My Summer Diary
Blog :Somewhere I Belong... the path to finding me
Date: 9/28/2011 8:46:15 PM
[This post has been in the making for over 2 months so I'm certain to have missed things, but this is as close as to complete it will ever get, so I'm going to make do ]
This is the life. Perfect for someone who has just graduated, has a well paid job that allows you to indulge, and lives in a spectacular city.
My beautiful city on a lovely summer evening as seen from Navy Pier
Last summer though I had summer classes I lived in the suburbs and commuted to the city every day, for school and work. It didn’t give me much time to explore and enjoy myself. The break that I took was fantastic – we did our West Coast history trip then – but I missed the best of Chicago due to my not living downtown. This year, I resolved not to. I knew I’d be in the city, so I made plans, scouring every newspaper and website that gave me good information about the happenings in this city that I have grown to love.
The Taste of Chicago was one of the first things I went to. I went back twice in the week with different groups of friends. Once to watch a ‘Broadway in Chicago’ concert, and the other just to engorge on the food. Chicago style, of course. Actually, I think I went to Taste of Randolph first…. yes, yes I did. ToR did happen first.
That out of the way, I began attending select concerts at Millennium Park and Grant Park, all part of their free summer concert series. I watched Jazz Gospel performance, the Chicago Youth Symphony
Music in the Park - Millenium Park
Orchestra, Rasputina with great enthusiasm, and made sure I went to most of the other classical performances as well. Fun times, because the Great Lawn would be open, and we’d have our own little picnic there. Didn’t go to the Lollapalooza, because I wasn’t very fond of the lineup, but I did watch them (recorded) later. I know it doesn’t count, but honestly, that’s not my music scene. I must mention the Soul Train 40th Anniversary concert, a marvelous gathering of people of all ages, dancing and relishing the simple and powerful music. My friend and I left early, due to the abumndance of smoke issued by people smoking cigars, cigarettes, and weed (yes, weed… in public. Stupidity!), but it was one of those things that happened in the city that I was there for!
I spent a good deal of time exploring the eating scene in the city. A new restaurant every week. Either lunch or dinner. Sushi on Fridays became a routine for a month, when we decided we needed to exercise control.
The Chicago Air and Water Show was the next thing on my list. However, I did not expect to be able to watch it from the comfort of my bed!! I awoke on the first day to the sounds of, what I assumed to be in my groggy sleep-ridden state, supersonic jets attacking the city. The sky was clear, some dark-ish clouds hung in the far east-end threateningly, and the lake was a beautiful blue, and there, right in front of me were the US Air Force Thunderbird jets whizzing around, forming intricate designs in the air at breathless speeds! It was spectacular!!
The Ravinia Music Festival
And then, the one thing I had been looking forward to the whole of the summer – the Ravinia Music Festival! Why was I so excited? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was going to play the score of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at Ravinia Park. This would make complete sense to someone who loves LOTR and music – and Peter Jackson’s take on LOTR, actually. With me? I was determined to be in the front row – or close to at least – and was totally up for paying for the reserved seating. I would not have settled for anything less. I coerced a friend into accompanying me so I wouldn’t have to travel alone, and thankfully he is as much a music lover (probably more) as I and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was in awe of the performance, complete with a brilliant choir and sopranos/lead singers. It was one heck of a journey; the movie was shown on a tall
The Lord of the Rings at Ravinia
screen above the orchestra and choir, and for three hours they enthralled us. People were clapping, and cheering, and giving the performance due respect at the perfect times. There were cheers when the Fellowship formed, and when Gandalf escaped, and pin drop silence when the Balrog took Gandalf into the depths of Moria with it, and Boromir breathed his last. It was absolutely heart warming and wrenching (in their turns). The performance ended at midnight, and though I got home well after 1am, I wasn’t tired, I was just overwhelmed.
Chicago White Sox vs Detroit Tigers - social event from work
And then there was the White Sox game that I went to from work! It was supposed to be a manager-new employee thing, and I was delighted to be back in the South Side for it. The White Sox were playing the Tigers. We got to watch it from the comfort of a private suite, with a classy tailgating type lunch and drinks. Half a day off work, bonding with other new hires and interns, and our managers. It was my first baseball game and I was glad they won, even if by a small margin! Now all that remains for me is to go watch the Bears and the Cubs. Oh, and Chicago Fire, although I’m not sure I want to do that.
Summer was still bright and running in August. Taste of Greece was next on the list. A quaint gathering of restaurants, with piles of delicious looking Greek salads, gyros and sweets. My friend, who is a proud Turk, walked us through the dishes, exclaiming at most times – “That’s not Greek, it’s Turkish!” much to our amusement
Labor Day weekend was upon us too soon, and a visit to Starved Rock State Park on a beautiful Sunday, when the breeze was calm and cool, the skies clear, and the trees greener than ever, signalled another bonding session between my truly international gang of friends. 6 of us, 5 nationalities, on a 6+ mile hike, bickering and talking all the way, relishing nature and company… I slept for more than 12 hours the next day, but who cared!
I must mention here that I got involved in two book clubs over the summer as well. One, the Chicago Book Club, a large one with a good selection of contemporary novels, and the other, a more private gathering of 4 English classics obsessed girls. Yes, we drool over all the Mr. Darcys, Mr. Thorntons, Mr. Rochesters, Lord Wimseys… it’s fun Keeping with my Jane Austen obsession, I jumped at the chance to watch Persuasion – a musical!! Imagine that! Someone who loves Miss Austen’s books as much as I do will understand the skepticism with which I went to the theater, but I was impressed by the adaptation. Didn’t like the lady who played Anne Elliot so much – mainly because her singing voice wasn’t so very nice, and her accent was terribly distorted, it was near impossible to understand her!
I think I’ve grown to love the city more this summer. It was absolutely delightful! I managed to go to the beach once, in all this time – did go out for the 4th fireworks at Navy Pier, and managed to watch some of the summer fireworks from my 60th floor sun-deck \m/ – but that was all my contact with water was. For someone who loves swimming, it’s depressing.
I’ve been cooking a lot too. Summer does that to you, I think. I’ve also been trying out different restaurants and cuisines. I live in a place that commands the presence of absolutely everything! It’s fantastic! I guess it helps that I’m also earning a decent salary, and so I can be as independent as possible and enjoy it to my fullest extent! Fun!
As fall descends upon us now, with the sudden drop in temperature (almost 20 degrees overnight – belive it), I feel myself withdrawing into the safe, warm cocoon of my well established apartment. There’s so much more to come, and I’m just falling more and more in love with this city
Filed under: Espresso - Black Cream and Sugar Tagged: baseball, chicago, Chicago summer, millenium park, music festival, Ravinia, sox vs tigers, starved rock state park, summer 2011