Mom and Dad visited Chicago this weekend. Their trip was filled with uncanny similarities to their visit to Krakow/Prague three years ago when I was living between Poland, Rome, Kenya and the trains and couches of Eastern Europe.
Beyond the Euro similarities of my father taking a mob taxi, all of us eating kielbasa, pierogis and drinking Zywiec, we also spent the first night drinking gin and dancing to a big band at the Green Mill, my favorite prohibition-era jazz club that’s a few blocks around my corner.
I love the Green Mill–the music is fabulous and the decor takes me back. Folks get sloshed and you can dance with whoever you want after midnight or so. You lose yourself in another time. Zinger was like this too–my favorite old bar in the Kazimierz district of Krakow. My parents got a visit there, too.
Recently I had to come to terms that it wasn’t going to be practical to return to Rome with Molly, or Poland with Artur this summer. I’m saddened by it, because I feel like I’m losing a part of my life that is so very important to me–traveling and living abroad, especially in Central/Eastern Europe. I’m afraid that era is behind me, when I never thought it would be. But perhaps it’s just a pause.
The pause is because things are so good in Chicago right now. Life in semi-governmental housing is surprisingly interesting, and though my Master’s program at Loyola is institutionally falling apart, I’m finding a voice among the opposition. And we have strong allies, in LCWR President Pat Farrell, and many others.
I renewed my lease on my super-cute apartment here, and I’m entering into my second spring in the city.
The Green Mill, for now, will have to be my Zinger.