Oh Chicago, the things I would do to you…AKA how to win at being an Aussie in the US of A

Yay I’m officially 25 and older than I’ve ever been. Highfive parents! I survived my early twenties. Now we just need to get me married off  to some crazy-person brave/stupid enough and sprogged up and you guys can breathe a sigh of relief. Hey, one of your kids has to continue the genetic line, and with two gay sons, I’m your best bet! Sucks to be you!

So anyway, people always ask you what you did for your birthday, and this year, what with the landmark-ness of it and all, I wanted to be able to give a better answer than “I got drunk with my friends” (that did happen too… but it was not the defining achievement!)

So I went to Chicago with my friend Rosie. And got drunk there. But we also did other stuff too.

And oh my.

Chicago is quite a city.

Not only is it stunning to look at, it is full of the hottest men I have ever seen in my life, and the nicest people on the planet. The food is genetically engineered to be the best thing that has ever been in and around your mouth, and every street you stumble down lost (always) you will find something cool, unique and wonderful that you just want to cuddle a bit too tight, like a really squishy-faced kitten.

To say I love that city would be an understatement.

I’d like to take Chicago home to meet my parents. I’d like to write Chicago cheesy love songs that I’d totally sing and upload to Youtube and I wouldn’t even be embarrassed about it.

The 5 best things about Chicago:
5. The Stunning Waterfront (are you listening Toronto, with your under-utilized harbour front)
4. The Jazz/Bar Scene – so many options! So many cool/different/quirky spots.
3. The Architecture Boat ride and the pride in the buildings there
2. The People who are so freaking cool (and attractive)
1. The Deep Dish Pizza

I think I probably consumed over 100,000 calories while in Chi town. I stopped saying no to things that were delicious and started saying yes.

This is a "small" size Chicago deep dish

This is a “small” size Chicago deep dish

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza is the best thing that was ever invented and I don’t understand why it can’t exist outside of Chicago. Because I would eat it every day, and that is no lie. While in Chicago we also ate Blue Cheese and Tandoori chicken pizza, Macoroni and Cheese Pizza, and Smores Pizza (chocolate sauce, teddy grahams, marshmellows.) We ate every weird thing we could find and we loved it. We even went to American McDonalds and tried Sweet Potato Pies (no boring apple pie thankyouverymuch).

Blue Cheese/Tandoori Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Smores Pizza slices

Blue Cheese/Tandoori Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Smores Pizza slices

Now I can fully understand why there are so many obese people in America. Absolutley no doubt about it, if I lived in America, I would be obese. 100% There are too many delicious things there.

In fact I might have come back more obese if we didn’t get so lost all the time and just walk around (we could have easily not been lost, so many people offered us directions/help/to be our tour guides – we were just happy to explore).

It definitely helped that I was with my stunning fellow Blonde Aussie gal (an accent will get you EVERYWHERE in the United States) but seriously the people are so nice there. And everybody wants to chat because they love their city and they LOVE that you love their city.

We got a hug off our Cheesecake Factory Server. The guy I sat next to on the plane ended up taking us for a few drinks and told us to call him if we ran into any trouble over the weekend.

Nicest. People. Ever.

So if you want to stuff your face, be inspired, walk around a place that looks like a post card and hurt your neck from staring at all the attractive babes (seriously… what are they feeding you guys?!) then get to the Mid-west, because Chi-town has it all.

We love you Toronto, but we’re OBSESSED with you Chicago!!

photo-23

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Should I eat this expired Pork?

piggies

Things you don’t know that only Google/Your parent can answer.

Should I eat this Expired Pork?
It’s best before date is 3 days ago, but it seems okay and it’s been in the fridge…?
Google says: NO!
Dad says: Yes. Just cook it well and it will be fine. Best before dates are for the retailer to sell it.
Verdict: Well I cooked it and will be having it for dinner. Usually I have an iron stomach… I guess we’ll soon see!

