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Did I mention I went to Chicago?

January 8, 2008

I haven’t been updating this thing very well, have I?

A friend I originally met in Japan, and with whom I always rendezvous in the Midwest this time of year, was kind enough to host me at her parent’s place in Chicago after she flew into town for the holidays from Montreal (actually, San Francisco, but that’s another story).

December 18: Boston to Chicago, picked up by friend’s dad while she had a phone interview with investment bankers, lunch with her Mongolian friend and the friend’s husband, walked around Northwestern’s amazingly beautiful campus to watch the sunset, and then dinner with an old college classmate of mine at Toro, the best sushi restaurant in the city.

December 19: drove around aimlessly without getting lost (shocking, I know), found a yummy Mexican place for lunch, shopped at Urban Outfitters, and then magically made it home without ending up in the wrong county. We then had dinner with an old friend we used to spend a lot of time with while we were all living in Tokyo (he still lives there for six months out of the year). Upon hearing that we would be in town, he purposely arranged a layover in Chicago on his way somewhere so we could all hang out like the good old days. We ate fancy appetizers at a restaurant in the Hyatt and ate a lot of cake, then he and I ended up staying up all night talking nonsense like true insomniacs while my host crashed on the couch in his huge complimentary suit.

December 20: adventure to do a favor for a friend, Mediterranean food for lunch, then we met up with some of my host’s old high school classmates to go to The Art Institute of Chicago, which was really nice. We spent most of our time getting a personal tour of the Jasper Johns exhibit, where I learned that he was a huge fan of Samuel Beckett, which I am not. Sigh. We then scavenged the streets for a warm place, ended up getting fancy coffee and later dinner, then rushed to make it home before the buses stopped running.

December 21: lots and lots of shopping on Michigan Ave., followed by one of the most extravagant dinners of the trip at Tre Kronor, a Swedish restaurant, which was serving a Christmas Eve feast buffet with a choir and all kinds of cool things. We finally learned what “grogg” is – super delicious hot spiced wine! I even tried the pickled herring. Afterwards, the two of us went to Krem to see my friend who’s a bartender there. It was pretty quiet and not too happening, so we left earlier than expected.

December 22: after stepping out of the shower and starting to blow dry my hair, I was lucky enough to meet my host’s mother for the first time ever. Yes, I was naked, yes, it was hilarious, and yes, I might have squeaked like a girl out of shock. She had flown back from the Philippines a day sooner than expected, and I had been staying in her room. She was very nonchalant about it, probably due to being a doctor, and I made her tea after I was dressed and we all had breakfast. My old neighbor, who now lives in Chicago, picked me up and drove us back to Michigan in the early afternoon. I hadn’t talked to him in person in ages, so it was good to catch up.

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