Thursday, October 24, 2013

10 Days Away: Chicago Part II

Well I better press on with the Chicago recap before we cross over into November (how crazy that October will be over in a week!).

The subtitle to these posts about Chicago could really be the time I really fell head-over-heels in love with Chicago.  I have always enjoyed my time in Chicago, but this time I REALLY enjoyed it.  While I spent part of the time vacationing there, I also worked part of the week (and have worked there about 4-5 times) so I feel like I have a somewhat realistic impression of what life in Chicago would be like - or as good of an impression as you can have while not actually living there!  We will see what the future holds, but I would be happy if it included a Minneapolis OR Chicago zip code.

Anyways, back to the post at hand.  On Saturday morning we woke up and headed up to the Lakeview area to meet up with Nora & her husband, and a bunch of other bloggers!  I had not seen Nora since her wedding last October so we were so overdue for some face time!  I am really glad she was able to detour into the city on the way home from her vacation so I could see her in person. 

So happy to be reunited!
Amber had never met Nora in person so this meet-up was a long time in the making as we have all been blog friends since 2009 I believe!

All the bloggers/tweeters that came to breakfast!  I was so busy catching up with Nora, I didn't get as much of a chance to talk to the others as I would have liked!
After brunch, we headed back into downtown, checked out a bakery, walked around Millennium park for the obligatory bean photos, and then headed over to the shores of Lake Michigan, where we utilized the Divvy bike share program to bike along the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Chicago is so pretty!

After our afternoon of adventures, we met up with Lauren and headed up to Nilsa's condo as she was kind enough to host us for some pre-marathon carb loading!  It was so fun to have a low key night in - and a homecooked meal which is something I especially appreciated after my string of meals out.  Nilsa and her husband have a soon-to-be-3-year old son, Gavin.  I sadly do not have any pictures to share, but it was definitely a very fun and delicious night.  They even had salted caramel GF cupcakes which were divine.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went to bed fairly early.

Sunday morning - race day - quickly came.  I got up with the girls and we snapped a photo together before they headed off to the starting corrals.

The morning of the race was another tough morning for me.  I was excited for my friends, but sad that I was not going to be running the race with them.  I let myself experience those feelings of sadness but quickly cheered myself up a bit by picking up a PSL - with whip - before heading out to meet up with Nilsa, my spectating partner in crime.

It was such a beautiful morning. I had tear-stained cheeks, but a smile on my face as I headed up to the 10 mile mark
 It really helped to meet up with Nilsa as my excitement over spending time with her offset my sad feelings.  We met up at mile 10 and cheered there for about 2 hours and were able to see Amber, Anais, Lauren, Lauren's husband, and some of my Minneapolis run club friends!  Finding faces in a crowd of 40,000+ runners was difficult at times!

After seeing everyone at mile 10, Nilsa and I hopped onto the Divvy bikes and biked down to mile 15 - I left her there and proceeded onto mile 20 as she was hoping to meet up with Amber to run miles 15-20 with her (which sadly didn't end up working out as we just missed Amber).

I heart the divvy bike system - such a great and inexpensive way to get around!
I made it to mile 20 with just minutes to spare before Anais came through - but she was all smiles!

Amber was maybe 10 minutes behind her so I did not have to wait long, and she was also smiling and in good spirits! 

 After that I met up with Nilsa at an L station and we headed down to Millennium park to meet up with Amber and Anais at the finish.  It was another great opportunity to get some more one-on-one time with Nilsa.  We talked a lot about what it would be like if I moved to Chicago - she will definitely be an amazing resource when/if that happens!

The rest of Sunday was fairly low key.  We enjoyed some Garrett's popcorn (I love that stuff!) and then went to a pizza place for dinner that served Chicago-style deep dish pizza - and also had a GF option for me!  Yea!

Of course, Monday morning came too fast, which meant I had to say my good byes to Amber and Anais.  I walked to the train station and snapped one last photo of Chicago.

I know that there is a widely held belief that you should be able to be happy anywhere, but I truly believe that there are some cities where it's easier to be happy.  Chicago is one of those cities for me.  I love that it's a large city with a great public transit system and a tangible buzz, but it also has great outdoor spaces and access to water.  Every time I visit Chicago, it sort of feels like coming home - which is a feeling I never have had and honestly never will have about Charlotte.  That's not a knock against Charlotte - it's knowing who I am and what I value in a city.  And I certainly value what Chicago has to offer.

Are there other cities you visit that you feel you could call home?  Besides Minneapolis, I also feel like I could call Chicago, New York, and Paris home as they all have a feeling of 'rightness' when I visit them.  Of that list, the only places I would realistically call home are Minneapolis and Chicago as I know I am meant to live in the Midwest.


