I have to laugh while writing this blog for this week, for as soon as the weather became pleasant enough for Terry and I to go outside with our family, we decided to take them to the indoor ice skating rink. I first arrived at the Smith’s apartment somewhat concerned as no one, but Mr. Smith was home, and I quickly inquired where the rest of the family was, specifically Robert and George, as Terry and I mentioned ice-skating in the past and we wanted to follow through with our promise that we would go. Mr. Smith explained that Robert and Mrs. Smith were doing laundry at a nearby laundry mat, so I quickly phoned Terry who was driving to the city and we decided we would go find them. At first we could not figure out which laundry mat they were at and then after a few phone calls between us and Mr. Smith we found them and picked them up with all their laundry to go back to their apartment.
After we put all the laundry in their apartment, Mrs. Smith and Robert grabbed their jackets and we were off to go ice-skating. Thankfully, Terry brought his car so we could have plenty of time on the ice. The day was also nice, as Mrs. Smith came with us. Throughout this semester Terry and I have spent very little time with Mrs. Smith as she is normally working or with friends when we see our family, so it was great to spend some time with her. Once we got to the rink, we grabbed our skates and Terry helped Robert tie his skates to make sure they were tight so he would not hurt his ankles. Since Mrs. Smith decided to pass on skating, we designated her the official photographer.
When we first stepped onto the ice Robert was very unsure how he would refrain from falling. I could tell he looked a little nervous, but it helped that there were very few people on the ice so we could take our time on getting around the rink. In the beginning Robert had a hard time parting from the wall, as he clutched on and shuffled around the rink, but then Terry and I each grabbed his hands and we skated around. It was quite a challenge for all three of us to balance, but I had such an awesome time. Due to the limited number of people, we were even fortunate enough to have some of the ice skating instructors come over and help teach Robert how to skate. We were even explained how to stake backwards. In the end Robert only fell a few times, but when the ice skating rink closed, he eagerly asked when we were coming back.
I had so much fun. Leaving their apartment was such a great break from sitting around and talking. While, I do thoroughly enjoy conversation, the fact that we were able to get our family, or at least two family members, out of the home, allowed us to show them more of Chicago and the streets they do not necessarily see everyday. On the way home we even stopped, per Mrs. Smith’s request, at Marshalls because they cannot take public transportation and would have had to walk very far to get to the shopping center. Robert needed some new tennis shoes, and after two stores and some bargaining with his Mom a pair of shoes were bought. While, I watched Mrs. Smith and Robert look for shoes I had to laugh, as Robert would find something and pick it up and then Mrs. Smith would shake her head, for I also experienced the same situation shoe shopping with my Mom. Ah, how some things never change, despite culture.
Next week will be the last week I see our family. I am not even sure if I will see all of them, as three of the family members work and Robert is in school. However, if all works out, I am hoping my refugee family will be able to meet my family over some frozen yogurt. After two years of talking with my family about refugees, I want my family to meet the people I have spent time with each week this semester. Stayed tuned for next week’s frozen yogurt rendezvous with all my families!