Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lazy & Happy in the Windy City

Two weeks ago (!) I visited Chicago for a family wedding. Though I'd been there twice before - once in high school & once just last summer - I'd never really done much exploring. Deciding I'd take a couple days off work & visit a few friends in the area, I extended my trip by two days & made absolutely zero plans. Catch that? Zero plans. If this blog has taught you anything at all me, it should be that I am a person who plans & that the act of not planning is a terrifyingly anxiety-inducing thing for me. And yet...

Things I didn't do in Chicago:
  • See the Bean, the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, or any other Chicago icons
  • Take any tours, ride any double-decker buses or Duck Boats, or visit any museums
  • Spend a dime of my money shopping on the famed & alluring Magnificent Mile
  • Watch the Air & Water Show, which was taking place at the park across the street from my hotel
  • Eat at Grahamwich, the lunch joint owned by reality TV chef Graham Elliot, or any other well-known Chicagoland restaurants

Things I did in Chicago:
  • Attend the beautiful wedding ceremony & very fun wedding reception of my third cousin while catching up with my mother, aunt, uncle, first cousins (to the right) & other sundry relatives & family friends
  • Waste a day luxuriating in my hotel room instead of doing, well, anything
  • Visit a dear friend from my time in D.C. who has been confined to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for six months
  • Meet a childhood friend for lunch, accompanied by my mother, to discuss our adult lives & our upcoming high school reunion (more on this later)
  • Have both dinner & breakfast with one of my closest friends from Ohio who now lives in Chi, giving us a lot of time to catch up, eat tater tot nachos, & tweet snarky things
  • Meet two blog friends for the first time IRL, one for pasta dinner & another for impromptu tea, & get murdered/abducted by neither
  • Spend a lot of time alone at coffee shops working on my iPad & enjoying the city atmosphere
  • Have a meaningful life conversation with my younger cousin over lunch before she moves to London for the next 18 months
  • Eat alone at a TGIFriday's when I found Grahamwich to be closed, which was basically the saddest & most embarrassing thing ever
  • Take a total of three photographs

I once said that I far prefer to travel to people rather than to places, meaning that I'd always rather expend my travel energy by focus on spending time with friends. Though there's plenty to see in Chicago, I think I held true to that preference during this visit, as evidenced by the fact that I saw at least a dozen people I adore (a few pictured below) & precisely zero monuments, museums, or famous stuff. I also had a lot of alone time. And you know what? It was kind of perfect. Keep yer Duck Tours & marathon shopping sprees. I'll be napping in my hotel bed & reading a book in the park.

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