Becky said...

"I truly believe that there are some cities where it's easier to be happy."

I think that it absolutely true! I think Chicago is like this for me as well, as is St. Louis. If anything I think it's good when we feel these things because it shows we ARE open to other places, especially when they have what we value like you said!

missris said...

Wouldn't it be amazing if we could both end up in Chicago in a few years? A girl can dream ;)

Marlys said...

Those photos of Chicago are beautiful! There are lots of areas I've never been to so enjoy seeing them on your blog. I hope by this time next year you are where your heart longs!

Nora said...

The best way to end a vacation? With a blogger brunch. Rather than the vacation sads I went home with a full and happy heart. I'm so glad I got to see you and that I'll most likely get to again in a few weeks :)

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds looking for people in a marathon to be a challenge- I get a headache sometimes focusing so hard haha.

I absolutely love Chicago too. I'm not sure I could ever live away from the coast, but if I had to- Chicago would be the place to do it. I think it's a beautiful city, with great food- two major qualifications!

I always felt at home in Sydney Australia, which is ironic since its SO very far away from home. I also really love DC. I feel like I could live in Sedona too, but again- being away from the ocean might be hard for me after awhile. Hm, I also love Seattle. I guess I love a lot of places!

Abby said...

Wow! What an amazing trip and an amazing group of women!! Looks so fun!

I am super impressed they had gluten free Chicago style pizza ! Wow! Did you like it? I know you weren't a pizza lover in the past....but maybe it was bc of your gluten intolerance?

I really feel at home in Oro Valley. However, I feel that sense of "belonging" in South CA. I think I honestly feel that way because I know there is a good chance we may some day move there. Ryan pretty much is a shoe in at a company there. But I do love how active it is, and all the neighborhoods! Cost of living gives me an ulcer though....

Jeanie said...

Oh, Lisa, you have found your Second City! I'm so glad you are finding spots you love, that you'd consider and having a wonderful time. The photos are wonderful, the friendships more! (It was fun to see pix of Nora -- I met her a year ago in St. Louis!)

My other "home towns" (apart from Lansing and Gaylord where the cottage is) are Boston, London and Paris. Which isn't a bad group!

Andrea Claire said...

I haven't commented in a really long time (thanks to no reading time because of a new job!), but just wanted to say hello. It sounds like you had such a great time.

There's a couple of towns in Switzerland and a few places in Ireland that I could easily call home because at some point I already have :)

Stephany said...

I'm glad you had such a great time in Chicago (still totally jealous about that blogger brunch - sounds amazing!). I hope if things don't end up working out living in Minneapolis, Chicago will. It seems like a great city for you! It's obvious you really love it.

I haven't visited enough cities to know if they would ever feel like home. I've visited Georgia enough, though, that I think I could find my place there. (I know the South gets so much flack... but it's where my heart is. I can't help it!) I'm not sure I'm cut out for big cities, but I've never really tried. They just seem overwhelming to me! Right now, though, I can't see myself leaving Florida for a really long time.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

New York definitely feels like home to me. I am constantly homesick for it.

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Amber said...

Such a great great weekend! How has it already been two weeks. I did really enjoy my time in Chicago and would love to visit again one day and maybe even run the marathon there again one day. If you do move there it gives me even more reason to come back and visit!!! :)

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I've felt that way about cities before too, Chicago being one of them! My husband is so not a big city person so it won't ever happen but I feel that way about Chicago and on a smaller scale East Lansing, Ann Arbor or Columbus, Ohio.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Let me also add Anna Maria Island to that above list ha

Elizabeth said...

I seriously have loved reading all the recaps (just catching up on blogs finally tonight!!) AND I LOVE THIS. A) All I could think about as I was reading it was gosh, Lisa is such an incredible person and friend. In reading the other gals posts, you were such a wonderful encouragement for all of them, even if it was a challenging situation for you. Incredible!
B) It's so great to read about Chicago being an option too. Sometimes I think God truly works in these most mysterious of ways and even though it's no fun to go through the hardships, I'm beginning to wonder if we don't learn more in the hardships than in our regular days. Maybe you'll go back to Minneapolis and this year was a big indicator of how much that place is it for you....but maybe you'll move to Chicago (or somewhere else) and perhaps that's all part of His greater plan for you. Can you tell God and I have made up in the last week or two? :) PS As I was grading my students discussions this week on the Randy Pausch final lecture...I wondered if you'd seen it? I imagine that you have but ....the brick walls part of it made me think of you tonight. As always, much love lady. Hope you have a good week in front of you!

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