First off, Joanna, you can't read this until you write you own version of the trip ... then we will see what we both remember or how we felt about the trip.
I had a blast. That pretty much sums it up, but I will do my best to describe why and some things that we did.
It was a completely different experience I have ever had. I have never been to a big city, no Chicago, no New York, no Boston, nothing, so that alone was pretty amazing to see. We headed out Friday afternoon and got there around 5pm their time (they are an hour behind if you didn't know that). We checked in and met up with Jared and his roommate. Their condo was AMAZING, I was not expecting it to be that nice or big. We hung out there to have a few drinks and plan the night ahead. His roommate decided not to come out with us (big mistake) but Andrew Ackerman met up with us and so the four of us headed out to Linkin Park via taxi. I had only been in one maybe two cabs in my life, so taking them every where we went was hard to get use to, especially getting use to how much it cost just to go a couple miles.
We started out at a bar/restaurant called State. It was really nice and had about 100 TVs all over the place and even personal TVs at each table that came up out of a little box. Joanna and I shared some nachos for our dinner, nothing special there, and had a few beers each. Brit, Jared's friend, met up with us there. Then we all piled into another cab and went to "home base" (a bar that Jared and his friend all call home base because they always end up there), hopefully Joanna can remember the bar's actual name. Apparently they go there because they have the cheapest beer prices, it was $2.50 for domestic bottles (boring). But no worries because I decided to make two new friends there who ended up buying me a couple rounds of Guinness for some reason even though I told them I didn't want them to. Joanna and Jared thought it was pretty funny that I talked to these guys for a couple hours about who knows what. Joanna found her new favorite shot, a pineapple upside down cake, and she took that shot every time someone would buy a round of random shots. I think I had about 5 or so shots, which if you know me, I don't do shots. We closed down that bar and were going to hop in a cab to close down a 4AM bar, but when we got outside and started to walk, one of us could barely walk anymore .... and no it wasn't joanna! It was Brit ... so Jared walked her home while Joanna and I took our own cab back to our hotel, which was the Sheraton, and went to bed.
The Sheraton was nice. The lobby and main area was very nice and big, but the rooms weren't anything fancy. The beds were VERY comfortable, I didn't really notice that until the next morning. But for $60/night, we really couldn't beat the quality.
The next day we could only sleep till 10AM. So we got up and got ready and met up with Joanna's cousin, Hannah. We went to Heaven on Seven which was a great choice. I found them before I even got to Chicago on Urban Spoon and heard they had a good breakfast and fun atmosphere. And they were definitely right. It had a mardi gras look and feel and had some delicious omelets. I had the sausage and cheese one which was served with cajun potatoes. But before we even ordered they brought us some amazing blueberry cornbread. It was a good start to the day. We then shopped around a little, but soon headed back for a nap.
After our nap we headed to Giordano's for some pizza. It was THE BEST pizza I ever had, no doubt. We split a small pizza and caesar salad which was plenty for the two of us. I did try the 312 Urban Wheat, which I was not a fan of, but I have never been a big fan of the Americanized Wheat beers ... if I am going to drink a wheat, I rather have a Belgian.
We then took a taxi over to Jared's place where he was having a hard time finding anyone to want to go out. We eventually just headed out with him and his roommate and headed up a to wriggly-ville (after finally getting to the first bar which was completely packed). The bar we ended up at tried very hard to be a club, so the music was VERY loud and lights flashing all over the place. It was pretty funny because there was no room to even move and definitely no room to dance, even though some people found a way to do it, train style hahaha. We stayed there till 2AM, but couldn't really get excited and in the mood to drink like we did the previous night. It was a combination of lack of people wanting to do anything and the fact that I hadn't drunk like that two nights in a row in a very long time. So we just headed back to our hotel and ordered some late night pizza and garlic bread from our hotel room. That definitely hit the spot and I got to watch a little bit of the Australian Open which was on at 2:30AM.
Then we just headed out the next morning to get home to see our kids.
It was such a weird feeling being out just the two of us. We had never been on a honeymoon or any trip just the two of us. So it was a lot of fun just being able to do what we wanted and being able to talk just the two of us. It was also very hard to be away from our kids, but we tried to put that past us so we could have a good time.
I don't see how anyone could live up there and spend money like that every weekend. It was definitely tough for me to spend that kind of money, but I tried to not think about it and just have a good time. It felt like we were gone for a week and we were only gone for 2 days. And when I got home, it felt very weird and I still felt like we were going to be hopping in a taxi and going somewhere that night. I am still in a little big of a fog about it and can't stop thinking about it. There is just so much to do and we barely did anything, it is tough to do much in a day up there. I do feel like I am closer to be able to spend money easier. Ever since I have been home I have been trying to think of things we could do around here or places we have not been to try out. I think I am half way to being able to spend money, but my head only lets me get so far and then I just say, probably not. It is hard to explain but I have been dealing with it ever since we got home and I am not sure what to do about it ... I am sure I will go back to being my frugal self shortly.
We definitely won't be going anywhere without our kids for awhile, but it was interesting to see what our lives would be like without kids. We both agreed that we much rather have the lives that we have and wouldn't trade them for anything. We aren't made for the bars and clubs, we are meant to be parents and just hangout with friends at home.
I did want to thank Jared for entertaining us while we were up there and showing us around, it was a lot of fun and it was cool to hang out with you since we barely ever get to. I also wanted to thank the Witte's for staying with the kids the whole weekend. Also, my mom and anyone else that went over to help out with the kids while we were gone.
And of course, thanks to Chung and Ivan! :D (that reminds me that I need to try some kung pao chicken)