spilled into the dimming horizon as far as the eye could see. Seagulls chirped and hovered above. Occasionally, one was seen nose-diving into the vast Great Lake.
Sunlight poured into the hotel room illuminating every corner, as excitement pulsed through me on day two. Our schedule was filled with shopping, sight-seeing downtown, and experiencing a live Broadway Show.
I was awestruck driving through Chicago. It was a colossal, innovative world to a small-city, girl. There were miles upon miles of interstates weaving over and under, cars swerving in and out, and businesses crammed here and there. Downtown Chicago was exhilarating. It brought out excitement and awe from my quiet, nonchalant nature.
Taxis were a streak of yellow as they swerved in and out of traffic, dodging every pedestrian. One had to almost bend over backward to see the tops of towering buildings, surrounding every sidewalk. Downtown Chicago felt like a zoo, but this time I was the animal in captivity surrounded by a strange world.
One cannot travel to Chicago without exposing himself to one of the wondrous museums. Our final day in Chicago we explored hallways filled with science at the Museum of Science and Industry. There, on display, was the only German submarine captured during WWII.
Last stop on the itinerary: Navy Pier. As the sun set behind Chicago’s skyline, my family strolled down Grand Avenue towards the Pier. The wind blew softly off the lake as I recalled my recent adventure. Excitement and fear overwhelmed me at the start of this trip, but now I was at ease. Chicago was a completely different world than my city, but it had beauty and charm, excitement and adventure which lurking around every corner. I had stereotyped Chicago as an overpopulated, full of bums and gang-type city, but Chicago is hardly that. It is an adventure waiting to be made.
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