Apr 25, 2016

Why We Went to Chicago: Lou and Diana's Fun Adventure

We have been home for two weeks now. Two weeks of the real world, after the most lovely vacation. Lou and I did something we never do. We went on a trip, just the two of us. No kids, no visiting family, just the two of us, in a beautiful city. How did we decide on Chicago, in April? Well here is our story.

About seven or so months ago, Lou and I saw that our favorite singer David Gilmour (lead singer/guitar player of Pink Floyd) was doing a North American tour. We decided that since he is getting older, only tours maybe every ten years, and since seeing him live has been on both of our bucket lists, we just had to act. Gilmour was only playing in four cities in his North America part of his tour. Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, and Chicago. I thought let's get tickets for one of his Los Angeles concerts, its closest to Boise, we could drive, it would be easy. Lou on the other hand said no I don't want to go California, we have been lots. If we are going to do this, let's really do this. Let's go to Chicago. We can visit your mission and see David Gilmour. So we did it. We bought tickets about a month later, so there was no backing out, no making excuses for why we couldn't go. We waited for over six months for our trip and our concert. I had a countdown on my phone. When Lou was traveling a lot to open their Washington store, or was in Twin Falls, I would send him an update of how many days left. We started out with 164 days when we actually starting counting down. It was so fun to see it get smaller and smaller. And then one day it was down to 1!

Our kind friends offered to watch Kira and Josh for us. How blessed we are to have friends like Lori and David, who we trust like family, and are so nice to even offer to watch the kids. We dropped the kids off to school early on a Tuesday (April 5) morning, and we were off. We chose to fly out of Salt Lake, instead of Boise, because we were able to save a lot of money. We drove the 4 1/2 or so hours to the airport. We got there in plenty of time for our flight. There was practically no line to go through security, we had no bags to check, so we were able to get checked in quickly. We shared some Cafe Rio before the flight and before we knew it, it was time to board. Crazy because our trips are always crazy. The people behind us brought a dog on the flight. I am highly allergic, we talked to the flight attendant, they moved us to the other side of our row and they moved the dog people a few rows back. Other than the dog, our flight was very uneventful, Lou slept, I talked a little to the lady sitting next to us, and read on my phone. We arrived in Chicago about 5:30. Just flying in, I felt like I was coming home. I felt some feelings I hadn't felt since my mission! We decided to take uber to our hotel. Our hotel was near the Magnificent Mile. We opted to be right in the city, so that we could walk everywhere (and we did!). Our uber driver was super nice, him and Lou had fun talking about outdoorsy stuff. It took about 40 minutes but we finally arrived to our hotel.

We checked into our room, it was pretty, very European looking. After checking in, we rested for just a bit while we decided where to eat. Eating was one of our favorite things we did while in Chicago. Getting recommendations from friends who use to live in Chicago, we had a list of places to check out. Our first night we went out to Lou Malnati's pizza. I don't know if it was because we were starving, tired from traveling, or what, but they had the best Caesar salad. The pizza was good too, but man was that a good salad.  After dinner we walked and walked and walked.  We love Chicago, there is so much to see, and the buildings are so beautiful.  We walked for hours. It was raining but our walk was lovely.  We loved walking, and talking, just enjoying each other.

The next morning, we relaxed, planned out our day and then began to walk again.  We walked and walked again.

 We ate lunch at a place called the Big Bowl. We shared Thai Hot Pepper Chicken Noodles. It was delicious. We walked along State Street. The kids gave us a challenge (like on Relative Race) to find a bakery and take a picture of us eating a dessert. We found this cute bakery. I got a truffle, Lou got a croissant, and we both enjoyed hot chocolate.

After our dessert we walked some more. (our trip was a lot of walking and eating). We walked along Lake Michigan and to Navy Pier. We then decided it was time to get close to the Auditorium Theater, where our concert was. We found a burger place, Epic Burger, a few blocks from the Theater to have dinner. I had the best strawberry shake there. So so good. I had to take a picture of it and send it it to the kids, it was that good. Finally it was time for our concert. We walked to the theater, we saw a crowd already there. After a short wait, we were allowed to go into the theater. Auditorium Theater is beautiful.

