We've got heat lightning like crazy right now. Hopefully my computer won't blow a fuse as I'm typing this, but we'll see.

So I did it. I went to Chicago--didn't get robbed, didn't lose anything, didn't get lost (well, much), didn't even get SARS. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Courtney came over around nine on Thursday night, and we got to bed as soon as possible. Which ended up being eleven. And of course, I could barely sleep because I knew I had to get up the next day at five. So I drove about three house Friday morning (Cork did the last hour or so of the trip) on four hours of sleep. Luckliy I was pretty awake, so it wasn't bad. We had originally intended on using the subway and parking outside the city on the first day, then driving on saturday when we went to the museums. Heh. Didn't do that.

We had nice mapquest maps to and from my house to the subway station, the station to my relative's, their house to the Museums, etc.....and we ended up using none of them--at least not in the way they were intended. Since we didn't go to any of the places in the order we'd meant to. Which made for a bit of extra driving and some turning around, but for the most part, we figured things out on our own. And honestly, that was pretty darn fulfilling.

The first place we went on Friday was Wicker Town--one of the minor divisions of Chicago. It's basically the vintage/artsy district. I got three awesome scarves from "Una Mae's Feak Boutique" (yeah. I know.) and went into what seemed like a million different thrift stores and vintage places. It was great for inspiration, but I've discovered more and more that apparently no one my size lived before the eighties. Because I simply cannot find vintage clothing that fits me worth beans. You'd think they'd at least have some small people back then. But no. I get stuck going through accessories because there's nothing else that works. I did find a pretty nifty old California license plate for a dollar, though--very exciting.

We drove further downtown after awhile, only to discover that parking only existed in sixteen-dollar-a-day lots and garages. After driving around for about half an hour on a search for legal parking spaces, we gave in and split one of the forementioned lots. After leaving the car, we did a ton of walking to plaes like Bloomingdales, Water Tower Place Mall, Anthroplogie, Urban Outfitters, and the Magnificent Mile (which really is a dumb name for a road). I got two cool shirts, yay me. We also came to the realization that there is a Starbucks on every single block in Chicago. Sadly, I am barely kidding. It's insane. We ate lunch at a little outdoor italian cafe--I had overpriced grilled shrimp and some bread, not too bad but not all that great either. Our feet gave out after a while, so we took solace in the familiarity of Barnes and Nobles. Mmmm, how good it felt to rest in a nice comfortable armchair for a bit.

We left the city around nine, and drove the hour and a half that it took to get to my aunt's parent's house. They live in the middle of nowhere, and it's a good thing "Children of the Corn" didn't come to my mind until we drove back to Chicago the next day. It was so deserted out there, and we were dead tired by the time we arrived.

Saturday was spent more on walking and trying to get to the right place than anything else, but I'll spare you all the details. All you really need to know is:

  • The Metra train (which we parked at and rode into town) is different than the subway (which we had to take to the museum).
  • You have to pay for each separately.
  • The Chicago subways stink, and the people at the "information" counters are extremely ignorant.
  • Just because a building is called "Old Dearborn Station" on a map doesn't mean it's actually a train station and not a shopping center.

    Yeah. Our feet hurt, we got sick of the subway fiasco...nevertheless, the Museum of Contemporary Art was amazing, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography had the coolest exhibit of sixties photos. We left the city around eight and got back at midnight. I was able to talk to Caleb until two, which was nice, and then I finally dragged myself into bed.

    So Chicago in a nutshell--lots of cool stores, lots of expensive stores, dumb subways (at least compared to Paris, DC, and NYC), and lots of pretty little places tucked along the way (like churches and parks). I had a great time and it was really nice spending two days with Cork. I'm always so happy with the way we can get together no matter where we are and things are exactly the same, despite all the growing and changing we've done. Solid friendships like that are hard to find, and I'm so glad I've got one.


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