Staycations Are In

Rachel Stone Co-Features Editor It is the first day of school, and unlike the rest of your bronzed and beautiful classmates, your skin tone has not even morphed into a raccoon-tan. When your extraordinarily generous friend hands you a souvenir she picked up in France, you will be awkwardly unable to repay her. When the obligatory question of “where did you go over break” arises in conversation, in class, (usually in halting Spanglish or any other foreign language) orby  the water fountain, you will not be able to rattle off some exotic locale. This is because you stayed in town; or in the modern vernacular, you took a “staycation.” This is not something to be ashamed,. As someone who has stayed in the lovely tropical environment of Chicago for every winter break since third grade, I know firsthand that this is true. We city kids are lucky enough to live in a major tourist destination; not lucky for us in terms of traffic and having to offer directions to Michigan Avenue to half a dozen middle aged women daily, but lucky because there is just so much to do. It is truly impossible to be bored in Chicago. Just try it. With the sheer number of museums, theatres, and restaurants, Ferris Beuller was wiser than we knew. And for those skeptical of playing tourist, more understated destinations are just as common in the city. In my opinion, spending a wintry afternoon enjoying a steaming cup of hot chocolate in a cozy coffee shop while catching up on some Vonnegut is the perfect way to pass a day. This also brings me to my next point; not only is spending the vacation in Chicago perfect in terms of day-to-day activities, but also it is also a wonderful way to get organized for second semester. Though arranging and completing work over break does not sound as appealing as relaxing at the beach, it can truly be a benefit for the weeks ahead. As someone who is currently wading through the swamp that is the beginning of semester workload, I wish I had at least organized my folders (or even done some service hours). And if my attempts at selling Chicago as a staycation destination has not been effective, then take in to consideration the fact that it is a free alternative, with no airline fees and delayed flights. While your cosmopolitan friend sits playing Angry Birds for three hours in an airport terminal, you could be off skating at Millennium Park. Which would you rather do? Especially in this economy, it is a stroke of good fortune that we all live in city that so many travel thousands of miles to visit. However, regardless of whether or not you went to Miami or Michigan Avenue, any departure from school is usually enjoyable. But hopefully, the next time your friend tells you again how amazing that Caribbean cruise was, you can take her comment with a grain of salt; you will know inside that your vacation was every bit as incredible.]]>