Saturday, 10 March 2018

Winter in Chicago

There are pros and cons to visiting Chicago in the winter. Pros: not as many tourists. Cons: unfavourable temperatures and lack of outdoor activities. As a full-time grad student, I don't have the luxury of travelling whenever I like, although that is where I want to be in life. I got here just before Christmas, and after a night of too much alcohol and escapades that involved paramedics and cops (that I dare not speak of) I took to the town with a train pass, leftover student-job income, and my camera.

View from the SkyDeck

Ah, winter! You have held my interest for years but we never met. Some sort of unrequited love story that is borderline unhealthy, and for good reason! As much as I loved going out in the freezing cold and having my face stung by the biting breeze, I did love the warmth of indoors a bit too much and needed a push to leave home every day. But I did. And sightsee, I did.

It isn't by choice that I'm drawn to all things luxurious and expensive. Unfortunately, these are things a student budget cannot afford. I was a cliche instead. Strolling through millennium park on a cold winter day, camera in hand, bundled up to the point where I was a shapeless distant relative of the Pillsbury dough boy. I was your average, tasteless tourist. That perception of myself is something that I detested but I secretly loved the places I saw and the photography opportunities that presented themselves to me.

Nothing gets my blood flowing more than art and museums. Although I'm too lazy to pick up a brush and paint on my free days, I have ideas in my head that never make it to paper. Seeing works created by other people always inspire me to do more, in that moment. Sadly, the moment is always fleeting. The architecture always makes for good pictures, and despite where I am, New York, Chicago, or the world, I am always ready to snap away at a grand staircase, intricate carving, or domed stained glass ceiling.

This picture also commemorates one of the few times my brother came out with me. Usually, it was me, by my lonesome, exploring Chicago.

New Year's was uneventful for the alcoholic in me. I fell asleep before midnight, woke up a couple of minutes after. Most places were closed the day after. One exception was the Oriental Museum. Is it worth seeing? Not particularly. It's a badly planned encyclopaedia as an endless exhibit.

One I would recommend is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Three floors or installations and exhibits all begin with a large dinosaur skeleton at the entrance. I was more entranced by the lantern room. Of course, I'd seek out the only part of the museum that isn't an actual installation. There's proof that I did more but I'll save that for a post in itself because I cannot filter through my many many pictures.

Nothing would truly make me feel like I was on top of the world unless I saw it for myself. Literally. And there was a soundtrack to it. It took a 90 minute wait time and 20 long minutes in the elevator to get to the top of the SkyDeck. Then, I was truly on top of the world.

I write this a few weeks into reality. New York has become my constant love again but I will say this about Chicago: I loved it, but I wouldn't live there. Make whatever you want of that. More to come from my time in Chicago!

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