Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chicago Pictures

Here are some pictures are of cool old architecture (not sure if it counts as art deco) in Andersonville. Click on them for super-zoomed-in, detailed versions.

Chicago, I Love You

Chicago blew us away-- no windy pun intended. My mom, aunt, and I were there for a long weekend, getting back today. They participated in a twins study at the U of Chicago on Friday, and had invited me along. I now am a devoted fan of the city, and am most likely moving there, perhaps tomorrow. It was great.

On Friday, I was by myself while my mom and Steph were subjected to boring tests, interviews, and an MRI. After finally finding a place in the vicinity of our hotel where I could buy a CTA (public transport) pass, I went to Andersonville, which is on the Near North Side. I was starving by the time I got off the El after a 30-minute ride. The El was nice, but sort of scary because you are above the ground without being able to see the tracks beneath you. It was also very efficient; the CTA gets an A+ from me, considering that it's in the US. I loved that it was very straightforward, and I wasn't going to accidentally end up anywhere I didn't want to (last summer Olivia and I accidentally went to Brooklyn trying to get to Century 21). When I got down to street level, I walked as fast as possible through a really nice residential neighborhood to north Clark, the main drag in Andersonville. I ate breakfast at Ann Sather's, which I highly, highly recommend. It was basically my idea of heaven. I had a two cinnamon rolls, a wonderful omlette loaded with spinach and feta, and warm cinnamon apples. Oh, and a bottomless cup of coffee, thanks to my waitress. I drove Mutti and Steph crazy the rest of the weekend with my constant chatter about Ann Sather's.

After that, I went to a few stores, picked up some cool earrings and a scarf, and then got back on the El and went south a bit to Lakeview, a really nice neighborhood. There, I went to a few vintage shops, then went back into downtown. After catching my breath, I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which had a big photography exhibit on.We ate dinner at Cafe Iberico, which was recommended by my friend Kate. After some tapas, we were thoroughly exhausted.

The next day we shopped almost all day. That night, we ate at Papa Milano's, which is unfortunately being demolished next week. It was another great meal, full of fresh pasta. When we were walking back from the restaurant, we ran into Ja'net, who had helped us in the Macy's shoe department earlier. We started talking to her, but she was on her way to meet up with her husband, who just finished playing jazz piano at a restaurant. Instead of saying bye, we went along with her, and then ended up meeting her sister, LaVonne, as well. The ensuing conversations were full of laughter due to the effusiveness of the sisters. My favorite line was from LaVonne: "I can't drive, I don't got no license. The only thing I can do is drive men crazy."

I loved Chicago because nearly everyone was as friendly as Ja'net and LaVonne. Everybody says "hi" and smiles and talks to the people around them. It was refreshing, and it reflected some of the best of American personality, both in the city and in its residents. I'm so glad I was invited along on this trip, and I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back in da 'Burgh

I am back in Pittsburgh, or, to be more specific, Mt Lebanon, for the summer, and it's quite different. I feel that this can perhaps be summed up by one feeling: an odd sense of relief whenever I see Asian people. Going from U of T, which is either half Asian or just seems like it, to all-white Mt Lebanon, is a change. Naturally, then, I feel right at home when walking past the CMU campus.
I'm also on a campaign to become a supercool commuter cyclist since I'm not able to do the same in Toronto (the parents won't let me take my bike, but I don't really need it anyway). I have biked uptown (Mt Lebo) twice, gotten weird looks all the way, and loved it! Finally, my dreams of being a well-dressed girl on a bike who doesn't sweat have been realized.
I've found a job: selling Pittsburgh Post-Gazette subscriptions. It's not glamorous, as my dad was quick to remind me, but by looking at the commission chart, it seems like hard work can really equal hefty earnings. Perfect for the various trips to Ljubljana and Tunis I've been planning. I was in the PPG building the other day, and I couldn't help feeling like a true Pittsburgher because I'm working for them. The best part of the job, though, will be spending lots of time in the city. Pittsburgh's great, always vibrant, and I have often wished I spent more time downtown. Now, hopefully, I will be manning a kiosk in the Strip every Saturday morning! Note that I haven't started work yet, which has led to my overly-romanticized view.
I am going to Oakland, home of the universities, soon, and would like to take some pictures and post again.