I almost made it through Chicago without incident. Almost.
Jon and I flew from Cleveland to Chicago Friday night. Since I work until 6 the plan was to leave as soon as I got home from work, but that would require us both actually being ready. We had both done enough the night before and morning of to feel ‘ready’ but weren’t actually ready to leave. We still had to get our laptops, finish zipping up the suitcase, and all the other little things you don’t realize you still have to do until it comes time to actually walk out the door.
I’m usually the ‘let’s be at the airport hours early’ one in the relationship while Jon wants to show up at the last possible second to avoid waiting.
This time we switched. Not that I was trying to get to the airport late or anything, but I was the calm, cool, and collected one while Jon was panicking in the passenger seat and trying to tell me how to drive.
We both had headaches by the time we made it to the airport.
We parked, jogged to check-in and then through security thinking we’d just get food by our gate. Our gate of course had no food near it AND was at the very end of the terminal so we would have had to go all the way back by security and down a different terminal to find anything.
The flight is a thankfully short one considering I continued my airport luck of finding all of the chatty, strange people possible. The one who just had to sit with Jon and I on the plane kept telling us he wouldn’t be the weird one, and he just had one more story for us and then he’d shut up…. Through the whole flight. Jon and I were more than happy to say goodbye, though it was a long-winded one thanks to all the last-minute advice he decided he needed to impart to us.
Chicago itself was fun. It’s an interesting city. A unique combination of beautiful and rundown, graffiti covered buildings. It’s very organized and laid out on a grid, which I also have on good authority, the logic is very confusing for someone used to the random curving of Boston streets. I might know a few people who circled a block around d their hotel a few times trying to find a store (it really wasn’t me, promise).
We took a taxi from the airport straight to the bar where we were meeting Jon’s family and their friends for his cousin’s surprise birthday party. We were tired when we got there but that didn’t stop us from staying out late with his cousin and his friends.
Saturday we went out for breakfast and ate at Meli. It was like a breakfast/juice bar. The food all looked really good and smelled even better so it was hard to decide what to get. I got strawberry stuffed French toast. It was good, but not as good as I had imagined it would be. Guess I shouldn’t get my expectations so high, but everyone else loved their food so it was definitely worth it.
We had wanted to walk around to work off a little of the breakfast, but it was snowing and pretty ugly out so we just went back to the hotel instead. After a few minutes in the hotel rooms, and a lot of sitting around the lobby, we caught a cab to the cousin’s apartment. It is the perfect city place to me. It’s in a smaller building, so you’re not crammed in around people on the 25th floor of a building. It has brick walls for some of the inside walls. It’s a nice size and has great windows. It’s just a great place with character and comfort.
After spending some time hanging out and talking with everyone where you didn’t have to yell over the bar music, we all split up to kill time until dinner. I went shopping with Jon’s mom at a mall that had, I think, 7 stories. This makes it sound a lot more impressive than it is. Each floor only had a few stores on it. I think I’d take a two-story mall over it. The stores weren’t all that great either, because all the big stores are out on Michigan Ave like half a block away. It was just nice to be able to walk around though.
Dinner was at a Latin/Cuban kind of place. The sparkling sangria was delicious. The food was good, but not overwhelmingly great except for a few dishes. Because our group was so large we had a set menu served family style.
We tried to go to a dueling piano bar after, but the line was down the block! There was just no way. So we went to the Irish pub that was across the street. Best Decision Ever. They had Magners on tap, which is the British/American branding of the hard cider Bulmers that was pretty much all I drank while in Ireland. I would have loved to have stayed out later, I really enjoyed the company and talking to everyone I was with, but we knew we had to get up early for our flight home.
This pretty much brings the rundown of the weekend in Chicago to a close. It doesn’t even begin to touch on the real adventure, which was the process of getting home. This is already pretty long though, so you’ll just have to come back for the rest of the story!