While you’re on holiday, no day is truly wasted. A Monday spent on a couch drinking coffee and eating bagels is infinitely better than a day filled with overactive Grade 1’s and lesson planning.
Monday was a chance to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead, get the last few days down in writing and take shelter from the miserable weather which continued to gloom up the windows.
Other than the concert at Thalia Hall I hadn’t had a chance to get out into the city proper yet, so today was the first chance to see a little more of life in Chicago.
Our first stop was the National Museum of Mexican Art, a free to enter museum which currently has a Day of the Dead exhibit running for the month of October. I know very little about Mexican culture so I’ll only say a little about what I learned.
The Day of the Dead is a day which Mexican people pay respect to people who have passed on. Mexican people outside of their home country will gather in culturally significant places (like Museums) to remember and pay respect together.
The temporary gallery showcased art work by Mexican people who keep this idea in their work, either showing respect to the dead or discussing ideas like how we are all the same when we die regardless of our position in life.
The rest of the museum contains art work surrounding the history of Mexico, shedding light on the people and struggles of the first Mexican communities, the founding of their country and the subsequent history which unifies their culture.
It was interesting to engage with the history and culture of a country I know very little about and some of the art work was enlightening and moving.
After the museum we stopped off at a grocery store (still no one really understands how fascinating I find US grocery stores) where we loaded up on snacks and treats from brands I’d seen on TV and foods which are hard to come by in Thailand. Halloween themed creme eggs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Flaming Hot Cheetos and a big block of Camembert cheese all found their way into our cart before we eventually got back on the road.
For lunch we stopped for a Chicago-style hot dog at restaurant called Felony Franks. The restaurant only hires ex-felons and ex-offenders and serves up some traditional Chicago style food. I took this opportunity to taste my first Chicago style hot dog, which is a hot dog with yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt. If it sounds like a lot, it is, and it’s like eating a salad on top of your hot dog but in the most delicious of ways. There are probably a few variations of this hot dog but one thing is agreed upon, no ketchup allowed.
We finished up the day with hot drinks around the kitchen table as Mari got a chance to hang out with her mom and family before calling an end to another day in The Windy City.