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My early memory linked to smell

Growing up in Chicago, public transportation was the mode of commute for my family for many years. As I understood it, we used to live on the west side of Chicago before we moved to the south side. I will confirm this with my siblings later.

We lived on the West side until I was about 5. I don’t remember our street name or anything, but I do remember sometimes catching the train with my mom. My favorite part about the train station was the different stores with treats. The aromas were so enticing. I don’t remember exactly what the products were (imagine bakeries, candy carts/shops, and food carts, etc.) The train station was so full of life with people scurrying around.

Years later, probably my late teens to early twenties, I found myself in the vicinity of that train station again. I think I was meeting a friend. That’s the only reason I could think to be there. I was greeted with the same enticing aromas, of which I hadn’t smelled in years. Deja vu hit the pit of my stomach like a bomb. The smells conjured up so many cloudy memories and emotions.

It was smaller than I remembered. The shops and general area were older and worn. I had mixed emotions because this was a part of my history, yet I barely remembered it visually. That train station had seen thousands of people pass through, no doubt, including my mom and me. And life passes by so quickly. I wish to smell that place again someday.

Bloganuary: Day 16 prompt

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My preferred mode of travel

By far, traveling by car is my preferred mode of travel. Road trips nowadays are a totally different experience than road trips growing up. Back then, wearing a seat belt was not the law, and I remember being packed in a car, even sitting on someone’s lap or on the floor. There weren’t a ridiculous amount of McDonald’s or other restaurants to choose for food or if you had to use the restroom. We packed sandwiches and peed on the side of the road if we couldn’t wait to get to a proper place.

By the time we were traveling with our kids, I took advantage quite a bit and traveling became more fun. On one trip to Chicago with our kids when they were little, all restroom breaks were at hotels because I knew all hotels had restrooms in the lobby, and they were always clean. We stopped a lot along the ride. It was brilliant!

In 2021 and 2022, we were fortunate enough to drive to Chicago to see our families. It’s approximately 16 hours from Austin to Chicago. I enjoyed not having to deal with the airport and all it entails. And our comfortable vehicle made all the difference. We (mostly Bryan) paced ourselves and drove 8 hours during the day, stayed overnight at a hotel, and left out from the hotel early to complete the drive. We did that going and returning home. The road trips forced me to slow down and enjoy the ride….BLISSFUL indeed.

The cover photo is a picture I took with my phone in our car in Chicago. We miss our families, but don’t miss that cold.

Bloganuary: Day 14 prompt

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Thanksgiving in Chicago

I feel obligated to acknowledge it’s been so long since my last blog post. What can I say??? Life is a roller coaster ride BUT I’m so thankful I have this platform to connect with others. We have plenty of time to catch up, but today I want share some Thanksgiving gratitude for making this trip to spend time with family!

View of Downtown Chicago from Lake Shore Drive on our way to the Shedd Aquarium 11/23/2021

Saturday morning, my husband, Bryan, children and I embarked on our much anticipated road trip to Chicago from Buda, Texas.

Outside of the famous Buc-ees near Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (2 of 2 on this road trip) 11/20/2021. This store is the ULTIMATE gas station. I mostly APPRECIATE the restrooms.
Inside Buc-ees in Temple, Texas (1 of 2 on the road trip) 11/20/2021. This store was so busy & crowded. We stopped for the restroom & gas. Bryan grabbed this photo before we dashed out.

Our trip was smooth “sailing”, relaxing, and peaceful…until we stayed at a Motel 6 in West Memphis, Arkansas. We wanted to break up the 16 hour drive into 2 days. We’ve never stayed at a Motel 6 before but all the decent hotels in the area were booked. We didn’t think about the other families traveling to see their loved ones this Thanksgiving. Bryan and I needed to rest to finish the drive the next morning. With the exception of Bryan, the rest of us got very little sleep.

Though I’m very thankful we took a short reprieve because there was a lot of traffic, we hope to never stay at a dingy little hotel like this one again. The room was icky and cold, the surroundings were loud, and nothing about it was comfortable. I was so miserable and cold that I thought about waking up my family so we could leave in the middle of the night several times. At about 2:00 am, after seeing shadows of people walking by which had been the case since we got there, I felt the need to monitor our car. I observed how packed the parking lot was and I thought to myself “we’re not alone in this discomfort and we’re doing what we’ve got to do like everybody else”. 

We layed down fully clothed on top of the bed and were on the road again by 5:00 am. By 2:00pm, we were at my oldest sister’s house in the south suburbs of Chicago. For the return trip, we’ve already reserved a hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, which is about our mid travel point.

I’m so grateful for being able to be with my family this Thanksgiving. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I flew to Chicago at the beginning of November to attend my Uncle’s funeral. I have the double blessing of spending time with my family twice this year. The time with our families always reminds me of how precious life is and what’s truly important.

To see Bryan and our children with our family and friends has warmed my heart so much.

And even though I am not in my own kitchen, you know I’m going to be cooking the vegan/plant based Thanksgiving sides for everyone else to enjoy right??? Yes, I’m impressed with myself for maintaining this way of eating since June!

If Thanksgiving is celebrated in your part of the world, my hope is that it is abundant in love, food, and whatever else pleases your soul, restful, splendid, and blessed!