Just follow the flow of the city. CHICAGO. After taking the kids on a boat trip we walked around town and ended up for a break at Millenium Park. Who’s that guy on stage… ? I like that voice. I really like his music …. Glen Hansard on stage for his rehearsal. We ve seen Glen a couple of months earlier in Las Vegas and no doubt that my husband and I joined in for the free night concert at Millenium Park. Awesome show!
We stayed Downtown at the Springhill Suites Marriott, great walking distance to well-known shopping paradise Magnificent Mile. Our first walk took us early morning to the Austrian embassy to pick up my sons passport and to apply for our Au Pairs Visa. Another journey we have taken on …. we were looking for someone to join us in Austria starting in August. I ll write more about our experience to hire an Au Pair from the US some other day.
Another day and no huge plans: from coffee, to a free tour at one of Chicago’s fire station, walking through the famous AMERICAN GIRL store …. we just simply inhaled the smell, sound and taste of Chicago before we packed one more time ………to head to the Wells Fargo Bank and quit our American Bank Account …..
3 Walnuts for: The Springhill Suites Downtown Chicago
4 Walnuts for: American Girl Store on Magnificent Mile
4 Walnuts for: a cruise around Michigan Lake (different company’s in town)
5 Walnuts for: dinner at siena tavern (w.kinzie street) delightful made-from-scratch menu! (In case you are with your kids and you don’t feel like eating out in a fancy restaurant call in your order for pick up! )
Wisconsin, Madison …
Great, perfect sized city to visit and a lovely university campus to stroll around and enjoy some ice cream. That’s exactly what we did. My personal favorite spot in town, was unexpectedly the ELLA’S DELI.
Out a day in dairy land ….
4 Walnuts for the Grandstay
5 Walnuts for Ella’s Deli and the grilled pound cake hot fudge!
5 Walnuts for shoo! A neat store to shop while in Madison!!
Some AWesome photos from our Mad Men Style Party as a 2 years celebration living in an incredible neighborhood ….
With a 5 hours delay we drove out of Lincoln, Nebraska. “The good life” is the state slogan. I agree. We had a good life in ol’ Nebraska.
Driving across the Platte River one last time. Our last days were filled with a lot of packing and cleaning, a Mad Men Style Party, many tears and farewells, and one last phone call to Austria. “see you next week“, this moment I realize that indeed I am going home to Austria. Thankful that Nebraska has been a wonderful, temporary home.
One last stop for a football game with our kids before we travel cross country ….. leaving something behind that will always stay with us, in our deepest thoughts and memories. Nebraska.
We got invited: to a ranch in central Nebraska. Some folks my husband met over the last year. My friend Karen told me not to go. The so-called Sandhills are only a 4 hours drive from Lincoln, but they are different, she said…….. There is a certain picture I have in my mind when I think about a ranch in the Midwest.
Excitement and anxiousness.
We were welcomed and treated like family and best friends. Our first ride with the four wheelers gave us a brief view of that wide open space, and that all belongs to one single ranch! An amazingly, beautiful landscape ….
I could have not asked for more Midwest country experience!
Follow me for part 2 … Not only the landscape or the unreserved handling of guns took my breath away …..
…. A horse trailer, dogs wandering, horses roaming and the smell of bacon. Waking up at a Midwest Ranch in central Nebraska. It’s the “Branding” weekend.
Everyone gets together for a hearty Breakfast.
Now my kids roam around too. In between the horses and the dogs. I have spent days on farms in Austria but never had they been just straying through the country. Always kept safe within the paddock or the barn. The horses come and go, while Omelets are cooked in a ziplock (plastic bag) under boiling water, bacon and Hamburger are roasted in the pan under the sky. Coffee in beer glasses and beer as fresh as it can be. Good Morning in the Sandhills.
Some head out with their horses and others with the ATV’s to wrangle up the cattle for the marking and the branding. Each calve gets 2 immunizations, a marker, branding and the bull calves are castrated. My husband has a quite easy job, he holds the door open or closed, but he needs to be quick. The team works fast and hard. I am glad that I am only taking pictures and not caring a bowl of so-called mountain oysters (calf testicles)….
At the end of our last day we take the kids on a last short ride with the ATV’s. While I am opening a gate, my friend and my 5 year old are turning. Unexpectedly Joshua hits the gas thumb lever by accident and they crash right next to me into a post of the fence. ATV flips over, both are falling off. Silence. My husband and I are running. Our friend seems fine first. Joshua. I pick him up and he says right away his stomach is hurting. I am worried about both of them. He seems to be fine otherwise. No blood. But he’s all pale and gets quiet after a while. Shocked. I refuse to go back on the ATV. I’m a mother that has all the strength to carry my almost 6-year-old boy through the Sandhills. No matter how far … Dennis gets our car meanwhile to the road where I am waiting. We instantly know we have to see an ER, worried about internal injuries.
Everyone’s in the car. After a couple of minutes my friend realizes that her arm is swollen and bruised, her chin hurting and a finger bleeding. 45 Minutes drive to the emergency room…. Lights behind us! The sheriff. Dennis gets checked and has to sit in the Sheriffs car for several minutes….And gets a Warning ticket for speeding. I look out the window and look at some terrifying clouds. Some minutes later back on the road. Sirens in the trunk. It’s my NOAA weather radio. Tornado Warning… driving fast again. Arriving in the town of Ord, there’s no current Tornado Warning there but again the formations on the sky look terrifying. We head inside the small hospital, glad to know that we are safe and not on the street anymore. Hospital staff examines both. It takes only several minutes until we get the tornado warning. All patients and all of us have to head to the shelter. I’m hoping for a basement. It’s a room in the center of the house with no windows. Scared. Having pictures of Oklahoma in my head. Silence. No one’s talking. The nurse explains to a women that attempted to get out of the shelter that we have to stay in here in case something happens, they know where to look for us. I don’t feel safe anymore. All I want to is being home and safe with my kids. There are several tornadoes on the ground that night. We are in the shelter for what feels like an eternity … 1,5 hours.
Don’t we all have a certain picture in our minds about a country, about the Midwest, about Nebraska? We experienced everything that I ve ever imagined within one weekend. It was intense, I was scared (although – both my son and my friend had luck and they only had several bruises) but it was one of my most amazing weekends out in Nebraska. I ve learned so many things about livestock, farming, ranchers and american culture, hospitality and the beauty of the Sandhills!
Are you up for an adventure? Here is a working ranch in Nebraska that offers that kind of experience.
“Don’t let the days go by”… Gavin sings. A night in Council Bluffs at the BUSH concert. We were amused by the fact that most folks took their camping chairs to the concert and there has been only a specific area in front of the stage without chairs. Gavin is full of energy and it was hard not to rock like in my early twenties. We ended that night with a stroll around the Riverboat casino (as law once allowed casinos only on a boat). The days go fast and I ve decided once more to dive deep into the american culture and stopped at a drive in, for a so called Blizzard ice cream….
AWesome IMPRESSIONs of the day
It has been too long … I know. Days during an overseas move are long, crazy, emotional and intense. I usually get up by 6.30am and head to bed around midnight and still there’s a lot more work ahead of me …..
Get a look on how our days look like in between organizing an entire move:
Laundry and preparing another meal
Emails, phone calls and reading the news in between
Picking up the kids and taking them to swimming lessons
Dinner and drawing
Getting Groceries for the next days, stopping at the newspapers section and being irritated by the variety of some magazines
Preps for our teacher presents and answering more emails