windy city love

i. love. chicago. it was just last week [at this time...weird] i was posting about my upcoming trip to Story. there are so many thoughts i have yet to process - probably more than just one obligatory "post trip" update.  but before i even touch on the conference...i have to talk about the city.

something happened while in chicago. not sure if it was on one of our rides on the L or walking down the magnificent mile or experiencing the absolute wind wipping of Navy Pier. whenever or however it happened, it kind of snuck up on me.

i love really, really love this city.

we got to chicago thursday morning - almost 12 hours after when we were originally supposed to land. to say i was stressed on the way would probably be an understatement.

i've never dealt with delayed flights = missed connections = overnight stay = late arrival.and i had been looking forward to this conference for so long - it bothered me i would miss the beginning. but after a quick text from a friend reminding me of the purpose of our days, i realized it would do nothing for me to continue to worry about what i missed. God knew what he was doing - he knew why i needed to be there. the first session, albeit amazing based on the buzz, was not why i came.

as we stepped outside from the subway and began our walk to the hotel, i immediately felt...at home.  i haven't been many places where this happens so quickly. austin & san diego are two examples - with london being an example of feeling decidedly as an outsider. chicago though - chicago completely captured my attention.

the history of this city amazes me. the incredible architecture, the breathtaking cultural arts center, the ubiquitous photo op at "the bean", the street side musicians weeping through their blues...

but what struck me the most was the stories. and i guess this is fitting since i went for a storytelling conference. everywhere we went i couldn't help but wonder the story behind who was there. the boys banging a beat on empty paint canisters, the group from LA heading to the cubs game, the cute couple who showed us millenium park and the massive macy's downtown...i wanted to know more. i definitely needed more time.

for example: since i've returned, i can't stop thinking about marlene, our waitress at edwardo's who rivals the best comedian in delivery.  i'm pretty sure our 30 minute conversation sold her on the idea of austin over houston or dallas, and seared into our memory the story of her friend with sugar skull tattoos. from her, we learned the intriguing rumors surrounding daley, and the fact that white sox fans are serious about baseball. i wonder if she'll take us up on her offer to visit austin and stay with one of us or if she'll forget about the loud table of texans who kept her from doing her job for most of her evening...i wonder if the covering of her sin tattoo will ever become more than just covering up an adolescent mistake.

perhaps i should have known chicago would get under my skin. i've always had a love for big city lights. i appreciate the outdoors - and every once in awhile like to sleep under the stars. there's something about city love, though - perhaps the stories - that gets me antsy with excitement.

even if i don't remember precisely when i fell in love with the city, i do remember when God broke me. but, in order to save time [and your own sanity] i'll save that for another post.

[how's that for a teaser?]

Posted on September 29, 2010 and filed under story.