An American Adventure – Chicago Edition

Last month, I went over to my parents’ house and slept over so we could wake up early the next morning and drive really far west. A friend of the family – someone I have known since I was four or five years old – was getting married1 in Chicago.

I have been to Chicago before, but it was winter and while the snow made everything that much more beautiful, it was far too cold to really enjoy just how beautiful the city is. We arrived at almost 1am on Friday morning, and left at 8am on Sunday morning. There was a rehearsal and dinner held on the Friday, and the wedding itself on the Saturday – it was a busy weekend.

I had insisted on driving through Cleveland for our mid-way stop. I didn’t want to drive through Michigan, so I scoured the routes to try to find something fun to check out. What’s more fun than checking out a craft brewery while you’re on a road trip?! The Great Lakes Brewery was in the heart of “downtown” Cleveland. We walked around a bit to stretch our legs, before going into the brewery for a linner-like snack. The food was okay, but the beer was delicious.
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Rye Oh Rye Can’t We Win

Sausage and Perogies anyone?

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I went with a dark rye IPA called, “Rye oh rye can’t we win,” ’twas delicious. I only got a half-pint as it would be my turn to drive once we got back on the road. I bought a growler to take home to Toronto with me, and a six pack of a few of their other brews.

The Air BnB we stayed in was a little disappointing for a family of clean freaks, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our stay. Besides, the location was so convenient and lovely that the fact that we had to sweep under the bed a little bit and avoid the window sills really wasn’t all that much of an inconvenience. I do wish we had been able to use the jacuzzi in the bathroom, but we were only really in the apartment to sleep, shower and get ready all three days that we stayed.

There was so much to love about our trip to Chicago; everything we did was a lot of fun: The Chicago Riverwalk, The Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise, Walking to and through Millennium Park, Going for coffee and breakfast (Jackalope Coffee & Tea, Ain`t She Sweet Cafe and Robust Coffee Lounge), going shopping , and of course the rehearsal and dinner, the beautiful wedding ceremony and dining and dancing at the wedding reception.

Aren’t they cute walking down the aisle?
These balloons at the rehearsal dinner made their way to the wedding reception too

The beautiful couple’s first dance
The gorgeous Chicago waterfront
Windswept on the boat tour

I thought it would be hard being in Chicago after the changes I’ve made in my life recently, but it was surprisingly easy and carefree. Life, actually, has been wonderfully carefree2 in general. I still feel some pain, but it is so much more manageable than it was. I think I might even have gotten a glimpse of the end of the tunnel – I say might because I am trying to focus on the here and now.

On the way back, we drove through Michigan; specifically, we stopped in on the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall. We scored some pretty sweet deals, but we also had a longer stop-over than we did on the way to Chicago… not a big deal at the time, but it meant that we didn’t get back to Toronto until 1am again. Getting up for work the next day was a little tough, but it was all worth it. I hope this is the first of many road trips I get to take with my parents, and hopefully we’ll be able to take my brother and our beloved dog with us on the next trip.

Enjoy the first half of the photos from our trip. More to come later this week.

Footnotes:
  1. finally – it’s a long story[]
  2. maybe not completely but there has certainly been a vast improvement[]

And off I go!

I have many goals set this year, and one of them is a resolution that I’ve carried over from a few years ago: To see more of this gorgeous country that I have been a resident of for almost 20 years. That same year I drove out to Montreal on my own; it was the first time I had ever been outside Ontario1 and it was a wonderful weekend.

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two of my dearest friends in Winnepeg. While Winnepeg itself might not have been the most glamorous location to fly to for a wedding, Lac du Bonnet is breathtaking and even though it was windy, there was no where in the world I would rather have been at the time.

The view from aboveThe shedThe bride and bridesmaid's bouquetsThe men

 

Photo copyright remains that of the photographer whose name I don’t actually know since I got these off of Wedpics, a photo app that the bride used to share photos with us. Just trust me when I say that the bride and groom were absolutely glowing. Yes, both of them.

Tonight I’m flying out2 to Vancouver > Pemberton+Whistler to visit the very same couple whose wedding I attended in August and to go skiing3. I have never been to the west coast of Canada and I have been told that a) I will love it and that b) I am in for a treat. I have absolutely no doubt, and I can’t wait to write all about it next month 🙂 I’ll have my4 go pro in tow so hopefully I’ll get to share some awesome video too.

I haven’t been on a trip since my family and I drove out to Chicago one Christmas. I’m pretty sure that was at least three years ago. Ever so faintly, I still feel the sting of that travel bug… the sensation has gotten a bit numb from all the debt in my life but fingers crossed this is the year I get away from all of that. And I never thought I’d be excited to be headed to a place that’s even colder than Ottawa but here I am, grinning from ear to ear.

Have you ever been to Whistler? What did you think of it?

Footnotes:
  1. and stayed in Canada[]
  2. with someone I adore immensely[]
  3. fingers crossed I don’t die – I’m not that good[]
  4. Dad’s[]

400th post, and I’m alone again.

Toronto is crying

I know I’m not truly alone, because I have someone loving me, even if he is thousands of miles away. But I’m still going to allow myself to feel sorry for myself for at least this week. I can’t believe I allowed myself to forget how great it was being with him. Actually, I can. I’m so depressed now and constantly on the verge of crying so I can believe that I allowed myself to go numb just so I can function. What’s different this time around? I don’t want to say just yet because I don’t want to jinx anything as important as this.

Our last week together was almost as good as the first, the only minus being that he had to be away doing things for the wedding for a few days1. Most of the rest of the week was taken up by wedding stuff2 mentioned but it was great fun. The wedding was definitely memorable, and I was so proud to see him standing up near the altar as a groomsman. The reception was so much fun, and there was plenty of food and drink to be had.

We were so hung over the day after the wedding, we didn’t get up ’til after 2pm the next day. Lazy bones. Of course, we only got up to go to the bar to meet some friends too ;P but he’s on vacation and I was off on Monday so it was totally allowed. Monday we had to move out of the apartment, and were a little bit rushed so of course there were some tiny arguments because we both knew we didn’t want to leave each other.

I got my heart a little bit broken again yesterday but I’m going to be ok. I just have to get through this. I wish I didn’t, but I do. There were some really thoughtful things said yesterday that I’m a little bit glad to be going through this – even at the hardest times. I’m sure it only makes us stronger3.

Footnotes:
  1. photos are coming but I can’t promise there’ll be people in the pictures I post up[]
  2. as I previously[]
  3. at least it better[]