Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dawn Hits the Road Less Traveled

Well. ladies and gentlemen, Dawn made it to O'Hare today. Gracias a Dios. She and her mom told me she was up all last night packing. I got up at 5:30 a.m., splashed off, got dressed and was just grabbing a couple of granola bars when she called saying she was ready to go.

Her mom and her little bitty brother and I all went with her. Her mom handed me the keys and said, "You driving?" Sure. I knew I would be. I have driven to O'Hare before, but I'd never had to park there. Traffic on the Dan Ryan was terrible at 6 a.m. I got off at 43rd and went over to King Drive to get downtown and pick up 90/94 from there. It was slow to the airport from there but not terrible. We got there just a little after 7 a.m. for an 8:55 flight. She had to check bags, so I went in with her and she said goodbye to her mom and brother at the car in the parking lot (Cubs level). She and her mom gave each other two or three big hugs.

I was nervous about airport security since she only has her school ID. She's only 15 years old, for God's sake. She was asking me about bag claim and how that works as we were going on the moving walkway under the terminals. She'd never been to O'Hare before. "It's big," she said, wide-eyed on the escalator into the terminal.

"Welcome to O'Hare," I said as we came up to the bag claim level. She laughed. I went to the counter with her while she checked luggage and stayed in line with her right up until she was going to security. I promised I would watch until she was going to the gate. She smiled when she spotted me as she was waiting to go through the metal detector. When she was done and had her carry-on back, she gave me a big wave. I waved back. She headed to the left--the right way for the gate, and gave me a last wave and a big smile before she went out of sight. Yay!

Dawn's mom and brother and I stopped for breakfast on the way back. We went to Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square and we ran into the sister-in-law of someone from our block! I went and said hello to her (she speaks more English than Spanish). Dawn's mom was saying she is really happy Dawn is doing this trip and hopes she will learn a lot from it. She really looks to her daughter as the one who will go places and do things her own parents stopped her from doing. She wanted to continue her education in Mexico past upper elementary school/junior high but her father said no.

I gave them a quick tour of Uptown, my old neighborhood, after breakfast. "This is our trip," I said. She asked how much houses cost up there and was shocked when I told her my house would cost at least double in Uptown compared to what it cost in our neighborhood.

There's no trip news yet, but check "Ridges and Rapids I" on the link for how her trip is going, if you are interested.

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