Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Last Days Stateside...



I finally have some time to sit down and recap the last week or so! It’s been a whirlwind, filled with goodbyes, new faces, and exploring unknown cultures! 

After saying goodbye to my mom and grandparents in Iowa, I spent my last few days in the United States in Illinois. My dad and I drove to central Illinois to see my aunt and grandma one last time. It was a really nice to see everyone, especially my grandmother. She’s a very special person to me and it was the perfect send off! From there, we headed up to Chicago to spend some time with Kevin and Erin. After saying goodbye to my dad, we trudged my entire life up three flights of stairs into their new apartment. That night, we met up with Erin’s friend Ines, who was visiting from Spain, for some delicious Thai food. The neighborhood that they live in is very quaint and very close to Lake Michigan, making it the perfect spot to spend a few days in the city!


 
The next day (Friday), I went for a run down to the lake and enjoyed a gorgeous view of skyline. It was a bit of a struggle since I was out of commission for the previous month after pulling a muscle in my back, but I managed to run/walk about 6 miles and not get lost! That night, Erin and I headed out to Park Ridge to stay with Kevin’s parents in preparation for our big weekend plans! Saturday brought an early morning and Kevin’s alumni cross country run at his high school. He came in 10th and was 2nd among all of the alumni that ran. Later that day, while Kevin and a few of his friends went tux rental shopping for an upcoming wedding, Erin and I wondered around a shopping complex, dodging the rain when we could. It was nice to be able to catch up with her and reminisce about our time in Florida! That night, I was treated to a night out in Edison Park, complete with drinks and an attempt at dancing!


 
Sunday, we piled into Kevin’s car and headed to Guernee, IL to spend the day at Six Flags Great America! It has been about 10-15 years since I was last at the park and all of the childhood memories came flooding back. It was such a great time! We conquered the Goliath, a wooden roller coaster that has an 85-degree drop and multiple twists and turns! It was a rush and definitely worth the hour wait. The rest of the day was spent dominating Superman, Batman, and Ragin Bull, amongst others. We headed home, exhausted and sunburnt, and headed back into the city to Kevin and Erin’s apartment.


 
Monday, while Erin was at work, Kevin and I headed downtown to the Loop to take in the sights of Chicago. Even though I’ve been to Chicago numerous times, I still love walking around the downtown area. A trip to Millennium Park and the famous “Bean” statue was complemented with the “Face Fountains” nearby. We also scoped out where Phetsada will be attending pastry school, the Sears (Willis) Tower, Chicago River, and other sights. It was awesome being back in the city and just out and about! That night, my trip to Chi-town was topped off with the one and only famous deep dish pizza! No trip to Chicago is complete without this delectable delicacy! Kevin and I devoured ¾ of our pizza, while also getting caught up. It was the perfect way to end my trip to the Windy City!