Finally back from Chicago. It was a whirlwind weekend but somehow I survived.
Here's how it went:
I spent most of the night with my mom and her siblings at a trashy little redneck bar in the middle of town. They only had one kind of beer, one kind of wine, and a giant karaoke stage. But the drinks were cheap and the place was about half full. I drank five glasses of wine and cheered loudly when my mom and aunts sang drunken versions of eighties classics.
My aunt's house was packed. It was the first time in 20 years my entire family (mom's side) had gotten together. Children were running and screaming everywhere. Snacks and sandwich food blanketed tables in every room. I got to catch up with a few cousins from Phoenix. It was awesome.
This day was a test for me. My parents decided to spend the entire day in Little India...shopping! Torture, indeed. I spent four miserable hours going shop to shop, with no money in my pocket and no credit card in my wallet. Glittery gold necklaces and shimmering bangles stared up at me. I ran my hand through the soft, silk saris decorating store aisles...hot pink...mango orange...lime green. Fortunately, my dad felt sorry for me and bought me some sparkling royal blue bangles. My mom felt sorry for me and purchased me two silk shirts (one in soft yellow and the other a bold white with a pink trim). We spent the evening eating delicious spicy curries and creamy sugary desserts from my dad's favorite Indian cafe.
I come home to find out two great pieces of news: One, I wasn't let go. Two, I get to keep my job for good--no more three year contract!
So this vacation really did me some good. It's the first time I've come back and felt relaxed. Most of my stress is gone.
I hope it lasts!