There are some folks who fall in love with New York City the first time they visit–they decide that whatever it requires, they will find some way to move there and live their best life/work in publishing. I’ve never felt that way about New York: every time I’ve visited, I’ve found it to be overwhelming, and expensive, and cold. Instead, I think I feel those feelings (or the closest I’m ever going to get to them) about Chicago–every single time I’ve visited, I’ve been enchanted by it.
It is also overwhelming, expensive, and cold, but in a way that apparently speaks to me. Perhaps it’s just my love of deep dish pizza.
So, when I wound up with a few days of vacation time that I needed to burn, I flew out to Chicago for a combination family visit/tour of the city. It was ridiculously, stupidly, photoshopped-this-onto-a-postcard delightful (if you don’t believe me, check the photo above), and that’s even with it snowing on the first day.
Y’all, Chicago’s main public library is the biggest in the world. On Saturdays, their hackerspace (which they have in the library) hosts a come one, come all free 3D printer time. It was like all of my geek dreams come true, and I hadn’t even planned to visit it–I just wandered in on the assumption that any building with gargoyles on it would be interesting.
But the real reason I was there was to check out the Field Museum. Part of why I love traveling alone is that it gives me as much time as I’d like to check out the weirder collections of natural history museums. I understand that not everyone wants to take a stroll through the hall of Asian birds for 3 hours, photographing the weirdest ones. We all have our hobbies. That’d be mine.
The Field did not disappoint. I snapped photos of my beloved (bedraggled) aye aye, a freaky tree beaver, and whatever the hell is happening with this turkey. It turns out that no matter how many parents are in the middle of taking their kids to see Sue the t-rex or walking through the hall of human evolution, the exhibit of galagos and civets posed half-heartedly on tree branches is going to be pretty much empty. It was wonderful.
I don’t know if I’ll ever move to Chicago, but the trip did make it seem appealing. Of course that’s the nature of vacation in general. Though Atlanta isn’t a city with quite the resources of Chicago or New York, there’s plenty of interesting stuff happening here that I’m just not aware of or don’t go to, for exciting reasons like “it’s far away” and “I’m sleepy.”
The week away was good, and I’m ready to face work again with lowered blood pressure and a renewed focus. That said, if anyone ever offers me the chance to Basil E. Frankweiler up in the Field’s collections, after this week I would take it in a heartbeat.