(written on 2/4/12)
On Thursday, I went to Evanston. Today, I came back. Right now, I am depressed.
If you know me well or are friends with me on Facebook or have ever heard me speak, you probably know that I have an obsession with Chicago. My obsession makes no sense, even to me. I grew up in Tennessee and Texas longing to visit my family in the Dominican Republic and Miami dreaming of the beach and drinking virgin piña coladas.
Cold weather made me cranky. Jackets and sweaters were a chore. And I’m pretty sure I spent 78% of January 2003 day dreaming about swimming pools. But in the summer of 2009, the improv comedy troupe Freudian Slip that I was a member of during college and I went to Chicago and it was love at first Bean touch. They spent most of the trip sight-seeing and watching improv shows. Physically, I did the same. Mentally, I spent most of the trip planning out my future life in the city. By the last day of the trip, I decided to make Chicago my home someday.
Spring 2011, we all went back to Chicago. I was reunited with the greatest love of my life. (Although with my love life history, there is hardly any competition). Saying goodbye was even harder the second time. In Fall 2011, I applied to graduate school at Northwestern University. It’s a great school, so my mother was supportive, but not encouraging.
“You want to live in Shee-cago?”
“Ay, Amanda, eets so cold.”
“Amanda, there’s gangsters there! And Al Capone…”
I think my mother thinks Chicago is stuck in a 1928 time warp.
This isn’t the first time she has reacted this way when I’ve planned on leaving home though. The entire month before I left for college, she chanted around the house in support of the community college closest to my home, “U-of-H, Cin-co Ranch! U-of-H, Cin-co Ranch! U-of-H, Cin-co Ranch!” It was the most terrifying month of my life.
But my decision to try to move to Chicago has been a long time coming, so by now, she has accepted the possibility of her cosita linda going far, far away. My dad thinks it’s hilarious to tease me about her following me to graduate school, but it genuinely stresses me out.
“Oh, Amanda, if you go to graduate school in Shee-cago, you can room with your mother.” Stop.
“I’ll pay for your mother to take trips up to visit you anyyyy time, you know.”
“Maybe your mother would enjoy getting her PhD in Shee-cago too.”
This is my dad’s new favorite game and most effective torture device.
These things do nothing to diminish my love for Chicago and the research at Northwestern though, and when I learned I was invited for an interview, I literally got my period from excitement. That interview/recruitment visit happened this weekend. Fortunately, my body did a great job controlling all bodily functions and I have proudly remained period-free the entire weekend. Which is good because I want to make dirty exhibitionist love to Evanston, Chicago, and everywhere in between. In Evanston, tea shops and cute pubs gave me little lady boners all weekend, but my favorite place was Market Fresh Books. Why market fresh? Because they sell books by the pound. Doesn’t matter what books you’re getting. Throw those babies on a scale, and that’s your price. I bought three. If more would have fit in my luggage, I would have bought twenty. Also, Chicago being close to Evanston gets me so Pointer Sisters excited, but despite my efforts, I did not get a chance to go to into the city this weekend. The only time I saw an opportunity to do so was after a small party at a current graduate student’s apartment. So the last half of the party consisted of me creeping behind strangers asking, “Hey… wanna go to Chicago with me?” and getting blank stares and “Nooo, thannksssss” as responses. For the record, the first half of the party consisted of everyone making fun of me for my excessive peanut M&M consumption, so between that and my failed attempts to get people to hang out with me, I think I can safely assume that I am a pret-ty cool la-dy.
I don’t want to say too much about the interviews themselves except that overall, I think they went well. I had five interviews during the day, so it was tiring but I had a blast talking to so many brilliant psychologists in one day.
So it was a great weekend. I don’t want to go home. But I’m stuck on a plane so I kind of have to. But the second I get to Texas, I’ll want to go back so… umm… hey… anyone wanna go to Chicago with me?