One Night In Chicago

Hey again. I'm back. Never intended to leave again, so, oops? If it isn't obvious already, I've kind of lost my blogging mojo -- mostly because it's incredibly difficult to feel like expending any effort after working more than eight hours a day -- and I don't really know if I'm fully recovered from working Pan Ams (guys, the struggle was SO REAL), so I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things. I'll work out some kind of new "normal" for this space eventually, but for now, the dust is still settling. Pardon my slight radio silence.

But anyway, I still need to finish recapping my Chicago trip! If you missed part one, I suggest reading it, because it's kind of A Thing. But if you don't feel like reading it, here's a quick summary: I went to Chicago, met my favorite Internet friend and met my favorite person ever. And that's where we're at. So, onwards!

I left off the last post when I was leaving the convention center and heading to my hostel. The convention center was right by the airport and literally surrounded by all the airport hotels, but why spend $150 to stay in a hotel in a suburb when you could spend $53 to stay in a hostel in Chicago? Exactly. It meant an extra 45 minutes or so on the train, but if you know me at all you know I live for some good public transportation, so I was happy as a clam. (Though it was 90 degrees and I was wearing a hockey jersey, so I was also incredibly sweaty.)

The hostel I stayed at is called Freehand Chicago, and it was super easy to get to. I was a little worried about that, since I have zero sense of direction, but I didn't get even a little bit lost, so [thumbs up emoji]. The hostel had a really cool atmosphere right from when I walked in, and I was equally as impressed with my room!

I've stayed in my fair share of hostels (hey hey, backpacking trip through Europe) and this one might've been my favorite room. I was booked in a quad, which had its own en suite bathroom (no sharing with the entire floor!) and each bed had its own reading light and a curtain for privacy. There was also a sort of shelf running around the bed, which was perfect for keeping your phone (and alarm) close by and storing glasses while you sleep. I've put my glasses on many a hostel floor, so this little feature was super clutch.

The view from the window was pretty okay, too.

I spent the rest of that evening continuing to geek out about my day, grabbing dinner at a nearby burger place, and getting some work done (because digital media never sleeps). I also chatted a bit with the three other people staying in the room with me; a guy from Colombia, a girl from Mexico and a girl from England. So multicultural! They were all really nice and very considerate people to be bunking with, so I was pretty pleased with the situation. This was my first time staying in a hostel by myself and I was mildly worried about being stuck with less than stellar people, but that wasn't the case at all. We all ended up going to bed at around the same time, and I passed out hard. (After working 10+ hours a day for three weeks straight?! Shocking!)

My goal was to wake up in time for free breakfast before 9, but when my alarm went off at 8 I basically laughed at it and went back to sleep. I finally emerged from behind my privacy curtain at around 9:30 and got not-free breakfast in the hostel cafe (some pretty deluxe avocado toast), and after a bit of a delay, I checked out and hit the streets.

I didn't really have a plan, per se. People kept asking me why I was in Chicago for such a short time, and I don't think they realized that I wasn't in Chicago to see Chicago. But there's nothing I love more than wandering around a city, so I decided to wander. My first stop was the Willis Tower, because I figured I might as well see one touristy thing while I was there. Between this and my previous trip to Chicago, maybe in about a dozen more visits I'll actually have seen a decent amount of the city.

After a leisurely loop around the building (during which I saw the original American Girl Store, which fulfilled all the wishes of my seven-year-old self), I decided to walk around for a bit more and just see what I came across. Because why not?

That quote speaks to me.

It wasn't long before I was sweaty again, so eventually I found my way to a subway station and was on my way back to the airport. And on this episode of It's Not An Adventure Unless Darci Injures Herself... I injured myself. How, you ask? By walking around in a city for about an hour in my most supportive shoes. Honestly, my feet are an absolute joke. I don't know if it was my old friend plantar fasciitis acting up again, but whatever it was, as soon as I got back to my apartment I froze a water bottle and spent the weekend rolling my foot on it. (Real talk: if you ever have pain in the arch of your foot, roll it on a frozen water bottle. It hurts, but it's heaven.)

So yeah, that was my trip to Chicago. I was there for roughly 24 hours and it was phenomenal and I got home and wondered if it had actually happened. But then I'd look at my autograph and have to walk with a limp, and was reminded that it was, in fact, real. :)

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