The atmosphere was incredible, there was excitement in the air. It was hard to believe we were actually there, waiting to hear David Gilmour. I loved just taking it all in. The background noises were really cool, they had birds chirping, talking, and other noises from their albums. The people behind us in our little box, were pretty chatty. Talking with them, helped pass the time. Then boom, the lights went out and the concert began. We were close enough that we could see David and his band members. We hardly paid attention to the screen, because we were so enthralled just watching David sing and play his guitar. Wow, was it a good concert. It was a 3 hour concert, he played for 2 1/2 hours. I can't even describe how perfect it was. My favorite songis High Hopes by Pink Floyd. Never in my life, did I ever imagine that I would hear my favorite singer, singing my favorite song, live. He did numbers from his new album and a lot of Pink Floyd. It was a great setlist. Lou and I hardly talked, even during the short intermission, we were just so mesmerized by it all.

After the concert, we walked back to our hotel, on cloud nine. We couldn't stop talking about the different songs, the lights, the lasers, and seeing everything live!

The next day, we wasted no time sleeping in, we walked to rent a car.  We rent a car to go out to my areas. In my mission, I was lucky enough to only be in two areas. My second area, is the area that I consider "my area". We went to that area first, as it is only less than 20 minutes from the city.  The first thing we did was visit the church in the area. We walked around the outside. I went to the door where we always entered. I tried opening it, and it was open! Luckily missionaries were waiting for a new member. We talked with the elders, and then walked around the church. I walked into the chapel, and sat down at the piano I played the piano for the different wards/branches that I served in. Putting my fingers on the keys brought back a flood of memories. I loved remembering things that I had forgotten.

We then drove out to my apartment in the area, Portillo's for lunch and apartments and parks where I met some of my favorite people. We also went to the mission office. It was fun to talk to the office missionaries and the mission president's wife.

We went to my first area, I couldn't remember where I lived or the name but it was fun to drive around where I had knocked doors, met people etc.

On our way back to the city, we went to a great Mexican restaurant on 26th street. I heard about 26th street a lot from the Elders in my mission, it was fun to finally see it. The restaurant was called Nuevo Leon. The food was so good, so authentic. We got sopes. They also brought us chips and salsa, meatballs and potatoes, and dessert all for free. Our waitress didn't speak any English, it was fun talking Spanish in a setting like that again.

That night, we pretty much just relaxed, we got dessert from the Shake Shack. TBH, it was the only disappointing food that we had. I just got a shake and it wasn't that great. Oh well.

The next day, we walked and walked again. We kind of stuck to the area around our hotel.  We went to a vertical mall (Water Tower's Place). It had so many cool stores. We had a lot of fun walking around it and window shopping. We walked to a place called Rockit for lunch. It was again, so delicious. The service was even better than the food. After lunch we went to Eataly, a fun store with Italian food, restaurants etc. Then we went back to the Water Tower's place, and Disney Store and got souvenirs for the kids. We dropped the souvenirs off at the hotel, ate dinner at Cantina Laredo, then walked to Millennium Park.

 It was then time to get an uber and get to the United Center for Gilmour's other concert.  We did a ride share, it turns out the guy we shared the ride with was also going to the concert. He flew in from Dallas by himself for the concert. He was a young kid only 20. He was fun to talk to. We got to the United Center. It was weird, thinking of all the Jazz/Bulls games I watched on TV over the years at the United Center. The disappointing losses in the Finals. But I decided to not focus on the losses, but think of the concert instead. The atmosphere was so different than the Auditorium Theater. The Auditorium Theater held maybe 3K people. The United Center had over 20 thousand people. It was pretty cool to see the differences between a small "intimate" setting compared to a sports arena. The concert was very cool. He added a song to the setlist without taking one away, so that was awesome. Again its hard to put into words just how amazing the concert was. We didn't want it to end, it was so good.

After the concert, it took a bit to get a ride with Uber but it was fun just waiting around the arena, listening to everyone talk about the concert, and fill the excitement.

The next day, it was time to go home. It was so very hard to leave Chicago. I didn't want to leave. This was the perfect trip. I loved going back to my mission, I loved going to the concerts, and I especially loved being with Louis. We decided that we need to go on a trip, once a year. Maybe not this big every year, but something, once a year.


Shortcake5 said...

So glad you wrote on your blog again. That is such a fun trip. Glad you could go visit your mission area. I bet touching those piano keys was like returning home in a way. :) Love you.

Lori Mullins said...

So glad you two had an amazing time. We had fun spoiling the kids! Love all of you and looking forward to you sending the kids to us each summer while you go on your trips. ;)