Ohh, Betsy!

Every sweet tooth needs just a little hit September 16, 2009

Filed under: Travel — Anna @ 10:07 pm

Oh, Chicago. How I love Chicago. It hasn’t always been the best relationship though. When we first visited Chicago, I loved it but it was so busy and walking everywhere with a stroller was terrible. Not to mention the parking, the exorbitant parking. My second visit only lasted four or so hours so it was pretty good because I was only in and out in enough time to enjoy the SYTYCD tour. So the third time around I thought I had it all figured out but I was wrong. I loved the trip but it beat me up – I was exhausted and spent and unintentionally wasted time and money.

But last weekend, we finally did it. We parked easily. We got food before we lost our pleasant demeanor. It was well-planned and we did everything we wanted to do. First, a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago.  There was a special exhibit featuring art from Caldecott Award books. It was so fun for me since I am such a fan of children’s books and several of my favorites were on display.

Next we headed for dinner at the famous Giordano’s deep dish pizza. We had some pizza left over so we gave it to a nice homeless man outside. I have to say that really like the homeless people I’ve met in Chicago. He was so grateful for the pizza unlike the unlike the homeless people in Portland who cuss you out when you don’t give them a buck.  Anyway – we next headed to Millennium Park and Grant Park and it was just the most beautiful day.

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Finally, the moment arrived. THE MOMENT. It was the reason why Heather flew in from Salt Lake City and why Katie flew in from LA for the weekend. We reunited as U2 fans to see the first show in N. America. It was the opening night of the  U2 360 Tour at  Soldier Field. It was my fifth U2 concert. Brandon’s second. Add together Katie’s and Heather’s U2 concert attendance and I think it’s probably somewhere in the twenties. I feel like an amateur U2 fan when I’m around them but I love it because they are my U2 mentors.

Snow Patrol opened and they were fantastic. They were so happy to be playing to a huge stadium filled crowd. I love that we could see how happy they were to be there.

I get that some people don’t like U2. I get that some people hate U2. But I love U2 and I will always love U2. I will always love their shows. It absolutely blows my mind that I can still go to a show and it still leaves me in awe.  And there is nothing quite like the feeling of being at a concert with 65,000 fans who are enjoying the experience just like I am.

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Three Amigos August 12, 2009

Filed under: Good Times,Photography,Travel — Anna @ 7:38 am
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Spending the weekend with some old friends brought some good laughs and late-night conversation. And it was remarkably relaxing (apart from the fact that Chicago never fails to chew me up and spit me out). Three young kids running around an apartment does not usually equate relaxing.  But G and his two new buddies got along splendidly. So splendidly that they required little to no adult intervention supervision. They seldom quarreled, resolved their disputes internally and happily played games together. The friendship pact was sealed when  each partook of the smuggled Andes mints stolen from the pantry. Dare I say, they behaved better together than when apart?  Oh, content little friends they were.  If an outsider saw them playing, I doubt they would guess that this was their first meeting.  By all appearances, it was as if these three kids were old friends just as their parents were. Only (thankfully) the kid’s friendship began without the habit of exploding random items in microwaves, throwing flaming bowling balls down hills or other random acts of destruction that accompanied their fathers’ friendship throughout high school.

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The extra hour August 3, 2009

Filed under: Seriously now,Travel — Anna @ 8:49 am
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Living in Prague as a missionary was a dream.  It was emotionally and physically difficult but at the same time it was a dream.  Although others may argue, I believe that Prague is the most beautiful city in Europe.  And for six months, I was able to live and work there.  Granted, most of my work took place away from the center of the city where the most breathtaking sights were held, but the feeling that Prague brings -the beauty it brings to your soul- does not leave you.

One Sunday morning, my missionary companion and I rushed to the tram stop an hour before church began so that we could make the trek to our meeting house. Sundays were slow transportation days and if you didn’t catch the first tram, there was no hope of being on time.  We climbed on the first in a series of trams we would take to reach our destination.  As we plopped down in the empty car, I looked through my hazy eyes to see that the clock was an hour early.  No, we were an hour early.  We did not remember to change our clocks.  We somehow forgot that we could have had an extra hour of sleep which was very precious to the over-tired missionary.

We seemed to be of one mind when we discovered we had that extra hour.  Almost without any discussion, we stepped off the tram near Charles Bridge and took an hour-long walk through the city to our church building.  It was early in the morning, before any tourists were out and before any club mixes blared from stores.  As an added bonus, it was Sunday where most people were either sleeping in or hung over.  Times like this were rare in such a noisy metropolis.  The beauty of the city was only magnified by the calm that blanketed our surroundings. We walked across the bridge and the Vltava river.  We walked through Mala Strana and up to Prague Castle.  From there, we walked to our building.  We reached the same destination. The difference that Sunday morning was that we used the extra hour to walk and absorb our surroundings,  traveling on foot rather than sitting on a tram watching everything from the window.

Life doesn’t always work out on our timeline. We are anxious and we are impatient.  We are planners.  We are scheduled.  But sometimes, we are given an extra hour. An hour that isn’t missing, it’s a bonus.  So as I’ve grown ever-impatient in my life, I remember my extra hour in Prague and am reminded that the destination was the same, but I was all the happier for having walked a mile in a magical city.