Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Journey to Chicago

I am here!  It has a been a busy week, with a few trip-ups, but overall an interesting journey.

The adventure began Wednesday as I packed my car.  Everything had to be organized just right so that it could all fit.  My car was stuffed, with just enough room for my mom and me and a small bag of food, for car snacks.  We left in the early evening so that we could arrive midday Thursday.  We took turns napping and driving throughout the 19 hour trip.  After our first stop, mom was in the driver's seat.  I took a short nap and when I woke up we realized that we were back in Florida!  We had gone the wrong way and lost an hour of driving time.  It was bummer, but we turned around and got back on track.  I am not sure why my mom didn't realize we heading back to Florida, but at least we didn't go too far south. By the time the sun was rising the next day we were driving through the mountains of Tennessee and heading towards the hills of Kentucky.  

At a gas stop in Kentucky, my nine year old VW Passat began to make some funny noises.  My car was not in great condition, but I had never heard a sound like that.  I checked the oil, pumped some gas, and hoped for the best as we got back on the highway.  I took a 30 minute nap and woke up to my mom saying that the car wasn't accelerating.  The strange clicking noise started again and we looked for the closet exit.  As we pulled off the highway and headed toward the gas station, the car just shut off - the engine completely died.  Thank goodness we weren't in the middle of the highway, but we did have to push the car into the gas station.  Luckily a guy stopped his car to help us out.  After trying to start the car again with no luck, I called AAA to get some help.  A tow truck was scheduled to take us to a car shop within 45 minutes.  

While we were waiting for the truck we saw the Delivering Happiness Bus.  Mom was interested in what it was about so she checked out the website and saw that it was a tour for the Delivering Happiness book by Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh.  (The book is on her list to read, so she was pretty interested.)  We certainly need some happiness and before we knew it the driver, Steve, walked over to our car with two of the books for us.  

A good luck thumbs up for going to Chicago!
One of Zappos.com's distribution centers was just down the road and he was stopping by the gas station to grab a sub.  He was a super nice guy and tried to help us figure out what was going on with my car.  He invited us to check out the tour bus which was pretty cool.  It was like the busses you see on TV with little bunk beds, a lounge area in the back, a bar, and a big screen TV.  We sat in the air conditioned bus and had good conversation with Steve about the tour, the book, the company and other things.  Finally the tow truck arrived and we said our goodbyes to Steve and were off to the car shop.  
The shop began to look at my car as mom and I tried to figure out what would be our next step.  I was just going to sell my car in Chicago anyways so I didn't want to spend a ton of money getting it fixed and soon decided that it would just be best to rent a car and sell my old one somewhere nearby.
Back on the road.
The receptionist found us a place to rent a car one way, they offered to drive us to the airport to pick it up, they helped us moved all of my stuff out of my car and into another car, and the owner bought my car from me right there!  The people we met in Kentucky were so friendly and helpful, it was almost unbelievable.  I am so thankful for all of their help.  After a few hours we were in a new car and back on the road to Chicago.  As we passed through Indiana we got to see a huge field full of windmills.  There must have been hundreds of them - it was neat to see.  
We pulled up to my apartment around 8 PM.  With the help of my roommate Kristin, we unloaded the car and got all of my things up the steep, curvy, four flights of stairs.  After dropping the car off at the airport we picked up some deep dish pizza and finally got back to the apartment around 11 PM.  Mom and I were exhausted and just ready to get to sleep after being up for two days.  We quickly made my bed and passed out.  The next morning I think we both woke up in the exact same positions that we fell asleep in.  

The next day we got some some grocery shopping done.  One great thing about living in Chicago is being able to shop at Trader Joe's.  Now I get to have lots of wonderful Trader Joe's goods in my apartment!  We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and organizing my room and the kitchen.  
Later that evening the three of us, Kristin, my mom, and I headed out to Bucktown for a tasty dinner.  Even though it was a cold night, we hit up iCream for a frozen creation.  This place was awesome!  We got to choose what kind of ice cream or frozen yogurt we wanted any flavors or mixins.  Everything is mixed together in liquid form and poured into Kitchen Aid mixers.  Then it is mixed and frozen with liquid nitrogen, which was pretty cool (literally!).  Super fresh, amazingly delicious ice cream was made.  I enjoyed white chocolate ice cream with strawberries and chocolate chips.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was!  

 From this to that
Saturday we went on a bike tour.  It was a cold and windy morning for a bike ride.  We each got big comfy bikes with a helmet.  Mom and I volunteered to be the caboose, which was not really the best spot because we got stuck behind the slow pokes, but it was a interesting tour.  We got to explore some different areas of the city.  
It was a rainy day so we didn't stay out much longer and soon it was time to take my mom to the airport.  It was really hard to say goodbye to her.  We have always had a good relationship, but we have become so much closer since I moved home last year.  After lots of tears, I had to force myself to say goodbye for now and walk away.  I am really going to miss seeing her everyday, just to talk to and hang out with.  

So, to say the least, I have had quite the adventure already.  I am still trying to figure everything out, unpack, get organized, and get used to my new place.  Although I am nervous about being on my own, I have hope that good things are to come!