Three weeks into my Chicago adventures and I’m starting to call myself a native. I’ve got the bus system down, can successfully navigate the L train and I’m even an expert cab hailer! Fred would be proud. I’m still learning bits and pieces about city life along the way though. For example grocery shopping. You have to BUY grocery bags… they aren’t free. I was curious every time I went shopping why the cashier would always ask, “Do you want bags?” Um, yeah of course I do, look at all the stuff I just bought lady. I soon found out they were seven cents a bag...ridiculous. I use to judge all the people who brought their own bags to the grocery store, (no offense if that's you) not that I have anything against recycling or anything. Recycling is great! #TeamEarth. But a little paper or plastic never hurt anyone. Anyways… after this new information I gathered and I stopped being stubborn, I finally caved. I bought the bag y’all. Trader Joe's brand baby! And I’m not going to lie, I kinda like it. Even makes me feel trendy and I'm not trendy..
I’m all squared away in my new apartment now too! It’s pretty sweet. Right in the heart of Lincoln Park, five minute walk to the Lincoln Park Zoo and a ten minute walk to the beach! Prime location. I rented a bike the other day and rode to the beach to check it out for the first time. It’s still hard to believe Lake Michigan is in fact a lake… I mean the water is clear? The bottom is sandy? I didn't even see one fish! I'm fishaphobic for those who don't know by the way. I’m used to the green murky waters of Kentucky lakes and rivers where the muddy bottoms squish between your toes (sorry for the visual) and you have to be on the look out for jumping Asian carp. If you don't know what Asian carp are, please refer below. So yes, Lake Michigan is quite the upgrade!
Chicago has “Divy bikes” you can rent and take all over the city. I once again (like my grocery bag purchase) felt like a loser doing this solo, but I figured why not. I took this thing for a spin one afternoon and it was a blast! I don’t trust the drivers of Chicago so I rode safely on the side walk until I looked down and saw the clear instructions...“Don't Ride on Sidewalks”.
Does Divy Inc. want me to die? I mean these drivers are nuts, I’m not taking that risk. The pedestrians on the sidewalks will just have to make way for me I guess, I'll toot the horn if I have to, because I proceeded to ride on the sidewalk and will continue to do so in the future @Divy.
I’ve made some cool friends in the Chi so far and some not so cool. One not so cool, is my new friend Richard. Richard is the big rat that lives in the alley outside my backdoor. I was blessed to meet Richard day 1 when I was making trips to the community laundry room at my apartment complex. He scurried right in front of me to underneath the community garbage bins which unfortunately reside right outside my apartment...I almost lost my s**t. Richard loves the garbage bins but I don't love Richard. We're cordial however. Ole Richard and I have a system down now though. Any time I need to make a trip to the laundry room (which are now strategically planned for day time hours), I usually look left, look right, whistle and call out "Hereeee Richy Richy", then he typically scurries by and I make a run for it. Never knew doing laundry could give you such an adrenaline rush.
Work hasn't been too bad either I must say. As part of my internship, I'm helping out with a project called Walk on America. Brennan Besser, a Duke Men's Basketball player, is biking across the country in honor of his sister Jacqueline to raise money for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) community. He's making stops in cities from Seattle to NYC, biking over 50 miles a day and doing basketball clinics and community engagement events with special needs organizations along the way. All this to help raise money and awareness for the IDD community - pretty awesome stuff! Part of my job has been helping plan events in each city, reaching out to organizations, Duke Alumni, etc., to help raise awareness and money for the cause! It's a good feeling to help contribute to a greater cause and it's had some pretty cool perks come along with it. The WOA squad made it to Milwaukee last week so the WOA (office) squad went up there to meet them and see all of our planning put to action.
John Clarke, former Duke WBB manager MVP, Gatorade distributor extraordinaire, and undoubtedly the best rebounder this side of the Mississippi is also apart of the WOA team. It was great to see him helping Brennan run the clinic and of course we had to get up some shots afterwards for old times sake.
It was so awesome to see the smiles on the kids faces participating in the basketball clinic! After the clinic Brennan threw the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers game, so I had no choice but to snag a hotdog.
Friday Brennan and the squad reached Chicago (his hometown) and we had a "welcome home" fundraising party for the WOA team. The party was held on the 22nd floor of a high rise condo in the Gold Coast area of Chicago... not too shabby. I mean there was a putt putt course on the balcony...
I was a "donation girl" along with my two other intern buddies, doing my best to mingle with all the high rollers. I will say, I was an all-star donation girl because we ended up raising a good chunk of change for the IDD community! It was a really cool experience and awesome to see how willing people were to contribute to supporting the cause.
I ended up leaving the party early because I had to go check out the Mystics, since they were in town to play the Chicago Sky. They got the W of course. It was good to see them in action because I've been missing the game a lot these days! Just more motivation to keep grinding in rehab!
To cap off the weekend I went to a country concert called Lake Shake. I feel that it's an obligation I go to a country concert if there is one in Chicago. My voice is still gone from screaming for Billy Currington and Dierks Bentley. I'm still upset Shania Twain didn't make a guest appearance with Billy to sing "Party for Two", but I'll live. If you know, you know. The concert was still a blast and I was truly in my element. Any time I have an excuse to wear my cowboy boots, I'm all about it. My buddy Haley Gorecki was in town, so we had no choice but to go. For some reason she thought it was okay to match me. Can't blame her.
Chitown has been a blast but I'm happy to be heading back to KY here pretty soon for the 4th of July. I'm having some serious withdrawals from the KY lifestyle and can't wait to be reunited with the fam, my friends, home cooking, my jet skis, lake life, etc. Just hopefully no Asian carp...