Wednesday, January 04, 2012

When a 9 year old Visits

Wow, where to start? My nephew Trae and my daughter were with me here in Chicago for a week over New Years. It was a great experience. Being able to see and experience things in the eyes of a child....

This time did show me how ingrained consumerism is in our culture. At every attraction, beyond the ticket price....there were added costs for exhibits and attractions. At every stop, there is not just one but multiple gift shops...there is no way around them! At Shedds Aquarium, we went through the Jellies exhibit and the ONLY way to exit was THROUGH the gift shop. This was the case at most places.... How do you teach a child that it's not about the purchase but the experience?

We visited many of the tourist landmarks in Chicago and each and every was the gift shop that provided the most draw to my nephew. "How much can I spend", "what can I buy", "can you buy this for me?". With all the amazing sights, sounds and tastes of the city surrounding was the gift shop that pulled him in. I don't blame him, it's a way of life here in the US.

Where did we go? What stood out? What did we buy?

- The Museum of Science and Industry
What stood out for me: The massiveness of it all
What did we buy: Postcards, a toy that Trae made.
Best Moment: (sorry, nothing comes to mind)

- Shedds Aquarium
What stood out for me: Shark Tanks
What did we buy: Postcards, a penguin keychain for Trae
Best Moment: Watching Trae play with foreign children on the fake rocks.

- Sears (or Willis if you like) Tower
What stood out for me: The 'City Pass' was a GREAT buy...avoid the lines!
What did we buy: Postcards,
Best Moment: Trinity stepping out on the skywalk (she is afraid of heights)

- The Billy Goat Tavern
What stood out for me: Great food and an eclectic history.
What did we buy: Burgers!!
Best Moment: Getting our picture taken outside by a stranger

- Millenium Park
What stood out for me: NO GIFT SHOP!
What did we buy: NOTHING
Best Moment: Walking away after getting kicked out with Trae on my shoulders

- The Cultural Center
What stood out for me: People were polite
What did we buy: NOTHING
Best Moment: Goofy guy jumping on bull with Trae

- The Field Museum
What stood out for me: It was peaceful and I want to go back
What did we buy: A dino keychain for Trae
Best Moment: Pretending to run from Sue the T-Rex

- Navy Pier for Winter Wonderfest
What stood out for me: Tons of families enjoying themselves. I noticed very little to no arguing, fighting, mis-behaving children.
What did we buy: A pressed penny and some odd toys for Trae @ Navy Peir. A lightup item at Winter Wonderfest.
Best Moment: Watching Trae ice-skate without help

- Wandering Michigan Avenue
What stood out for me: Summer MUST be better ;o)
What did we buy: Hot drinks
Best Moment: Watching Trae delight in taking photographs..and telling Trinity "I want to be a photographer like you".

In addition to the above, some of my favorite moments were:

- Hearing the sound of Trae's voice, the excitement over the phone while waiting for the train to bring him to Chicago "I've got to go Aunt Candy...the train is here!!"

- Trading a frappuccino at McDonalds for cheeseburgers handed out to the homeless.

- Watching Trae's eyes light up during our cab ride and train into the city

- Huggs....goodnight kisses...and family-time!! As a full-time traveler, I miss all of those.

I know that I have left Trinity out of much of this post.... We have traveled together on multiple occasions and this trip was more about Trae and providing an experience for him. I loved spending time with my daughter during this trip, watching her interact with Trae and just being together.

When a 9 year old visits.....PRICELESS!


  1. I am trying to use my android tablet for my blogging. Hopefully working out the kinks before the South america trip. I am unable to figure out how to add pictures to my posts...please bear with me. I have tons of pictures that I want to share but can't seem to figure it all out....

  2. As you can see...I have added pictures. Also added links to the rest of the pictures (in blue).