26 January 2011

Some pursue happiness; others create it

Ever since I was able to, I have enjoyed writing. Whether it was a report about Amelia Earhart, a poem I wrote for a friend, a rant I let out in high school, or my travel blog from when I studied abroad, I have enjoyed it.

Since my last post in the summer of 2009, I have not written anything more than a Facebook status update, a Twitter tweet, or a text message, "Where U at?" I think it's high time to get back to writing because I love words, more than words can say.

The past few days I have been thinking about how lucky I am. I have everything in the world that I need, and then some. And the "some" this past weekend consisted of some of my very best friends who traveled with me to Chicago to celebrate my birthday. Months ago, I thought this was just an idea that sounded nice, but would never come to fruition. With the persistence of my friends, it actually did. We could hardly believe we pulled it off!

Even though the memories from the weekend are obviously fresh in my mind, I want to get them down on virtual paper so I can look back at this and know the details. So here we go!

Friday - 21 January 2011
Running on four hours of sleep, Andrea and I flew to O'Hare. We jumped into a taxi, drove off, and realized she forgot her purse in the airport bathroom. Luckily, her purse called me and said it would be waiting at the Delta counter so we wouldn't have to deal with any security issues. We were taken by our God-loving taxi driver straight to The Wieners Circle, which I had heard was a hot dog joint where insults were rampant and food was amazing. I guess the daytime lunch-breakers were less prone to insults and as a result, it was pretty quiet there. Our luggage was screaming "tourists!" though. I found out that I'm not really a fan of Chicago dogs or cheese food that hardens within 10 minutes. I'm also not really a fan of the phrase, "not really a fan."

We used my fancy app HopStop to manuever to the hotel, but ended up going the wrong way. Turns out, you SHOULD go down the scary alley to get to your destination. We hopped on the 151 to Downtown and ended up a block away from The Inn of Chicago. Checked in, warmed our toes, began the playlist that would repeat itself throughout the weekend, and had to jimmy rig the iPod dock to play for us. Decided it was time to get some culture in our systems, so we trekked a mile to the Chicago Institute of Art. The lion statues out front were donning their Bears gear, in anticipation of the game they would lose. Of course I have to say, "Lions and Packers and Bears, oh my!" The museum ended up being free, which was an obvious bonus, and Andrea and I flew through the place, stopping only briefly for Seurat (our hero), the Rachel Dratch-look-a-like nude painting, Monet, American Gothic, and Asian statues. We overlooked most of the contemporary American art since we agreed "we could have done that ourselves."

Laura called so we headed back to the hotel and got ready while we awaited the crew's arrival. Katrina was next, then Ashley and Josh, then finally Zeb, Tina and Adam, treats in tow. Pregamed, curled hair, walked to a bar/grill called Rockit, then ended the night at Social 25. The live band was awesome because they could sound like Journey, Flo Rida and Lady Gaga all in one evening. And the crowd was...interesting.

Saturday - 22 January 2011
Finally made it to Heaven on Seven for Cajun breakfast. Too bad the place was decked out in Mardi Gras so streamers hung in our faces as we all chowed down on egg-white omelets. We walked to Millenium Park for ice skating (sans Laura) and learned how to stand on our two feet again. Tina tried to teach us how to spin, but we just didn't have the grace. Took some obligatory Cloud Gate/bean photos, then went our separate ways. Girls to Michigan Avenue shopping and boys to beer. Weird.

9.75% sales tax later, we had our purchases in tow and went to eat food court pizza while Katrina and Laura sipped on wine and Viagarists attempted...something. Nap time!

Our group met the HKUST-Chicago boys at Grand Lux Cafe and when I spotted Jake and Rahul, my heart lifted! I hadn't seen them in so long and it was only the second meeting since we left HK in 2008. We immediately caught up on life and work, then introductions ensued, mojitos were drank, David Leibman made his grand appearance, and we were seated for our delicious meal. My half of the table talked about banking, Twitter, Chinese mothers, having too many choices, DJs I hadn't heard of, and the typical David-Rahul-Jake banter.

Headed over to English, which many claimed to have smelled like a hot mess. Some of the kids went back to the hotel and we made the quick jaunt next door to LaSalle Power Co. where Jake wasn't diggin' the DJ, but maybe it was because he knew he was better. Bar close rolled around and I was not ready to say goodbye. Yet, I knew Wicker Park was too far to follow them, so we bid each other adieu and my gang went to The Boss Bar for a poorly-executed round of billiards. We went home to sleep, but not before waking each sleeping person up by jumping into their beds. Adam was ready to fight us...like he was always prepared for an ambush in his sleep.

Sunday - 23 January 2011
Laura left early to make it back for the Packer/Bears game. We all packed up and went to Yolk for breakfast. Katrina, the spy, got the scoop on all the employees and their mothers. We gossiped about total strangers and it was delightful. Then, the goodbyes came. This wasn't so bad because we live in the same place, but to have it all come to an end was bittersweet. Mostly just bitter.

The Aftermath
I had the Sunday blues on Monday and Tuesday since I was longing to be back in Chicago and definitely missing my HKUST buds who I, at one point, saw on a daily basis. Kind of makes me wish I was living in New Hall and could run down the stairs to knock on David Leibman's door to find Guillaume and his girlfriend stalking each other.

Undoubtedly, this weekend we created happiness.

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