Friday, C picked me up at the airport and we headed into the city under a steady drizzle toward her apartment. "Apartment" doesn't do it justice, by the way. She lives in an old hotel that was refurbished into condo-style apartments. Not only is it huge (she has four closets!), especially for a city dwelling, it's also adorable. The hardware on the doors, the crown molding detail, and the wonderfully cute hotel-style elevators (ornate, chandelier) won my heart. That and the fact that it was warm and dry. Displaced Southern girl, much? I think so.
We got an early start on Saturday morning and headed off to walk Chicago. Having never been, I couldn't even tell C what I wanted to see, so she decided to be safe and show me everything. We walked the Magnificent Mile then looped into old town. I felt like I was back in my first trip to NYC again, when I exited Penn Station totally agape and in awe of the buildings and bustle around me. But Chicago, oh Chicago, it's even better. It's on lake, so there's a beach (big points), and so many of its buildings retain their crazy ornate details from a lost era, making them unique and gorgeous. And don't even get me started on the row homes lined with wrought-iron gates and the amount of green space--gorgeous.
We grabbed lunch in the city while we explored, then headed home to rest for a few minutes before seeing C's neck of the woods-- the University of Chicago, Obama's home, and, finally, a deep-dish pizza place, where we picked up the most decadent Chicago-style spinach pizza I've ever had. Sauce on top. News to me!
We had wine and pizza at her apartment before heading out again to catch an improv show at the theater where C takes improv classes. C's been doing improv since college, so tons of my memories of her are tangled up in short-form comedy and I love it. We had a blast and called it a night.
Sunday we grabbed a delicious, bacony brunch then fought the urge to nap the day away, instead driving in to hang out at a little coffee shop in downtown so C could work on midterms and I could just relax for a little while before my flight.
I definitely want to go back, to see everything else there is to see. Museums. Architecture tour. Aquarium. Beach. But for this weekend, two fabulous days, everything was perfect and, best of all, I got to spend a lot of time just catching up with C on her life. It's (relatively) easy to keep up with friends, thanks to texts, email, and cell phones, but there's an aspect of their lives that you just miss if you don't exchange those giggly stories in person. It was just what I needed.
This week is off to a running start already... mostly around me, but I'm trying to catch up. I've got to get six freelance pieces done before Saturday. Halloween on Friday. Oh, and work.
Still feeling a little bit in a funk-ish, but I think it's just the travel and the putting off my freelance work for so long. Tonight I'm going to buckle down and get to it. Promise. I always feel better when it's done, so I never understand why I fight it so much. Deep down, totally still a toddler at heart.