Chicago-Land!!!

29 Jun

When I found out I needed a visa, it sounded like no big deal. Then I found out I had to go to Chicago to get it. I HAD TO TAKE SUCH A JOURNEY JUST TO GET A STAMP?! (And to pick up my passport with said stamp, 4-5 weeks after…) It sounded like more of an annoyance than anything. However, in mentioning this to one of my bestest friends, Beseda, I realized that this could be the best trip. Ever.

Bess and I got together one night last week and just decided what we had to do and where we would go and got excited about the trip. My dad (who rocks) got us a hotel for the night. We were so ready! And let me tell you, this trip was so much better than we could have even imagined, even if it was only a two day event!

It started so late, and ended so late. Bess came over Saturday night late after work, and we tried so hard to sleep. It didn’t work out so well, so we were both a little grumpy and tired on our trip, but that didn’t stop us! We got up so early- 8:00. We went off to Apex, which was fun but we weren’t thrilled, probably mostly due to sleeplessness. After that we hit the road!

What a long trip. Just an FYI- Chicago is five to five and a half hours away, depending on traffic. Although we didn’t hit much traffic, it seemed like it took forever. There was so much to look at on the way though, it was fun!

 Bess crocheted…. I drove. We listened to some great music. But I’m pretty sure the best part was the WINDMILLS! They went on for miles and miles and it was the greatest thing. We were just giggly at them. From the first one we saw. Then more and more came. Literally, hundreds. We kind of wondered if our reaction was normal. To see a windmill farm and not freak out and be so hysterically happy…. I’m pretty sure there is no other real reaction.

After about 5 1/2 hours and only one stop (in Zionsville!), we finally made it into Naperville, a city about 40 minutes outside Chicago. It took us a while to find our hotel (the sign was so small, and the hotel itself was hidden behind trees! Our room was typical, two beds and a small sink and a bathroom. The front desk people were so helpful and we met a lot of fun people too!

We sat around in the room for a little while, totally exhausted from our journey. We contemplated napping, but decided against it (I knew I would wake up grumpy and not want to do anything). So, instead, we decided to adventure around the town. We started by going to a bookstore, which was fun, but not the adventure we’d hoped for. So we trekked to downtown Naperville, a cutesy city with old houses and a beautiful river walk. We walked around, took so many silly pictures, and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

After, we went back to our hotel and relaxed, had snacks and some wine, talked and did quiet time, and did craftsy things. It was so relaxing and just what we needed after the trip, even though we thought our room was haunted because our lights kept going out.

7:00 am Monday rolls around (8:00 our time back home), and we are exhausted. We eventually made it out of bed and got ready and packed. We ate some breakfast, and headed out toward Chicago. It was gross outside. Rainy, cold, and neither of us prepared for it. Luckily I had two umbrellas in my car (that we didn’t use), but my shoes were a little worse for wear by the end of the day. Faux suede doesn’t like rain. Pic of the city in the morning.

Why yes, those are some super tall buildings you do not see there.

There were a lot of angry drivers in Chicago. I know, I should have expected that. But seriously, I cannot even tell you the chaos and rage that constitutes the driving style of the Chicago-ite.  I think just the way the city is contributes to it a little. There are so many streets that sound the same and crazy turns and traffic rules… I thought for sure we would be lost and never make it back to our car. (We did, no worries.)

Then we began the task of finding a cutesynotstarbucksnotcaribou coffee shop. Easier said than done. Maybe we were just in the wrong part of town? (We should research this further for next time) Starbucks were everywhere, but we couldn’t find a cute corner coffee shop that was relatively inexpensive and had a great atmosphere. We even looked for hipsters to ask. No one knew. Sigh. So we walked up and down Michigan Ave. to try to find A) the Consulate of Spain and B) a coffee shop. We finally located the Consulate, but had about an hour before my appointment and no coffee. So we kept adventuring.

Sadly, we never got coffee, but we did meet some cool people in that hour. We talked to some people from an organization that sponsors children in different countries. We asked a lot of random people where coffee was. We saw a man looking for money for kung-fu lessons. In our confusion, one girl even offered us her smart phone to look up close coffee shops. (None were up to our standards. Maybe we’re coffee snobs.)

We finally got to the consulate, and waited around for about a half hour. We met some people who would also be going to Spain in the fall, some to study, some to teach. We talked to a guy who had been before, and planned on going back to live for a year. How cool!

So, by that time, we were so hungry we felt like we were going to die. Bess remembered this great place for food that she and her friend had gone to the last time they had been in Chicago. I was up for anything, so I looked up ‘Soupbox’ on my phone. We had an address but other than that had no idea how to find it. So, Bess asked people on the street (she was so good at that). We met a guy named Jesse… yes–Jess, Bess, and Jesse. Ha!… and he told us that he was headed to the same stop, but we’d have to take the subway. My face lit up. I know this because he stared at me like I was crazy. ALL I WANTED TO DO IN CHICAGO WAS RIDE THE SUBWAY. We made our way to the Red line, and proceeded to buy a ticket for four rides (two each for Bess and I- there and back!). We. Rode. The. Subway. It was quite possibly the best moment of being in Chicago. I can’t even explain the happiness I felt. Perhaps the picture will help you understand.

We got off two stops from where we started. My excitement from the subway subsided, but Bess was jumping and giggling she was so excited for lunch. ‘Soupbox’ was quite possibly the best lunch experience I’ve ever had. They had 12 different soups, and you could try ALL of them if you wanted to before you chose one. We tested many, but decided on a garden soup and a white cheddar and broccoli. We had soup and bread and we were so happy.

After that, it was time to head home. We hopped back on the subway after some slight confusion as to which way we needed to go, and with no problems at all, got off where we started. Now the trouble began. Finding the car. I had taken a picture of the intersection we were looking for (good idea? heck yes.)… but we didn’t know how to find either of those streets. So what do we do? Head into the Disney store for directions. The lady there was fabulously helpful and Bess got to try some Disney hand lotion which smelled wonderful.

Muy = MooWe

On the corner of the street where our parking garage was, there was Borders. We had to go in. Mostly to go to the bathroom before we started home, but also because they boasted a collection of literature in Spanish (AH! How could we resist?). We went up to find quite possibly the funniest Spanish books we had ever seen. We were on the floor giggling like fools for at least 20 minutes. We decided we had to leave, and with Crazy Love in tow, we checked out and headed out.

The drive home was mostly uneventful. Long, with a bit of traffic, and only a little frustration when there were some detours and road closings. We stopped in Dayton, Indiana to get some gas, but that was pretty much it. The windmills, again, were so much fun to look at. Bess got a short nap and read Crazy Love to me- my favorite part of the trip home! And, when she was burnt out from reading and flustered and missing Michael, guess who got a call from Guatemala? Bess. That’s who. 🙂

God provided for us so much on this trip I can’t even explain. This is only the basic shell of everything we did and all the people we met. I am so excited to go back and pick up my visa, which will be way less obnoxious seeing as I don’t need an appointment, I just go get it whenever I want.

Next time, we’ll plan better for parking. We will hopefully bring so many friends and have such an amazing time! We will also, for sure, hit up the yarn store we missed out on and Millennium Park. (Sigh, just not enough time in the day!)

Countdown:: 61 DAYS!

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One Response to “Chicago-Land!!!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mission Accomplished « ¡Aventuras en España! - August 2, 2011

    […] Chicago trip number one with the beautiful Beseda was fantastic, and although somewhat stressful due to the fact that we had to be at the Consulate at a specific time, we had a blast. After we dropped the paperwork off and headed back to real life, I waited (not very patiently) and checked my e-mail at least three times a day. […]

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