As many of you know, spring break season is upon us and like many college students, I am doing my best to escape campus for the week. With that ambition in mind, Sam, Taycia, and I packed up the green KIA and made the 401 mile trek from Middlebrook Hall to Vivian’s house in Illinois. Our fearless leader and careful driver, Taycia, after a full day of classes drove the entire way down stopping only to go to McDonald’s and get gas. That is what I call dedication. After jamming for close to seven hours to SPRANG BREAK 2K16, we made it to Vivian’s adorable little house a little after midnight to spend the next two days in and around Chicago. We crammed as much into those two days as possible and it was the best possible way for us to start to Spring Break 2016.
We spent our first full day in Chicago wondering around various areas outside of Chicago. We got kind of a late start because of who we are as people. After a brunch made entirely of breakfast foods, we went to Vivian’s favorite place to get her nails done, where she is known by name. We all got our nails painted various pastels while listening to a soccer mom talk about her son and later trying to get the imitation down. Vivian lead us around Oakbrook and some suburban malls where we all got to explore a bunch of stores I had never even heard of, including Pirch where we never thought Taycia would leave. We ate dinner in Naperville later that night after everyone finished their homework and changed. Naperville is one of the cutest places I have ever been in my entire life, by the way. I would have pictures of all the lights in the trees but alas, every picture I took was bad. Oh well, a hundred bad ones for one good one. I’ll get better.
Our departure time for Saturday was 9:30 am, so naturally we left at 10:15 for Chinatown. Sam and I got to try Dim Sum for the first time at a restaurant called Phoenix. Vivian and Taycia guided us in choosing the right dumplings and supported me in my efforts to use chopsticks correctly. I had so much fun and I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience new things with some of my best friends. Chinatown itself was super cool too, even though I only got to see a little bit.
The weather was foggy and chilly so maybe it wasn’t exactly ideal for walking around, but that is exactly what we did. It was more than perfect for pictures so I won’t complain. After Vivian found us a parking spot, we took off to walk the Magnificent Mile, stopping several times before we reached the Water Tower for coffee. After we visited places like Dylan’s, Tiffany’s. Zara, and T.J. Maxx, we wandered over to Millennium Park to visit the famous Bean. We had to do at least one super touristy thing before we left and we only had half the day left. I, being the middle-aged photographer mom that I am, brought out the camera and took as many pictures as I could. All of which will be on my Instagram (@Exploringengler ) in about a week. They will thank me one day for my incessant photography.
We had a little bit of time before we had to make it to the restaurant for dinner, so the rest of the group let me have my fun and we all made the trek over to REI. Inspired by Cheryl Strayed and awed by the size of the building, I spent quite a bit of time walking up and down the stairs before I even started to look for what I came for. It does not take much for me to get distracted, especially in stores (looking at you Barnes and Noble). I finally found my chalk bag, a water bottle, and a hat, and also a clip, sticker, and a membership. What can I say? I was enthralled.
We ended the night Saturday by dancing to our playlist and eating lots of fruit, no better way to end the weekend. My weekend with these girls was more than I could ever ask for. A year ago, I didn’t even know this people and now I can’t imagine life without them, thank goodness we will live together next year. Vivian and her parents were such amazing hosts and we are so grateful for everything they did for us while we were staying with them.
Keep an eye out for Spring Break Part 2: Lost In Milwaukee.