*Traveling for work.
Arrived in Chicago on Sunday afternoon for a conference that goes through the end of the day tomorrow. I fly home EARLY on Thursday morning.
My days are filled with Seminars at the big Convention Center. They're scheduled from 8am to 5:30pm. [I'm there as I write this, in fact. They had a 2 hr. 45 min. break between sessions for lunch. Why?! I'd rather have a shorter lunch break and get the hellouttahere earlier. Grrr...] Then I hop on a bus and head back to my hotel. It's lonely.
I'm not one of those people who likes Networking at these types of things. I'm here to learn from the Experts and, hopefully, bring some of that new knowledge back to my work and inform/energize what it is my team does. So I'm not making friends. I'm sitting alone, eating alone, etc. I rarely talk during the day unless it's to say thank you or excuse me to someone. That's right: Me. Not talking. For HOURS!! Can you even imagine it?!
Luckily I've gotten to connect with some old friends for dinner during the evenings, so I haven't been TOTALLY pitiful. Tonight, however, I'm dinner plans-free, which is fine. I can grab dinner at the Whole Foods that's (kind of) close to my hotel and eat in my room.
Coming to Chicago for work (which is the only reason I've come here in the 10 1/2 years since I moved away) always feels mighty strange. And it seems that the longer that I've been gone from here, the stranger it feels to come back. There are SO many things I love about this city: It's just epic and gorgeous and funky and energy-filled. But it takes me a while to feel comfortable--to get back in the Chicago groove--when I get here. I always forget how expensive it is here ($12 for a soup/salad bar? Sure!), the utter INSANITY of the cab drivers, and how buttoned down people are (I'm one of the few conference attendees in jeans). Plus, I always have to learn the bus/train routes over again and feel intimidated by the pace of everything. It never really felt like "home" when I lived here (one of the reasons I left), so I guess it shouldn't surprise me when I feel like such an outsider while visiting.
I want to bring The Geej here for a visit when she's a bit older--maybe 8 or 9r. There are SO many cool things for kiddos to do here, and I think she would just FREAK about the skyscrapers, subway and buses. It would be fun to see the city through her eyes, and I think it would blow her mind to think that her dorky old mom used to actually live here (even if it all feels very foreign to me).