Friday, April 01, 2011

What I did for spring break and Chinatown

So, this past week was spring break from my online teaching and tutoring jobs, and now I'm wondering...where did the week go? Well, here's the lowdown in case you're mildly interested. Monday, I worked on taxes. Tuesday was my b-day, so my son humored me and helped me find my first letterbox for 2011. (Letterboxing, in case you haven't heard of it, is kind of like geo-caching. If you haven't heard of that, then go here to learn more. It's a great hobby. Shout out to Melissa DeGroot for introducing me to this.) Wednesday, I have no idea what I did. I think I worked on the budget and some editing. I have also been finalizing some poems which I sent to Highlights for Children this week.

Yesterday, I decided to be a little adventurous and take my teenage son and his girlfriend to Chinatown in Chicago. It was quite the experience! Some random thoughts:

- Chicago expressways are too crowded (but we all know that)
- Chicago side streets are riddled with potholes (we all know that too)
- There are such neat little neighborhoods tucked into this great big city. That's what I love about big cities--it's really just a conglomeration of lots of little towns.

Chinatown was well worth an afternoon's visit. If I were visiting Chicago from out of town, I'd say....eh...there are probably better places to spend your time and money. But for a 20-30 minute trip there and back, it was a fun afternoon.

I learned that Dim Sum is--I think--the Chinese version of tappas. It's lots of small dishes that everyone shares. We tried shark fin dumplings (ew) and some shrimp dumplings. My taste buds generally go for the super high fat spring rolls or shrimp rolls, so the lunch was definitely not diet-friendly.

We mostly enjoyed the little shops with the trinkets and interesting hats and little buddhas. It was a blend of all things eastern and western. The grocery stores were the best. In one grocery store, there was a basket to-the-brim-full of live crabs. When we walked in a woman was using tongs to check out the meaty underside of the crab. The poor thing was flailing his little claws around until he got shoved into a paper bag. The whole basket was sort of crawling, and being the very brave person I am, I ran out of the store. Literally.

But we went back in, the kids picked up a few of the crabs, kicked the box of live eels, and we found some of the oddest looking foods, like these:

...and something in a "bakery" called "Green Bean Paste Cake." Those words simply do not belong together.

All in all, though, it was a fun outing. Now, back to reality next week.

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