I fell in love with Chicago downtown as soon as I saw the skyline from the interstate highway many miles away. It was a good change from the plain horizontal view of Saint Louis to the populous land of the skyscrapers. My neck was titled upwards all the time as I laid my eyes on the beautiful old and new buildings – all compactly crushed together.
The plan was to explore the city (most parts, if not all) by foot. We started off by visiting the sky deck at Sears towers after crossing the millennium park and cloud gate sculpture – walking past many sidewalk stores and cafés. What a spectacular view of the city from the 103rd floor it was! This was followed by lunch at Giordano’s where we had the famous Chicago deep dish pizza. We then walked on the bridge to the art museum, recalling scenes from the dark knight as visible from different locations!
Walking alongside lake Michigan made me want to own a boat one day (new addition to the #bucketlist!). Went up on a Ferris wheel after ages and also finally got to eat the famous Ben & Jerry’s ‘Americone Dream’ ice-cream at Navy Pier. Finally, we made our way to Devon street which has been settled by many immigrant groups, majority being Pakistanis and Indians (the streets are named as Jinnah street and Gandhi street). All the walking was exhausting, but was worth it (and was really fun). Chicago is a huge city and has it’s own life going (like any other big city of the world). I had missed the crowd and all the hurry staying in SL for a week, so it was a good change. Missed out on a couple of other attractions like the John Hancock center, etc, but it’s not like the last time that I’ll be visiting the place in my life – that’s for sure! Plus, just the view of the city lights at night makes it totally worth it.
There is so much more to say and show about my experience, but I am running out of time with a jam-packed schedule. I other news, this week’s going to be my ‘Monsanto week’. Also, I have finally started to transfer the photographs and upload them on my photoblog slowly here.
It has been six days since I’ve been in St.Louis, MO. The journey was long and a little bit boring – something that I’d expected. The whole time I was either sleeping, eating or watching movies & television series. The flight from Bangalore to Paris was more comfortable and the food was pretty ok too. (The flight crew were younger and looked like movie stars…he he he). The best part about the first leg of the journey was landing in Paris. Though I didn’t get to see the Eiffel tower from air, the green and yellow fields from 10,000 feet high made up for it! After a short bus, a shuttle and a number of security check-ins, I made it to terminal 2E for the next flight departure. An old french man sat next to me in the second flight – all he did was read a fat french book and consume alcohol. Delta airlines has a rather boring old crew. The “special” (read vegetarian) meal tasted like prison food (not like I know how prison food tastes like, but yeah). I watched 3 movies in this flight (Eat, Pray, Love is by far THE most boring movie I have ever seen). Landing in Minneapolis was difficult due to a lot of turbulence (it was like a really bad scary ride).
The best part about the whole journey was the immigration before entering the land of the United States. I was warned beforehand to be prepared with the questions and answers and everything. The computer konked up during my interview so we had to wait for a while till it got fixed. During this time, the officer asked me if arranged marriages still prevailed in India. I was like “WTF, is this really happening?” – in my head. I told him how major part of India had moved on but some parts still stuck on to some traditions, etc and that now it all depended on people, place, etc. Then, after a couple of questions about my purpose of visit, duration of stay, etc and clearing customs, I had to literally run towards the domestic terminal to catch the next short flight to St.Louis (3rd flight of the day, ugh! – TIRING).
My sister’s and BIL’s apartment (where I’m currently staying) is lovely. Lot of birds (especially the beautiful cardinals) and rabbits outside in the gardens. I also really like how long the days are (sunrise at 5am and sunset at 8:30pm). We visited a couple of malls- I loved Barnes and Noble, FOSSIL, found star bucks nice but overrated, played softball and tennis, have taken not many – but a decent number of images (which needs to be uploaded soon – god knows when) and a lot of other little details that needs another post altogether.
I will be leaving for the airport in a couple of hours. The packing’s done and the nerves are setting in. It is the first time that I’ll be going out of the country and travelling alone. I have traveled alone in India before though – from Chennai to Bangalore by train and Delhi to Bangalore by air. Both the experiences have been exhilarating. This time however, there is a weird inexplicable feeling that’s setting in even after having read the instructions and everything twice. I will be in 3 different flights in the next 24 hours! This is going to be one heck of an experience. I have always wanted to travel alone to far off distances (like in the dreams).
One can gain so much by travelling it alone sometimes. Just the other day, a friend mentioned that travelling alone is ‘boring’ and ‘least enjoyable’. I don’t think that’s true always. I see it as something of a personal upliftment. You can make out how efficient you are on when on your own. Even though there are chances that I may do something wrong, I know how well I can do in those situations. I do not have to depend on anybody and can take decisions for myself. The kind of thoughts that runs through the mind are different and most of the times- enlightening. One can learn so much about oneself. It’s such a different experience.
That’s pretty much about it for now. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel tower while landing at Paris and reach the other side of the world safely. Oh ruh vwar!
I feel strongly about education. Sometimes, for no apparent reason. The thing is, I have never really had any “academic dreams” in my life from the beginning. Everything that I have studied so far has happened by chance. I was never desperate to get a particular stream or college, even. It all “just happened” and I went with the flow. I always remember what my mom used to tell me – “Be thankful for whatever you get to do in life, and give your best in that”. So basically, I start liking a particular topic/subject of my course and proceed in that direction. I’ve come to like many things in this process and have always tried to learn more about them outside the mainstream education.
I have also realized something about myself – I will never feel tired or bored of my mainstream life because I always have other things to do on the side that makes me tremendously happy and lightens up everything. It’s like my life right now. While all my peers are interning at different places and taking up extra credits in college, I am here dreaming about all the travelling that is going to happen in the next 6 weeks. One can always work and study, but nothing beats an experience like this. Also, I have 2 years to go. So I’m just going to go wherever life takes me and not regret it one bit.