Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our family's accidental Chicago outing

Well, the summer is finally upon us. Our family's summer will mostly be taken up by a trip to Brazil, visiting my husband's family. Our baby is 10-months-old now and hasn't been baptized. Oh, who am I kidding, forget sacraments -- she hasn't even met her grandmother or her aunts and uncle and cousins on her Dad's side yet! So our venture into summer will quickly transition into the last preparations for our trip.

If you've ever traveled abroad, especially with kids, you know that it's a little different from traveling to Disney World. Just for a minor to get a US passport (both of my girls need one), you have to have both parents present when you apply for the thing. When you add another country into the mix, there's even more work. In our family, with respect to Brazil and the US, no two people have the same residency status in the two countries. This means that the documents involved to get from here to there and back can get quite overwhelming. The only thing that makes it more complicated is that the closest Brazilian consulate to us is in Chicago. More than 250 miles away.

We've visited the Consulate General three times this past year. The last visit was this past weekend. It was a quick in and out to pick up the baby's Brazilian passport. That was a relief after the last visit which took over 3 hours.

So there we were, 11:45a, at the NBC Tower on Michigan Avenue, just next to the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The possibilities were endless.

Stop and take a token picture in front of the Wrigley Building.

Then it was time for lunch at Ed Debevic's on Wells Street. Good, greasy diner food, rock music, lots of silly antics, and a "world's smallest sundae" for dessert. My oldest daughter took the complimentary sundae cup with us as a souvenir.

Then we took a quick stroll back to Michigan Avenue for window shopping up the Magnificent Mile. (Helped us work off the "food coma" that we were risking after all those burgers and ice cream sodas!) Niketown (to check out the World Cup wear for each country's team), the Apple Store (to check out the new iPad), Tiffany's (to check out the bling), and Border's (to rest and catch our breath).

We finally made it to Water Tower Place and to the new location of American Girl Place, where Lord & Taylor used to be. My oldest daughter Grace introduced the baby to all that is American Girl and then tried to convince us that the baby loved the Josefina doll most of all. I think we'll wait a few more years before entering into that roller coaster ride of consumerism again!

Time was running out and we were realizing we would need to move on or face the worst of Friday rush hour out of the city. The car was parked six blocks south back at Northbridge, so we had time for one last stop before ending our day out. OK, then, Garrett Popcorn it was. After a few minutes of contemplation, we decided on a medium bag of caramel crisp popcorn and a bottle of cold water.

All said and done, the whole day cost us about $100, including 6+ hours of parking.

That was the best trip to the Office of the Consulate General I ever made.


Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Oh! You look so cute with short hair now. I grew up outside Chicago and haven't been back in a loooong time, so it's fun to see the pictures and read your trip story.

Heather T said...

Thanks, Holly! Tomorrow we are off to get our last haircuts before we travel :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed the trip to Chicago through our eyes.