As you may or may not recall from forever ago when I last posted, I spent three months in Chicago. During my time there I worked at Northwestern University at the campus gym. I spent as many hours as they would let me in that place working at the front desk, the pro shop, walking around, and in the office.
I know, I know, you read the blog post about work…
When I wasn’t at the gym, I was spending time with some of my best friends. If you don’t already know by now that Erin and Laura are my best friends, well, it’s possible that has to do with my not being in the same place as them for quite some time. Erin lives in Illinois, while Laura lives in New York. For the six years I was living in Florida, spending time together was quite limited.
The second weekend I was back in Chicago, Laura flew into town and we had a super fun best friends weekend extravaganza… or something along those lines. We went to dinner, we went and had drinks, we went to a bar or two. We drank terrible things called buzz balls which were terrible, we went biking around the city. We had a sleepover, we went to brunch, we tried to make up for lost time. It was lovely.
We all saw each other again around Christmas time when Laura came in for a wedding and we had her family’s open house to attend. One of my favorite things about the three of us is that we are very different people – we like different things, we put value on different things, we want different things – yet we are the same best friends we’ve always been. We all have grown in different directions, but it doesn’t change our best friend-i-ness levels. We still make poop and fart jokes.
When I wasn’t with Erin and Laura, I tried my damnedest to hang out with Natalie and her lovely husband, Chris. Natalie and I have known each other since my very first day of college. She was my dorm-assigned “big sister” and we fell in love almost immediately. We spent the better part of our dorm life going on Walmart runs, dying each others hair, playing Text Twist, and laughing WAY too much. We’ve been close ever since. Luckily, she lives in Chicago. I believe it was only 3 or 4 times, but we got together, hung out, and she was there for me in some of the best ways possible. We played dress up, we drank whiskey, we ate yummy food, and we watched The Emperor’s New Groove.
The other people I spent less time with than I wanted to are Jason and Stephanie. Jason was my roommate and is my pseudo brother. He married Steph this fall, so now she’s my pseudo-sister-in-law. In addition to seeing them agree to be happy with each other for the rest of their lives, I also had the privilege of sharing two delightful and yummy meals with them and a few (or a lot more than a few) glasses of wine. We celebrated the completion of one of Steph’s residency tests (or something… doctor nerds, amirite?!) with an open bar downtown after gorging ourselves on incredible food. Suggestion: PURPLE PIG. Just go there. But go, put your name in, go somewhere else and have a few dozen drinks, the wait is forever. Worth it though.
I have friends… see??
The best thing about being in Chicago for three months? Seeing my family. My brother’s family AND my sister’s family. I made a schedule with my sister that I’d come by every Tuesday for dinner. Most of the time I picked up food from a restaurant and brought it over. Sometimes she cooked. We’d eat, spend time with the kids, play Chess, color, and cuddle on a weekly basis. With my brother’s family it was a bit less scheduled. I went to see my nephew’s last baseball game of the season – oh and FYI, he’s pretty darn good. I hung out while I did a keratin treatment to my nieces hair. We went out to dinner a few times. It was really great to spend time with my brother’s family since they live a bit more north and it’s harder to find time to get up to see them as often.
And at Thanksgiving? My parents came into town. They got in a few days before thanksgiving and stayed all the way until I left – more or less – for Arizona. So for about three weeks I got to have my entire family in the same 1 hour radius from where I was. It was the one thing that had been missing… the one thing that I wished had never changed… it was like I had never moved to Florida and my parents had never moved to Arizona (well, barring that we no longer were all congregating in the family home.)
There are a lot of things that happened while I was in Chicago: work, school (which I’ll cover soon,) dates (oh, I’ll get there, too,) but the best thing, bar none, no question, was the people I got to see and spend time with before jetting off on my new life adventure in Arizona.