January 1, 2010

The One with the Chicago New Year's Eve

Well hello there, Two Thousand Ten.
Nice to meet you.
I have a feeling we'll be good friends.

For the first time in my life, I ushered in the New Year in a big city.
The Windy City.
Chicago, Illinois.
Our friends, Karina & Michael just recently settled into their city apartment.
They invited us to join them and some of our friends to a night of celebration.
Twelve people.
One bedroom apartment.
Wood floors.
We were packed like sardines for the night.
Kevin and I shared the couch.
Probably won't be doing that again.
But all that is beside the point.
And on the forefront of my mind.
As we all spent the 5 hour ride home straight up exhausted.
Greasy hair.
(Or maybe that was just me.
I knew there was a reason I shower every day.)
I feel refreshed.
I kicked myself in the rear.
And got myself into gear.
Jillian and I did day three of my experiment with the 30 Day Shred.
And then I showered.
And now I'm in sweats.
It's amazing how much better I feel.
Like a new woman really.
To bad it's already 8pm.

But last night at 8pm our night was barely beginning.
Kevin and I arrived at the apartment around 2:30pm.
(Luckily Kevin accounted for the time change before we left.
I always forget that little detail.)
Thanks to our new GPS we made it without a hitch.
And without paying any tolls.
We hung out with Kari & Michael for a while.
Then Emily & her new bf RJ & Betsy & Magan arrived.
It was so good to see them all again.
It's bittersweet, this growing up thing.
I still have the best of friends.
We just don't see each other more than a couple times a year.
Rather than a couple times an hour on campus.
We all sat around for a couple hours just enjoying one another's company.
Then four of Michael's friends arrived.
We all headed downtown.

::riding the train into the city::
karina. betsy. magan.

::couldn't pass it up::

::walking down town::
We had just enough time to catch the Red Line CTA.
And walk down Michigan Ave.
Enjoying the sights of Millenium Park.
The Bean.
The Ice Skating.
The Museums.
The Lights.
The Library.
It was bitter cold.
But we didn't care.
We were snapping photos like true tourists.
And we didn't care.

::skating rink at Millenium Park::

::me and my love::
::ice skating!::
::the bean::
kind of difficult to photograph. but sweet nonetheless.

We arrived at Giordano's just in time for our reservation.
Karina & Michael treated us to the best pizza in the world.
In my humble opinion.

::excited about Giordano's::

::RJ. Emily. Mel. Kevin::
::gotta love the deep dish Chicago style::

By 8pm the railway rides were free thanks to the holiday.
We rode to....uhhh...I have no idea where.
But we walked another 30 minutes.
Bitter cold.
We went into the Tiny Lounge.
Yes. That's what it was called.
I'm not a club person.
But I figured I could enjoy myself in the company of my friends.
I've never been carded.
By a bouncer.
I was afraid he wouldn't believe I was legal.
This is not my scene.
And this Tiny Lounge was packed.
There were at least twice as many people crowded inside as had to be legally allowed.
No place to sit.
No place to stand.
I could tell that the place would have been really classy and relaxing on any other night of the year.
I have to give it credit.
Five of us non-drinkers headed next door.
To a sports bar and grill that had many open tables.
It was relaxing.
And they served water.
That's what I'm about.
I also stole a few bites of Emily & RJ's dessert.
This ginormous chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of ice cream.
Goodness gracious.

:::magan. mel. kevin. ready to ring in 2010::
::emily and rj. entertaining? I think yes.::

For the next 3 hours we water drinkers tried hard to stay awake.
The place got packed.
They eventually asked us to leave our table if we weren't going to buy anything else.
I was annoyed.
But I can't blame them.
By midnight I was totally not thinking clearly.
I've heard that exhaustion can have similar effects on the body as can drinking.
I believe it.
But I pulled myself together in time for a midnight kiss.
I was so thankful Kevin was with me.
He is truly my rock.

::toasting the new year at midnight::

When we finally started the trek home a few of us were already exhausted.
Luckily for us we missed the last bus of the night.
Thankfully Betsy thought to call the CTA to make sure we were truly waiting in vain.
With frozen toes.
And fingers.
And cheeks.
Kevin and Betsy figured out the train was just around the corner.
I'm glad they knew what they were doing.
Cause if it were up to me I probably would have ended up sleeping at the bus stop.
And dying of frost bite.

::heading back home::
hoping we didn't miss the bus.
we did.
luckily the train was still running.

::the traditional "Mel & Betsy" photo::
::loving the public transportation::

I realize I've divulged the details and made this sound totally unpleasant.
But it wasn't.
We really did have a great time with our friends.
I love them.
And I would have totally regretted missing out on this opportunity.
An indelible memory.
And then this morning we got 4 more hours with Betsy and Magan as we drove them back to Jackson.
Conversation really is sweet.
We had a blast singing our favorite songs from back in the day.*
*yes, I realize "back in the day" is totally relative.
The original Switchfoot.
Audio Adrenaline.
Relient K.
The band the cemented my friendship with Magan.
Eating at Panera.
Catching up on. life.

Even when I know I can't see my friends very often
(and not just these friends, but all of them),
just knowing that they're there is enough.
We have a foundation.
I don't need that reaffirmed every day.
I'm not worried I'm going to lose them.
I love friendships where you can count on them.
Through months apart.
Or hardships.
Or joys.
Knowing who to turn to.
Such a blessing.

As is being home sweet sweet sweet home.


  1. sounds like a really FUN night in Chicago... cold though, I'm sure!

  2. You guys were that close to me and didn't even call.... bummer....


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