Thursday, January 19, 2012

Country Girl in the Big City, Part 2

My first task was to find food.  In the City, on a Saturday night, South Side of Chicago.  Mommy told me I couldn't go anywhere.  So I didn't.  I didn't really want to try and navigate the metra in the dark anyhow.  Some delightful Chicago friends came to my rescue and helped me find food that wasn't going to send me to the hospital.  This was one of those days where not having food allergies would have been a huge blessing.  While I was on the phone ordering delivery (first time for that!) I was literally shaking.  When I got off the phone, I cried some more.  Then I called mommy again.  
My food eventually came (without any utensils) so I ate camp style sitting on my bed, wiping my fingers on a hotel towel.  You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. After that, I dealt with a few more e-mails (getting engaged results in lots of e-mails!) and curled up into a very soft, very warm bed and drifted off to sleep.
I woke up rested and refreshed and still had oodles of time before I had to check out, so I headed down to the fitness center (silly me didn't have her swim suit along so no pool time for me...even though it was a beautiful 25 meter pool).  A five mile bike and some upper body work and I was ready for some breakfast and a hot shower.  Which I got.
Once I was fed and clean I checked out of my room, let the doorman hail me a cab and went to Whole Foods.  It was a challenge to keep my jaw off the floor and my senses from being overwhelmed.  So many things to smell, so much to look at, so many noises to hear.  They had food in the store that you could buy and then eat.  Like cooked food...brats and brisket and chicken and potatoes and ice cream and cheese and sushi… and they had ingredients on everything! I actually had choices for my lunch.  Real choices I could have had a salad for lunch, but I chose not to, just because I could.  I had some brats and fingerling potatoes with leek and pickles and chicken with asparagus salad…  I had smoked chicken for supper tonight along with all of the above, except the brats.  I left whole foods and asked someone official to point me in the right direction and then I hailed a cab rest the way to the station, just because I could.
The train trip back to Holland was about as eventful as the train trip from Ottumwa to Chicago. Broken rails, broken crossings, broken whistles...We didn't even get out of the train yard in Chicago before we were sitting still getting something fixed.
Eventually I got super bored and instead of sitting in my seat I started pacing the train...front to back, back to front.  At least I got good exercise.
Once I got bored with walking I sat down again in my seat. We finally (!) pulled into Chicago at 11:15 or so. The train was supposed to get in at 9:20. A dear friend of mine had sent her husband to meet me at the station so I didn't have to walk back in the cold dark snowiness that was (Little) Holland with my bags. When I saw him waiting on the platform I sighed with relief. Here was a familiar face in a familiar place and a sure sign that I would be able to tuck myself into my warm bed soon. I got back to my apartment, waded through the snow of my unshoveled walk, called mommy and crawled into bed. Home is a good place to be. And thus ends my adventures in the big city for now.

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