Love Chicago. Loved my friend’s wedding. Love coming back to a REAL apartment!
How cool a city is Chicago? It’s where one of my favorite radio shows, This American Life, gets produced. When I had some time on my hands, I walked a few hours around the city, walking past one of the city beaches where I was startled to find so many swimmers, stopping at the Navy Pier to soak up the tackiness, buy a map and eat a crappy bean burrito, strolling past the harbor towards the museum area. I took black and white photos along the way of the sailboats sitting peacefully in the water. I stopped into the Field Museum for an hour and looked at exhibits on Africa and the ancient Americas–not without buying Eric a hokey souvenir.
Then after the museum closed I walked back up, past the giant and extravagant water fountain where the central water spout shot water many feet into the air and glaring sea creatures spat water from their mouths. More black and white photos. I admired the diverse array of paintings and jewelry at an arts fair, sat on the grass and listened to the Chicago Jazz Festival for a few minutes, then continued North through Millenium Park. There I encountered a lush garden full of fluffy and exhilirating smelling flowers and took more pictures at the giant Jelly Bean sculpture which distorts and repeats your image over and under its silvery, metallic structure.
Symi’s mom lives in a really, really nice part of the city. Her apartment is located near the Lake and has views of the surrounding downtown skyscrapers and the lake. I enjoyed sleeping on comfy couches, inhabiting the place, looking out onto the views as well as chatting with her mom. Chicago has the most beautiful skyscrapers I have ever seen.
The best part about the weekend was spending so much time with the bride and seeing my other girlfriends, who live in D.C. and Florida. Both are happy, pregnant ladies with busy careers. One of my friends plans to start a nonprofit organization while studying organizational behavior at Johns Hopkins. The other is an assistant principal at a privately run elementary school. No slouches here.
You could tell that the bride and groom were very involved in the planning and execution of the wedding. They even laid out particular music that should be played for the procession, embodying their quirky and stylish taste. The maids of honor (me and the other two ladies mentioned above) walked to It’s DeLovely by George Gershwin. There was also Balkan Beatbox, Beatles, classical music, and Symi entered with another Gershwin piece that I am having trouble remembering but was very fitting for a grand entrance.
Their wedding was an internationally themed one, with each table labeled as a specific country and with a buffet that served food from Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico and a few other places. Yes it’s kind of nerdy, but was very fitting. The groom just finished grad school at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia U, and my friend studied abroad several times as well as completed a Masters in Paris. By the way, she studied Voice undergrad, so that tells you what a well-rounded person she is.
The bridemaid dresses were very cool. We could create a variety of different styles with the top–which actually consisted of two long strips of material. If you’re really that curious visit http://www.butterbynadia.com to see what I mean.
Eric was really busy while I was gone. He moved all of our stuff from the Absorption Center to our new apartment, bought appliances, arranged for the shipment to come and other bureaucratic tasks. When I came back to Israel, I moved in to our peaceful and cheerful apartment. Thank you Eric! It’s amazing how much better I feel now that I have more space to breathe in and now that I don’t have to look at suitcases piled up in a corner.
I am finally getting back to normal here in Israel. The past few days I have slept almost 12 hours. I attribute my peaceful and long sleep in part to my exhaustion and in part to our amazing bed which we haven’t used in over a year. This isn’t just any bed! It’s similar to the Temperpedic beds where the foam adjusts to your body. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. Both of us almost cried when we first slept in it a few nights ago amazed by how we lived without it for so long. More than anything, the bed made us feel like we had a home.
The bed came in our shipment, which arrived on Wednesday. We heard that there was supposed to be a strike at the dock (yes, this is Israel where everyone strikes). There was a possibility our stuff could have been stuck at the port for who knows how long and we’d be the ones who would have to pay for the storage. How stupid would that have been?
Luckily everything came, and stuff I haven’t laid hands on in over a year was suddenly on my doorstep. It was like a giant Hannukah party because I felt like I was getting all of these presents. It also felt very weird and jarring because it was like a part of my past was joining my present life, remnants of an old environment were moving into a new one. There was also a sense of finality that came with the arrival of my old belongings. It signaled that I was here to settle in–for good. Admittedly I found that a little scary.
Instead of freaking out for too long, and wondering what the hell I was doing moving to this crazy place, I went to work and started unpacking box by box. The more I unpacked, the more assured I felt. Yes it still does feel scary and weird, but I also get a sense of satisfaction and comfort when looking at my unpacked kitchen (which took a reaaally long time to unpack because everything was wrapped with butcher paper and bubblewrap).
The whole experience of moving has made me realize or at least reinforce the idea that in order to face the blustery storms in the real world, it’s important to have a cozy shelter. I’ve noticed the change in my own sense of security now that I have a place where I feel comfortable. And I’m looking forward to inviting other people into my home–that is, once we’ve bought something where they can sit.
Tomorrow I’ll be waiting around for the technician to install our dryer, and the day after that will be the washing machine–apparently when you get your appliances you have to call a different technician for each machine (I guess if it’s a different company), and schedule a time for them to install it. And I’ll be continuing to unpack and begin to build our home here.