Mostly, it’s the people.
I finally made it to the Pacific Northwest two weekends ago and damn. I feel like a different person here in Chicago.
Or, I feel Chicago may be a little different. It has been a year after all, of living in Little Vietnam and Andersonville and Uptown. I needed to get out of the Midwest for a little while.
Brooke, Brendon, Christi Anne, Kathy and Bill. All great travel companions in Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Bolivia. I saw them all in Seattle and Portland this month, in that bright emerald vastness.
Ah, the green. The fresh air. Their laid-back defiance. Made me realize how high-strung I’ve been lately. How tight and frustrated I’ve been. I don’t know if it’s the rush of the city, or just not being able to keep up with all my lovely guests, or my week-long conference class, or summer blues, it’s been a June I ran through. The city is certainly alive and fighting in the summer.
So, Seattle and Portland were SO good.
I don’t normally have friends like Brooke, who I do just about everything with just about every day. We were great friends living in the Kolej together on our semester abroad in Prague, wearing scarves as skirts and 90’s flannel so popular in the Czesky clubs, rolling smokes in the hallway and cooking noodles for dinner. We had SUCH times, running around that twisted city together, Brooke whispering Czech in my ear at bars. Ah, the gypsy music and Balkan beats, those long crazy 4am walks laughing through the Golden city, the street food and our shameless attempts to get free drinks and steal boiled eggs and yogurt without being chased by the Kolej breakfast ladies.
I hadn’t seen her in five years. Since then she’s had a lovely little girl, gotten married, gone to graduate school, and moved from Oregon to Washington. Five years. Girl, it was just like yesterday, those four months in the dirty east that made us all into hippies, when we saw Brooke off at Šárka where we’d watched the meteor shower. . . Prague was like yesterday when we got together in the Pacific Northwest.
Of course I went dancing with Christi Anne too, and of course Kathy fed me from her beautiful garden. I is like a fresh place to live, despite the rain. Perhaps better than Chicago. I can’t explain how good it was to get away. To sail, to dance, to love my friends and to LAUGH at the absurdity of Eastern European living, and how dearly we miss it.
I await lovely letters from the Pacific Northwest.