Until this summer, I had never been to Chicago. Flown through, driven through, been to the suburbs, yes, but into the heart of Chicago? Nope.

Enter in Amanda. A dear friend who adopted from Gus’s orphanage told me that I should “meet” (via Facebook) her cousin, Amanda– she thought we’d make good friends. She was right. We instantly hit it off. We first met in person this summer when we (the 5 of us + N visiting at the time) stopped by her Chicago apartment for dinner on our way through town. We had a great time with her. We got a very, very tiny taste of Chicago.

Amanda lives in Chicago, works in Chicago, and LOVES Chicago. Amanda also shares my passion for orphan care. So, when I needed to pick an airport for Lyuda to fly into for the winter (P143 usually offers 4 or 5 choices, all of them far from us), I mentioned it to Amanda and she offered her help. She not only let us stay at her apartment, but she also played tour guide.

This is the day that Lyuda arrived for winter hosting. Her first meal was Chicago style pizza.

We also went to see the bean and then took subway back to Amanda’s place, where we grabbed our things and headed to the airport to fly HOME.


While this was a very brief visit, we also got to do it all over again when Lyuda had to return to Ukraine. We had a bit more time to explore with Amanda and see a little bit more of Chicago.

The night we arrived, Amanda’s roommate made us dinner, and then we headed to Amanda’s office for see her incredible view.


For Lyuda’s last half-day in the US, we went the zoo. I’m ambivalent on zoos, but because it’s free, I was open to giving it a try.


The first exhibit we saw was the sea lions. They just kept swimming past us and Lyuda thought it was incredible. They seemed to follow her… we just enjoyed watching Lyuda enjoying them.

Next, we went to see the big cats. Just as we walked up to watch the lion sisters play, we heard a fierce roar… which continued over and over again.

This tiger, a few enclosures down, seemed very angry about a family watching him through the glass.

We walked by the flamingos, and noticed this rather unusual short, brown flamingo.

The gibbon family was ready to entertain as well. Two younger gibbons ran around playing a wild game of tag like you’d expect of siblings, the dad showed off his swinging skills, and the mom kept a watchful eye over it all.

These little characters in the monkey house, the tamarins, are one of the oddest looking animals I’ve ever seen. I think they look a bit like a cross between a monkey and a guinea pig?

Despite my ambivalence, the zoo was a great time. Unfortunately, our zoo adventures were cut short, as we needed to head to the airport. We had the  advantage of our goodbye being a “see you soon” and even knowing exactly the date when we would see each other again. It was still hard, though.

One more Chicago picture, from a walk that Amanda and I went on after we returned to the airport (I had a much later flight).

Big thanks to Amanda for playing host and tour guide… showing us an awesome time in Chicago! We can’t wait to visit you again soon!

2 thoughts on “Chicago”

  1. Almost feel like I just spent the day with you in Chicago. Great photos! You should make prints of the flamingo one.

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