by Lynn Kim Do

love letter to chicago

I could sit here and tell you what to do, where to go, what to eat, or where to shop in Chicago. But this post will not do that. I will not be doing that.

Because that’s not how I operated in Chicago. I’m as type A as it gets. I have itineraries down like it’s my job. Lists made like it’s the only thing I’m good at. I have dinner plans reserved. Tickets booked. Museums googled, tracked, and virtually stalked. I am THAT person. But I was tired. Traveling every month is fun if it’s not taken so seriously, which is exactly what I have been doing. Chicago was my break.

We did whatever we felt like doing in each and every moment. Relying solely on one another and the question, “What do you wanna do now?” The first night we landed, we walked into a speakeasy and took Malort shots. And instantly regretted it. We ordered Chinese food and had it delivered to Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar. And then shared it with everyone around us including the bartender. I asked the Korean bar-owner to adopt me, which she followed up with, “Do you have a mother?” We wore zero makeup for most of the trip. 40% because we didn’t give a shit. 60% because it would probably melt off anyway in the heat wave anyway. And we almost died 5 times in Chicago. Twice in an uber. Three times on a bike. Because we thought that biking on major streets in 90 degrees weather would be a really good idea. It was. For the amount of food we consumed. It is also probably the only vacation I ever LOST weight in. We found pleasant and life-shattering surprises at Tanta in their Peruvian fusion. Like their steak sushi (Yes, I said sushi). We found comfort and salvage at Quartino Ristorante at 9:30pm. And were just as amused with their bathroom soap as their food. And we did what we had to at Giordano’s and decided that we weren’t deep dish people. At all. We went to the tippy top of a hotel disguised as an athletic oasis and saw the sun set over the Millennium Park. Peeping the very tiny Bean over the edge of the roof, I chugged my rose while she threw down her popsicle just so we can run down to get a sight of it in person. And boy, did it meet all the hype our past Tinder dates couldn’t. It warped the skyline, the buildings, the people, into better versions of each. We sat on ferries and laughed at bad jokes just to get some 411 on the best architecture in the world. And had face filled with bridge dirt as souvenirs. We saw Takashi Murakami’s cynical heart all over his work. And fell in love with him even more. And we took sad attempts of naps every day. In fact, we watched Master Of None, season 2 instead. Oh, and I left my phone in an uber. But he came back 5 minutes later with my phone held in the fingers of his newest passenger dangling right out the window. It was awesome.

And my friend? Let’s just say we sat on a rolling luggage cart at an abandoned airport at 2:30am together on the last night. Being up for almost 24 hours and counting. And we cuddled. So yeah, I love her.

So if not Chicago but hopefully, it will be Chicago, I insist that you take a little faith in the possibilities around you. And don’t plan. Don’t worry. Just do whatever the fuck you want. I certainly enjoyed it.

Visuals by me.