Today was the first time Terry and I took our family out of the apartment for an outing. We decided to take them to the Ethiopian restaurant, Asmara, located off Clark (or so we thought). After Terry and I finished waiting for Mr. Smith and Robert to get ready to leave, I realized how nice Mr. Smith looked. He had put dress slacks on and a nice coat and had even offered Terry and I a spritz of his cologne, which we graciously declined. As we began our walk, the weather, while it was chilly, was beautiful. There were very few clouds in the sky and the sun was shining. As we walked I talked to Robert and asked him about school. He told me that his class took a field trip to a museum on Friday and that he saw “a dead body, many cars, and an airplane”. I asked if he remembered what the museum’s name was, but he did not so I proceeded to inquire if the airplane was hanging from the ceiling in “a really big room” and if he saw a life size human heart. Robert excitedly responded yes. Robert had visited the Science and Industry museum, which is one of my favorite Chicago museums. I hope Robert’s class has more field trips to take, as I believe these outings can be extremely beneficial in exposing kids to all that Chicago has to offer.
Following Terry, we made our way down Clark. After only a few blocks we suddenly stopped when Terry pointed to the tax center that now filled the space where the Ethiopian restaurant once stood. For a moment, we contemplated on where to go, as I was really looking forward to dining with my Ethiopian family at an Ethiopian restaurant. Needless to say, we decided to venture to another ethnic food place, The Taste of Peru. While the restaurant was just a few steps away, as we scanned the menu we noticed the place was expensive and instead we ventured to one of the nearby Mexican restaurants. Once we were seated we received a basket full of tortilla chips, two kinds of salsa, a plate of refried beans, and a small bowl of some kind of, what I thought, was cheese. The chips were great appetizers, as we explained what each of the salsas were made from and tasted like. The green salsa was spicy, and the red was a tad milder. We also ordered rice water or “horchata,” which was fabulous, but, unfortunately, did not extinguish the burning sensation I had in my mouth from the salsa and I had to order regular water as well. When the waitress came back I ordered a cheese quesadilla, Terry ordered steak tacos, Robert, with Terry’s assistance, ordered a chicken taco and chicken tortilla chip thing (sorry, Terry I forgot the name of it again), and Mr. Smith ordered a vegetarian burrito.
As we waited for our food we discussed the Mexican artwork hanging throughout the restaurant and the relationship Mexico and Spain have with one another, as Mr. Smith was confused as to why Mexicans spoke Spanish. Terry explained that Spain colonized Mexico and that is why they speak Spanish, although I added, making it even more confusing, that they actually do not speak the same kind of Spanish, but they do both speak Spanish. It is interesting to note how little conversation was said prior to our food arriving, as everyone was chowing down on the chips and salsa.
Ten minutes later our food arrived and looked delicious. Mr. Smith’s burrito was huge and Terry explained that instead of using a fork and knife that Mr. Smith and Robert could just pick up their food and eat it. A few minutes into the meal, Terry noticed how Robert was still mostly eating the chips and not his chicken. We believed this was because of the sour cream, but a little later into the meal Robert had cleared his plate. Robert stated that he had many Spanish kids in his class, and now he could tell them that he had eaten Mexican food. Our family described the Chinese buffet they went to before and how for so little ($8), one could eat as much as they wanted at the restaurant all day. Oh, Americans and our gluttonous establishments! Nevertheless, lunch was fabulous and we all walked out of the restaurant having to loosen our belts (thank god I was wearing spandex).
After arriving back at the Smith’s home we stayed for about fifteen minutes for coffee and then said good-bye, realizing how quickly the time had passed since we had left for lunch. Afterwards, Terry and I agreed that it was such a refreshing change to be out of the apartment and not necessarily talking about the weather. Repetition can get boring. We were able to address the issue of walking only when there is a “glowing walking sign” and, if not, to only walk when one is absolutely sure there are no cars. We also saw Robert’s school and explained that American dogs are not mean, although they may be protective. This outing was great and I was happy that Terry and I could expose, even if only a few blocks away, our family to a new part of Rogers Park.