I thought I’d experienced jetlag before but the last few days has shown me that I had no idea what I was talking about. We’re eight days into our trip and still our bodies feel sluggish and eager to slump into bed long before our usual bed times. We try and resist as much as possible, but so far it’s had us falling asleep on couches and making dinner the continuous full stop to our day.
The last two days we’ve had the opportunity to find our feet and spend a little time reflecting over the travels that have brought us here. Mari’s sister and brother in-law have hosted us at their house, for the first time giving us a bed and (most appreciatively) a fridge to take advantage of.
Day seven was Columbus Day and Mari’s nephew’s sixth birthday so our time to unwind was periodically split with reading children books, building Lego structures and giving a little energy to her inexhaustible nephew and three year old niece.
Later in the afternoon we took a trip to Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. A conservatory is basically a giant greenhouse which houses a variety of foreign plants that wouldn’t be able to grow in the normal outside environment. The conservatory has many rooms, each room housing plants from different regions and environments. The kids love it and we slowly meandered around the conservatory which also housed unfamiliar animals like turtles and axolotls.
The next day with the kids at school the house returned to a calmer state and we took the opportunity to watch TV, write, read and really recharge our bodies. The plan was for Mari’s parents to take us out to their cabin in Wisconsin later in the day but with car troubles and a steady rain storm slowing their pace, we pushed our road trip plans to the following day.
With our bellies full of peanut butter, tostadas with eggs and avocado and a steady supply of delicious coffee, we spent the rest of the day moving from our bed, to the kitchen table, to the lounge at a pace much better suited to the weariness in our legs.
Mari’s parents eventually joined us at the end of the evening after a long and stressful day on the road. Their troubles had taken them back and forth from Springfield, starting their day at 8 in the morning and eventually arriving just before 7 in the evening. Mari was just as excited to see them as they were to see Mari and the weariness of the day slipped quickly from everyone’s shoulders.
Dinner was a treat of classic Chicago deep dish pizza, a supersized version of the traditional idea of pizza. The tomato sauce lies on top, followed by a thick layer of American style sausage which sits finally on a deep bed of cheese. It’s all wrapped up in a crust which folds up on the sides resulting in something that resembles a pie more than it does a pizza.
So with a piece or two of this Chicago staple in our belly it didn’t take long before we inevitably found ourselves back to an 8PM bed but this time, for the first time perhaps, actually feeling that we’d got some rest.