I spent this weekend in my favorite city, Chicago! A bunch of my sorority sisters and I had planned to come back to celebrate St. Patty’s Day together and it was the first time a lot of us have seen each other since graduation almost 2 years ago. I learned a lot this weekend and I celebrated some milestones.
First lesson was learned VERY early Friday morning. I decided on taking a super shuttle to the airport because it was cheaper than an uber and really reliable. Literally don’t ever do this for a 6 am flight. They will pick you up 4 hours before your flight when it’s 100% unnecessary. I ended up sitting at LAX waiting for TSA to open regretting many things. I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived at this point but I caught up on sleep on the 4 hour direct flight into O’hare.
I took a long walk around the city after riding the train in from the airport because honestly, I got lost, but also I needed to move my legs so it worked well. Something you may not know about me is that I’m terrible with directions even if I’ve lived in a city for 4 years. I stayed with my best friend from college, Jenna, at her parents apartment by Trump tower for the next two nights. We shopped around Michigan Ave. for a bit and stopped at Whole Foods so I could build a random salad because I finally got hungry after that weird stressful morning. I needed something to hold me over till dinner.
Around 5:15 Jenna and I headed to Lincoln Park to meet her friend to say hi and then meet about 8 other Delta Zeta gals for beers while waiting for our Pizza reservations at Home Slice. I got super hungry again before dinner (we didn’t sit down to eat till 9 pm) so those beers actually held me for a bit. We ordered a huge veggie pizza and shared with Kelly, Jenna’as big, because Jenna and I go meatless for Friday’s in Lent.
We were pretty pooped after dinner and had to mentally prepare for the next day. If you didn’t know, Chicago takes St. Patty’s Day (SPD) very, very seriously. Pretty much the whole town is drinking green beer and the river is dyed bright green. It’s basically a 14 hour party. I missed out on celebrating almost every year of college because I had crippling text anxiety and I always had an exam the Monday after SPD weekend. I felt like if I took my eyes off my books for even 2 hours to see some friends or go to the river that I would fail. I now know that was irrational and taking time to celebrate, have FUN, and let loose is just as important as studying. My anxiety was at its worst around junior year. Straining yourself for one grade doesn’t do anything but make it scarier. I’ve built up a lot of study strategies that allow me to not be so fearful of taking exams anymore and I’m really proud of that. So, this weekend was sort of making up for all those years I denied myself fun for fear of failure.
Jenna and I had full intentions of meeting some friends at a pregame Saturday but I was sleep deprived and my friends let me sleep in till 8 which meant skipping the schlep to our friends across town even though we would have loved to see them. We made some mimosas (amen for a Walgreens downstairs) + ate some muffins that I picked up at Whole Foods for the morning while getting ready.
We ended up meeting everyone at Woodie’s Tavern anyways around 9:30 am so we didn’t miss seeing anyone. Also, I feel like I need to address this before going on. Yes, I drink alcohol with friends and I really enjoy wine and happy hour! I am 23 years old (almost 24 now) and I have the right to make my own decisions about that sort of stuff. Do I advocate for heavier drinking regularly? No. What I do advocate for is celebrating the way you want to and if that involves some drinks with friends then so be it. I think alcohol can be included in a responsible way if that’s the intention and I also believe it could go the opposite way leading to some destructive behavior and avoidance of problems. Believe me when I say I know the negative consequences of alcoholism on an individual and a family. At the end of the day it’s up to the individual about their choice to drink or not (and if you are 21) and to know what feels appropriate for you. Ok rant done! I think you guys get me?
ANYWAYS. We had a great few hours at Woodies catching up with people and seeing where everyone is working or where they are in grad school or who they are dating or about to marry, weird, I know. Around 1:30 pm we headed to a Mexican restaurant downtown to get some food and decided after a few sips of margs that drinking no longer was appealing in any way whatsoever. I really wanted to go to the river so my other college roomie Caroline and I headed down to admire its crazy color.
Then I bopped on the Red Line to Wrigley to see my family! This weekend is super special for us because 4 years ago on SPD in China my cousins adopted Ella, my mini human best friend. From the moment Ella and I met we had this special connection and I’m confident I’ll be her cool aunt and we will never not be friends. She makes me (and our whole family) smile so so big and is such blessing to us all.
We had a big Irish themed dinner with Shepard’s Pie and other goodies with a few of their friends and my great aunt and uncle. My cousin is an amazing cook. She spoiled me when I was in undergrad with the best door step food drop offs.
We had dessert and good conversation and I left to head back to Jennas to cuddle up. We had plans to keep celebrating but it turned into us going to Chick Fil-A instead for late night fries. Great decision. It felt nice to walk about a mile each way and get some air too!
I woke up early around 7:30 am on Sunday, hugged all the friends at Jennas and hopped back on the Red line to Lincoln Park to meet one of the younger girls I still am close with in DZ. We actually went to middle school together too! We both needed to study so I met her at La Colomb for a coffee and I grabbed a breakfast bagel at CBA on the way. How do they keep the cheese melty but bacon crunchy?!
After tending to some intern stuff and my assignments, I met May at Floriole to catch up. She’s my go to gal for advice and encouragement. Lucky to have such a great and successful friend!
I strolled around Lincoln Park a bit and then bopped back up to Wrigley to take Ella for a day out! It was SO beautiful out all I wanted to do was soak it all up. Ella and I went to Southport (about a mile away) to get a smoothie for me and a Jeni’s ice cream for her + play at the park. She rode her bike (with training wheels) the whole way there and it was fun chasing after her.
Some nice lady took our picture! We enjoyed our day and headed back to clean up to celebrate Ella’s gotcha day again! We celebrated with more of my cousin’s awesome friends and ate yummy food. The lighting was a little off so I won’t post the photo but for dinner Sunday we had pork, mashed potatoes, a great salad, corn, and BREAD PUDDING. Holy smokes was that good. I actually had a great conversation with one of the men there who was sharing his desire to loose weight with me. We were able to have a great conversation about honoring hunger and fullness versus going on a diet and to focus on healthier behaviors versus bash bodies for looking certain ways. That was actually the 3rd constructive conversation I had about dieting this weekend and I don’t think I could have done that a year ago.
I’ve been pushing myself into the Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating research (in the middle of 3 papers on it now-yikes) and in working with my students I’m slowly growing a conversation skill set to combat diet culture and it feels great. I was proud that I planted some different seeds into this man’s head that maybe he would have never thought of before. THAT stuff gets me fired up and excited to work.
We finished up dinner and came back to Wrigley around 9 pm and I read Ella some books and we fell asleep. I had to sneak out at 3 am to catch my 5:15 am flight at Midway but left with a full heart feeling grateful for the people in my life, for my growth in my anxiety journey, and for my growing non-diet skill set.
I hope you had a great weekend!