Should I book these tickets to Chicago for my birthday next month for a fun filled weekend of USA shenanigans?
Google says: Air Canada flights… your pet can accompany you on board… What the fuck google?! That doesn’t help me!
Parents say: Isn’t there something else you should be using that $300 for?
Verdict: Flights booked to Chicago! YAY!

Why does my stomach hurt after the equivalent of 3 wheels of Brie because there was a free cheese platter and I can’t help myself?
Google says: Here are 18 reasons your stomach might be hurting, including gall stones, Pancreatitis, Lactose intolerance (jesus christ, lets start with Gall stones and Pancreatic diseases before we suggest lactose intolerance… thanks for freaking me out google!)
Parents say: Don’t eat so much Brie Paris!
Verdict: I’m probably dying. Make sure they play ‘Party in the USA’ when I go.

What am I doing with my life?
Google says: Actually there are quite a lot of blogs and articles on this topic as other twenty something year-olds wonder where to go, what to do, how to chase their passions. Glad to know that I am not totally hopeless/alone and there are others like me out there (maybe even DOZENS of us) But no definitive tailored answer. Shit.
Dad says: Keep writing, you’re a super star, you’re amazing, you’ll get there!!
Mum says: Stop panic-ing, just live, here are some quotes, we love you.
Verdict: Curl up into a ball until this round of freaking out goes away. Thankyooooou emotional roller coaster.

Do I have a pension plan already, because I feel like my money is being sneaked out into one through tax and such and while I’d rather have that money now, I guess I should kind of know, right?
Google says: 

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension provides a monthly benefit to eligible Canadians.

You must have worked and made at least one valid contribution (payment) to the CPP to qualify for a CPP retirement pension. The standard age to begin receiving the pension is 65. However, you can take a permanently reduced CPP retirement pension as early as age 60 or take a permanently increased pension after age 65.

Dad says: Well you see… (and then I tuned out – although I love you Papa).
Verdict: Long hair, don’t care! I’ll worry about boring things like that when i’m boring, like when I turn 35.

If I keep eating the amount of sugar I do daily, will I get Diabetes?
Google says:

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

Parents say: We have Diabetes in our family. You should be careful, eat healthy and regularly excercise.
Verdict: Change nothing, worry every once in a while.

Thanks Google & Parents. With your combined knowledge – I am more equipped to face every day.

 

Airport thoughts

Off to Hong Kong to spend some time with my Mama and Brothers.

Non-stop party mode in the lead up. Christmas party the night before. No worries I think. I’ll just have some drinks and then not really sleep and start trying to turn my body clock around early (there is a 13 hour time difference.)

Great Idea Paris. But now I look like this:

Photo on 12-12-17 at 5.57 AM

 

I am 100% attractiveness. And the next 24 hours is going to see me in Chicago with a 5 hour layover, and then a middle seat in the middle row for my delightful 15 hour stint to Hongkers. I continue to win at being 24 and semi-grown up.

But sitting in the Toronto Pearson’s airport, awaiting this ordeal, I’m taking some time to reflect on 2012 and the year I have spent in Canada.

It has been a weird one. I went from an Admin job, to Camp in the summer, to an internship at a TV station (which has led to on air stuff) and a crappy minimum wage retail job. Through out the year, I have maintained a relationship with my great all Canadian guy, and spent a lot of time wondering WTH I am doing with my life, but kind of going with it a bit more. I am lucky that I have been in good health (as have my loved ones) and that my family has been happy and moving to their goals also.

I feel loved from every corner of the globe, where I am fortunate to know people. I am even more comfortable in Toronto than I was before, and it feels like home more and more (especially my little island of an apartment with my two great roomies and our Hedgehog).

Life is made up of the little things, and when you add them up, and you take a step back, you realize that the bigger picture you have been creating is bigger and brighter than you originally thought.

I land back in Canada on the 1st of January (if all goes according to plan) and I hope that 2013 throws some more challenges but also more great stuff my way. Even though I’m so tired my eyeballs are itchy, I’m feeling full of happiness and optimism for the year ahead.

XXX