On Wednesday and Thursday of this week I took a trek with 48 sixth grade girls to Chicago, IL. Needless to say this trip was a different kind of experience for me. I love visiting cities. Although I am not a city girl, and will forever strive to live on acres of land with chickens and multiple dogs running around my big front yard/garden, I have always loved visiting the eccentric hustle and bustle of the metropolis. The museums, the food, and the tattooed people always give me a little burst of enlightened energy that I cannot get anywhere else.
For all of these reasons, I said an enthusiastic "YES!" when asked to chaperon the 6th grade class trip this year. Having not been to Chicago since I was 18, I was eager to explore the city as an adult, and even more eager to expose my sheltered, all girls private school students to public transportation and sky scrapers. Little did I know the exhaustion that comes along with carting 48 twelve year old girls around an enormous city. I have never really understood how annoying the question "Are we there yet?" is until this week.
However, despite my exhaustion, sore feet, and constant counting to make sure all children were accounted for... I really did see this city for the first time. It is said that you see things different as an adult. I know this to be true through literature...Catcher in Rye or The Great Gatsby were an entirely different books for me at age 22 versus 14. Well, I guess it is obvious but turns out travel is the same. I saw more to this city than I ever saw in my half dozen teenage visits. It's amazing how life experiences makes us open our eyes to see what is right in front of us.
Needless to say, I was amazed. The weather helped, 80 degrees in middle of April was out of sorts for the "windy city", as did the multiple stops for an Americano. But through the winning, the chaos, and the lack of sleep...I really did love Chicago.
I just hope each of those girls return at age 26 and think about how differently they may see it from when they were 12.