…including Taxis, Subways and Waitresses

When I got off the plane last night, we had taxied after landing for 25 minutes. I wandered O’Hare for about a minute and a half until I asked for directions to the Blue Line also known to non-Chicagoians as a subway. I had never taken a subway by myself let alone bought tickets for one.

When the ticket machines say they don’t give change, don’t give them a bigger amount of money than they require for a ticket. I am still kicking myself.

So I took the El for 45 minutes, avoiding eye-contact and sneaking glances at the city as it streaked by. Exiting, I followed my nose out of the station, away from jazz musicians the size of sixth graders and to the street where my next challenge was to hail a taxi.

When you’re from Grand Forks, North Dakota, hailing a taxi doesn’t happen. Ever. If you need a taxi, you call for one a day or two ahead and they come pick you up from your house. To go to the airport. And it costs, like, your life savings. In Chicago, if you raise your arm in a stretch, you have four taxis pull over instantaneously. It was amazing! I stood there, looking awkward as all get-out with my pink Columbia jacket, giant Eddie Bauer backpack and suede purse and… to top this beautiful ensemble off, my leather choppers. Finally, because I was desperate and very cold, I raised my hand like I had seen in the movies and presto—Taxi. The act was so extremely gratifying that I felt like a rockstar for absolutely no apparent reason.

To make a long story short, I made it to my cousin Karin’s boyfriend’s place (on Michigan Avenue and SO pretty),and my best friend and her boyfriend picked me up and we went touring the city at night. It was BEAUTIFUL! What a great way to end a stressful day. We spent four glorious hours together and got dinner at a place where the waitress was as tipsy as most of the patrons combined (but managed to get our orders perfect AND flirt with me… uhh(?!)). They dropped me off, and I slept great on Picho’s couch while the trains rumbled by ouside the giant windows and down 21 floors.

This morning, I caught ANOTHER taxi (I am pretty good at this business now) and made it to the French Embassy where they took all my papers, did a bona fide mug shot and took my fingerprints. Wait a second, was I getting booked or applying for a visa?! The whole process took 10 minutes.

Yes. Ten. Minutes. I have been stressed out of my freaking skull for a ten minute appointment (which, consequently, was over double the time that it took my classmate Laura to get her visa).

Now, I inhale a gigantic bagel, sip my ginger orange spice tea and read a magazine I got at the embassy. Chilling. Out.

In about 20 minutes, I’ll catch another cab to the bautiful Chicago Museum of Art and spend about 4 hours there.

Au Revoir, Chicago!


As it turned out, the Associated Press released the information regarding why the airport was shut down. Turns out that some nitwit took the oldest suitcase they had, filled it with old 20oz pop bottles and put HONEY in the pop bottles and then CHECKED THE BAG. Why the dogs got HONEY mixed up with BOMBS, I shall never know. All I can say is that my appointment is done and the dogs can sniff all the stupid honey they want now. I do not care. :)