The best part of Chicago, in my opinion, is Shedd Aquarium. I have always wanted an entire day to fully relax and be mesmerized by all the watery things, but since I usually travel with many people ( the consequence of having 4 siblings), I have never been allowed this squanderment* of time. I was thrilled then last spring when John told me that we would be headed to the windy city for a cancer conference, AND I would have 2 whole days by myself to do WHATEVER I wanted! He thought I would be bored, lonely, scared. Hahaha silly boy, I finally had the chance I had been waiting my whole life for. I used my mad wandering skills to locate the aquarium and began my “Jeanette Date” by treating myself to something I have dreamed about forever: meeting a penguin.
I was trembling with excitement as I followed the tour leader down a fishy smelling hallway to put on my special rubber boots. I noticed I was the only single person there, as if I was the only spinster with a soft spot for webbed toes. As if! The others on the excursion were a couple who seemed more into each others faces than the tour, even as they were telling us about how the penguin’s food is prepared (lots of fish), and 2 mothers with their young daughters bonding the day away to keep their girls from growing up to be the reason for a new public service announcement. I had to sit on my hands to keep from answering all the penguin trivia they asked us as we waited for it to arrive, I also had to keep from rolling my eyes when those penguin posers stated the wrong species name and locations. And then the moment came, my darling baby penguin was wheeled in on a trolley of ice and dramatically presented to us to everyone’s delight. We had 30 minutes to interact with # 409, such a sweet name, and get our picture taken. I walked on air the rest of the trip and still think about the little penguin almost daily, I can’t wait to go back and visit.
* totally made up word, but totally appropriate.
** every year when I was little my family would go to the zoo and I would have my picture taken next to a penguin statue- going to try and find these very soon!