My humblest apologies for not writing sooner. However, I spent many hours battling the beast of Chicagoland traffic over the weekend, popped in and out of two time zones, and had a brief stay with my parents.
In the spirit of my adventure, here are five interesting things that happened to me over the weekend:
1. I rocked the suburbs! My old roommate from college has a penchant for knowing what I truly enjoy. She took me to a spot called the Brauerhouse in Lombard. A punk/rockabilly joint nestled in a strip mall, it was awesome. The walls were covered with punk show posters and stickers. I managed to find two different roller derby leagues represented (the Windy City Rollers and the Aurora 88s). The menu included pesto/parmesan fries with balsamic vinegar. I also sampled the Ciderboys’ Peach County. During the week, they host “Risque Bingo,” shows, and Midget Wrestling.
2. Then, there was the spa. The King Spa is apparently one of two Korean spas operating in the United States. On the outside, it resembled a temple–giant stone lion statues adorned the sides of the doors. We walked in and took our shoes off. Upon entry to the women’s locker room, I quickly learned it was “come as you are,” in the sense that you could choose from three hot tubs, a cold tub, and a steam room.
Once we had basked in the different hot tubs and showered twice to prevent human germ warfare, we put on our uniforms and proceeded to the open area. Clad in a pink t-shirt and shorts, everyone wears the same type of clothing to experience several different steam rooms, a cafeteria, a massage area, a common area, a movie theatre, and a nap room! The different steam rooms were surrounded by elaborate amethyst sculptures with price tags into the five figures.
People from all walks of life walked around the mini-campus, entering the different rooms and lapsing into silence to relax and meditate. Okay, I actually fell asleep twice. I also burned the back of my heel on the floor of one of the more heated rooms.
Side note: this particular adventure included watching my old roomie chow down on octopus tentacles.
3. On to Hawaii – In a continuing quest through the south Pacific, we went from Korea to Hawaii (aka Niles, IL to River Grove, IL) to visit Hala Kahiki. The drink menu was longer than some books I’ve read and many of the beverages were lit on fire prior to being served. We opted for some run drink served in a giant bowl with long straws reminiscent of Pixie Sticks. The decor was akin to an Elvis movie in the 1960s/Easter Island. The bar itself was a maze of buildings that has been added onto since its opening in 1964.
4. Sunday Booze: It is indeed the little things. In this case, going to purchase alcohol on a sunny Sunday morning. It is a rare treat as a resident of Indiana, home to the only Sunday alcohol sale ban in the country. As the cashier at Binny’s Beverage Depot in Glen Ellyn asked for my identification, I gleefully handed it to her and proudly pointed to its state of origin. She smiled back and said she knew why I was excited (it wasn’t just because I’d found Ace Pineapple Cider).
5. Suck It, High School Gym Class: My folks were the final stop of my whirlwind weekend. After dinner, I decided to go for a run. It steadies my nerves and calms me down, something I very much needed after what seemed like an endless amount of time sitting in traffic.
I decided to go see if the field at my alma mater, Elkhart Memorial High School, was open. While it wasn’t, the school is surrounded by sidewalks and side streets.
As I sprinted behind the gym, I thought back to when we were told to run a mile in gym class. I was so winded and tired and wanted to vomit. Instead, I ran at a near 10-minute pace per mile and didn’t feel nauseous.
Sure, all these snippets sound a little mundane. But, they are part of the simple joy of living. Perhaps we sometimes forget just how short our lives truly are.