The girls and I and a friend and her daughter hopped on the red line and headed down to Chinatown yesterday to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was cold but sunny and we had a blast. Seriously one of the best days in Chicago I've had in a while (maybe cuz we have been hold up inside surviving this polar vortex nonsense). We arrived a few minutes after the start of the parade but we quickly and stealthily squeezed through the crowd and got some spots near the Chinese gate. I just loved the bold, bright colors after the grays of this winter. It was crowded, chaotic, and full of vibrant life. Just what I love!!
The parade was cool but by far the highlight of the day was when we went into a small bakery for some rice, soup, and cake and just to warm up. While we ate were heard drumming and pretty soon the dancers and dragons came INTO our restaurant. The girls were squealing (umm, me too) because it was pretty awesome. They got to touch the costumes and see them up close. They were speaking in Chinese so we missed most of what they said but they did translate blessings for health this year. My favorite part was watching the kids take it all in. I love that this experience was a short train ride away and that we are blessed with friends who are egaer to explore the city with us.
"look they are coming!"
IN the restaurant. Note: there was screams of glee.
The excitement did not end in Chinatown! We took the El home and all piled into our van that we parked near the red line stop only to discover the car would not move AT ALL (note to self THAT is why you got such a good parking spot). Under our car was solid ice and snow!! When I tried to go forward or reverse there was only the smell of burning rubber. The kids were delighted with the situation since it meant general merriment making and fujo in the van while we adults tried to dig us out. Soon strangers passing by stopped to help. People pushed our car, went to their apartments and brought back shovels and kitty litter (thanks Allstate commercial), and dug us out. What could have been a stressful situation actually become fun! Fellow long suffering Chicagoans helped us until we were out of the spot and drove away to cheers. We thanked everyone and blessed them for helping us and I must say a love for fellow urban dwellers grew. In a city that can often feel huge and isolating this was a small town moment when everyone took their time to bless us. It was actually a fabulous end to a great day! This winter is pretty horrible but days like this remind me why I love Chicago so much. Friends, food, culture, and kind strangers. This is my kind of town (April-November mostly). You can check out more on hawa images here. And happy year of the horse,