so, i went to chicago.

I had the best Memorial Day weekend this past weekend in, like, ever. About a month ago I booked a flight to go visit my friend Pete in the windy city! I got into O’Hare around 8:30 am Friday morning. We immediately made our way downtown and to Eggsperience for breafast. Holy panini that place was good. Our first stop afterwards was to the tennis courts to see if my game still existed. I wasn’t 2.0 but I wasn’t 4.0 either.

Afterwards we picked up drinks (chai for me) and walked around for a while. We saw the Buckingham Fountain, the Bean, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the set up for an Express Fashion Show.

There was a bunch of lavender outside of the Art Institute, which prompted Pete and I to have the following conversation:

Me: It’s me!

Pete: It’s a flower.

Me: What is it that Amos Lee says? My heart is a flower?

Pete: That’s your third terrible quote of the day. You’re done.

WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS!?

Friday night we headed to iO for an improv show. It was absolutely ‘I almost spit my beer out’ hilarious. I don’t think I have laughed so hard in far, far too long. I tried to explain to my neighbor last night what I thought was so funny about the show and, well, when I describe it … it doesn’t translate as well as it did in the moment on stage. Good thing my neighbor has mastered the courtesy laugh.

We followed it up with a late dinner at Cozy Noodles & Rice where we were able to bring our own wine and I dined on spring rolls and truly incredible shrimp pad thai (sans egg).

Pad Thai

Stir-fried thin rice noodles with bean sprouts, green onion, egg, ground peanuts (on the side) and slice lime. Your choice of chicken or tofu or shrimp.

The restaurant’s decorations were, in one word, incredible. The women’s bathroom was filled wall-to-wall with pez dispensers. The back room, where we were, was lined with shelves of Disney character figurines. I couldn’t help but love every inch of quirk.

Saturday morning we woke up and headed to Pete’s office where I got to see THIS view. Freaking incredible. Pete gets to walk over that river ever day twice a day and all he has to say about it is “it smells.” !!!!!

Afterwards, we all but joined in the Memorial Day parade. I’m pretty sure no one would’ve noticed except for the fact that I was wearing denim rather than an ROTC uniform.

Next, we decided to go on a run downtown and up to lake side. Or really Pete decided and I told him I’d see if I could keep up with him. We ran about a mile and a half to the beach. Once we were there we did a little number called “run until Kristin wants to take another picture.” I believe at this point mind = blown and my dialogue was something like “THIS IS SO AMAZING I JUST CAN’T QUITE CAPTURE IT ALL.” Seriously, the juxtaposition of the buildings and the water were just too cool for school. After our run, we made our way to Pequod’s for some deep dish pizza. We split a pizza with basil leaves, spinach, and peppers and washed it down with a Goose Island Green Line. Hello, delicious.

We went over to meet some of Pete’s friends afterwards. It was an adorable apartment in Lincoln Park. We stopped by the largest Whole Foods in the midwest (omg THE CHEESE!) on the way. I drank a lot of Abita strawberry harvest lager, shazammed some new songs, and played circle of death. It was fun and collegiate and I loved it all.

Sunday morning we got up and headed back to the beach. Pete had plans to join some people for beach volleyball and I had plans to do exactly as I did: try to hit the ball twice and then collapse in the sand and spend the next hour trying to make sure my previously earned tan didn’t go anywhere while I was up north. Mission accomplished.

I was fascinated by the number of volleyballers. It’s, like, a thing there. Like kickball is to Columbia. Also, their beach population was worse than Myrtle Beach at first week. And the people watching did NOT disappoint. Unfortunately I was informed that my sunglasses did not make me invisible. Bollocks.

Sunday afternoon we headed back to south side. It’s such a different view of south side than what I saw last summer when I was there for Dave Matthews. This was beautiful.

We went back to Grant Park so Pete could play some tennis and I could catch up with Reagan on the phone and listen to the new John Mayer while watching the guys play.

I was exhausted from sitting (and Pete from tennis in the suffocating heat – what a weakling) so we headed back and Pete started fixing dinner. He made the most divine veggie burgers and I actually consumed some sweet potato! They were super good and I feasted on them and the corn avocado tomato salsa he also picked up at Whole Foods.

From the beach to the veggie burgers, it was all pretty wonderful.

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