Monday, December 30, 2013

If think Christmas is a zoo where YOU live...

Merry Belated Christmas! It’s our first Noël in Chicago, and given the temperatures I would have happily spent the entire holiday hiding under a blanket pretending to acclimatize to the ice desert without.

However, this Christmas brought visitors in the form of my elder sister and her brood, which meant that Amynah commenced a two-month neurotic obsession with turkey recipes (and boy, did that ever pay off).

It also meant that we felt duty-bound to show them the best that Chicago had to offer. As usual with the first few guests that we’ve hosted in our various cities, these visits are as much an opportunity for us to learn about our new homes as it is to play tour guide.

Fortunately, our guests interests coincided nicely with my existing knowledge of Chicago: the Lego store downtown and the Shedd Acquarium worked well for the eight-year old, the local cafés pleased the 12-year-old, and the 92-year-old ice cream parlour at which the Beatles once ate worked for my older sister.

New to us all was the Lincoln Zoo Christmas Lights. The Lincoln Zoo is a fantastic Chicago institution – it is both free and within biking distance, so I’ve spent many hours there with one mini-Reynolds or another in the summer. In the winter the animals presumably summer in Florida or something and the trees are taken over by billions of Christmas lights.

We lucked out in a number of ways – the weather the day we ventured out was a full 17 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today, and our numbers precluded taking the car, meaning I avoided the mayhem of trying to park at what proved to be the most popular and crowded event in the city that day.  I can’t imagine what the cold-weather animals that remain make of the whole experience, but the people are fascinated – the night we were there, Chicagoans were shuffling around the place gazing up like a horde of stargazing zombies with no conception of personal space.

Best of all, the experience broke me out of my incipient cabin fever, meaning I got to take pictures of Christmas lights, instead of coming up with bizarre at-home art projects…. ahem.

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