Chicago, Chicago, What a Wonderful Town.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own city. This weekend felt just like that and we had such a blast.

We set the tone for our lazy weekend by sleeping in Saturday morning and lounging around until lunch. After a long week, there's nothing better. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day, but still so cold. That still doesn't make sense to me. How can it be 35 degrees, horribly windy, and full sun?

Anyway, St. Patrick's Day is coming up on Tuesday. For the rest of the world, this wouldn't be a big deal. But for Chicago, it's apparently huge. Here, it mainly means lots of drinking while wearing obscene amounts of green. I think if ol' St. Pat walked around Chicago, he'd be pretty confused. :) We live above an extremely popular bar, so we usually go to sleep to the sound of drunk people yelling outside. Well, when we looked outside Saturday morning, the bars were already packed and lines of people were streaming out the door.

In the good category for St. Pat's Day, every year on the Saturday before, the Chicago River is turned a vivid green. Because this has always fallen on our Spring Break, Shawn and I had never seen it in person.

So we began our walk.

We had no real agenda, so we sauntered into the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's a free museum, so we just walked in and started looking at the first exhibit... until a security guard ran up to us in a huff and asked, "Where is your free visitor badge?" [And as he looked at my thermos of tea...] "Young lady, you know you can't have drinks in any of the galleries." Our question: if everyone is a free visitor, why do we all need badges? We didn't feel like waiting in the lengthy line to get a free pass (and we definitely didn't feel like battling that guy) so we headed back into the cold.

Next stop: the very green Chicago River. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of people crowding Michigan Avenue, all of whom wore green. Most of whom were drunk. But still a fun day and I always love masses of people.

We were not disappointed when we finally got to the river. It was GREEN as green can be! What a hilarious holiday!

On our way back to our apartment (we were feeling really cold by now, so we decided to head home) we passed by homeless people panhandling for cash, street mimes doing a performance, and the most interesting: more than 20 Chinese people practicing "Falun Dafa" along the sidewalk. Anyone ever heard of this? They handed us a brochure as we passed by and apparently it's a Chinese spiritual discipline that's composed of several meditational poses and is practiced by over 100 million people. I'm still not sure why it had to be on the streets of Chicago, but it looked like they were sitting down looking at their watches. We were confused and just loving how off the wall our city can be.

We ended Saturday with a yummy dinner at our favorite, Grand Lux, with our friends Grady and Leanne. What a perfect day.

Today after church, it was sunny again (thank you, Lord!) so we decided to venture out. We walked down Michigan Avenue once more - my favorite place to walk - and passed by a concert at Fourth Presbyterian that was open to the public. The North Dakota State University chorale was performing and they were incredible. Their first note we heard brought tears to my eyes, it was just so beautiful. What an unexpected worship experience.

This post seems a bit disjointed, but so did our weekend, so I guess that's fitting. We just love this quirky city. We have no idea how long we'll be in Chicago, but want to milk it while we're living in such an incredible location. Come visit us, please! :)

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