Happy Halloween and Happy Fall!
Since college, my friend Hayley and I have always talked about the fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. The ant works hard through the summer to prepare for winter by building his home and collecting food. The grasshopper plays beautiful music all day but doesn’t prepare for winter. He mocks the ant for being so busy and not enjoying life. When winter comes, the ant is cozy, warm and fed, in his home and he gets a knock on the door from the grasshopper. The grasshopper asks if he can stay and the ant scorns him for wasting his time while the ant worked so hard. The story ends sadly with the ant unwilling to help the grasshopper.
Hayley’s found an article about the whole philosophy behind it and so we started describing all personalities as either ants or grasshoppers or some combination. There are ant people, usually Type A, busy bee, multi-taskers. There are grasshoppers, laid back, fun-loving types only worried about the here and now. Ants get a bum rap for sucking the fun out of things. Grasshoppers can be free riders. So they both have positives and negatives.
I am an ant. Or at least I was before I moved to Spain, the land of grasshoppers. No one was in a hurry. Teachers rarely planned lessons more than ten minutes before class. After the bell rang ending recreo (recess), the teachers would sit sipping their coffee in no hurry to return to class. I loved it. I surprised myself and adapted to it. There are ants who think they are grasshoppers and there are grasshoppers who can function among ants… am I losing you yet? DC is trying it’s best to turn me back into an ant but I am resisting hard-core.
So, on Monday while I was working in Chicago, C found a used book store where he got me a book of short stories (I love short stories, have I mentioned that before?). It was such a nice gift after a long, stressful day at work. The best part was that it had a rendition of The Ant and the Grasshopper in it! I read the story (albeit on the metro while commuting, guh.) and it took me right back.
I love seeing what notes people have written in used books. August 1973, sweet! Plus the book has Matisse illustrations inside.
I’m back from Chicago and back to reality. It was a quick trip (only four days) but every minute of it was packed!
Fortunately, the weather was in our favor and we were able to walk everywhere and spend the majority of our time outdoors. From what I hear, Chicago can be pretty brutal even in October. On Saturday, we rode the train (the “L”) from the airport to the Loop, dropped our bags off, and hit the ground running! First stop, the Bean!
Correction – first stop was Starbucks to get some café. Then, we went to Millenium Park to see the Bean. We luckily got there before the swarms of tourists arrived. The iconic Bean really was cool… the reflections you get of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline are awesome! After strolling through the park, we walked along Lake Shore Drive to the museums.
We started at the Field Museum, where we hammed it up and made sure to make silly faces in front of every animal. We went to the Shedd Aquarium and then the Alder Planetarium. They were good, but too much time in museums gets tiring. I may or may not have taken a nap during the 3-D show at the planetarium.
For dinner, we went to Girl and the Goat, a restaurant in the trendy West Loop. I put on a dress and we made it a special date. We had to wait for almost two hours but it was really fun. We made friends with an older couple who were on the way to the opera. They were so friendly, excited to tell us about their city and learn where we were from. Once we were seated, the food was phenomenal… chickpea fritters and pig face were my favorites.
On Sunday, we went to the Sears (now Willis) Tower where I discovered I had a fear of heights. I guess it is the tallest building I’ve ever been in. Standing by the windows I felt fine, but they have all glass lookout boxes on one side of the building that you can step out into. I really didn’t want to do it, but C talked me into it. I had to face backwards and just back in because I couldn’t make myself step into the box. It made me cry! Courtney snapped a few shots before I had to get back on solid ground. Courtney wanted to try a second time and have us sit down. I wasn’t sure if I could keep in together, but we were waiting our turn and I overheard some Spain Spanish. I made some small talk with the couple from Valencia. They took our picture and calmed my nerves enough to get a couple good ones! 🙂
After my meltdown, we tried out a deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s for lunch. Each pizza takes about 45 minutes to make. We planned it out right and went a little before we were hungry so we weren’t too impatient. We saw a couple of tourists get huffy about the wait and leave because they didn’t realize how long it would take. Luckily, we waited it out and it was totally worth it. It was extremely heavy… I was only able to eat one piece and I was stuffed!
C took tons of pictures everywhere we went. I love seeing him so excited to take pictures. He loves design and structure and architecture so he was really in his element in this city.
Chicago was everything I hoped it would be and more (except that I didn’t get to meet Oprah or go to Harpo studios). The city (well, the Loop really) was really clean and pretty. I’d always heard people say mid-westerners were nice, and they really were so nice!! This was the farthest I’d travelled from old Virginny in a while. It really kicked started our trip planning (Boston in December! Hopefully West Coast in the Spring!). I’ve been bitten by the travel bug again!
After leaving Chicago, C pointed out that Wilco (one of my favorite bands) is from Chicago and so much of their music references the city. I found this video and it has some great views of the city.