My weekend started with an rise to frosted windshields and white tipped lawns as I hugged my husband and climbed into my Uber. My eyes were half open but I let out a relaxing sigh because a weekend out of town finally arrived! It’s time for a Girl’s Weekend and Roadtrip to Chicago, Illinois!
That’s right after weeks and weeks of events and work, I finally planned a fun weekend with friends. No more hermitting over my clay and inking. There was only one main stop planned and it all to do with Korean Food. The excitement of the group surrounded thoughts of kimchi jars and all the vast variety inside of HMart. Yes, this is a big deal for those who love Asian snacks and food in Minnesota.
Eyes widen when the doors open and you see all the rows of every kind of snack, food, and produce you can’t in this kind of quantity. After six hours in the car and a few rest stops, our first stop was HMart! We didn’t waste any time. Aisle after Aisle of seaweed, all kinds of smelly kimchi, noodles, marinated meats, and rice crackers made us wonder if we had enough room in the back of the trunk.
My friend who drove made the hardest sacrifice. She didn’t buy as much so that boxes of yogurt flavored Soju would fit with all of our treats, slippers, snacks, and household products that only a Korean would understand why it’s a necessity. Our tour of large Asian markets only found in Chicago continued while some took advantage of the Korean Style Spa.
Our first night in the Chicago burbs ended with three of us (me included) drinking a bottle of peach flavored Soju in the car while we waited for our 4th partner in crime to come out of her spa scrub and massage. Should you try the Korean bathhouse experience know that you aren’t allowed to wear clothing in most areas, just like in Korea. Female and male sides are separate but they do have a co-ed common room. The three of us in the car didn’t feel like walking around naked that night so we drank in the car like we were 21. Well, the other two did while I clinked my bottle of Diet Coke against their bottles.
Don’t worry. I didn’t leave myself out. I had a glass of my favorite wine, Stella Rosa, back the hotel before I stayed up talking with a friend until 2 in the morning before she passed out on me. I was left to lock the door and turn off the lights before a full Saturday in a new city.
I was awed by the quiet when we returned to our hotel in the suburb of Niles. I’ve always stayed in the city with the noise and bustle of downtown. It’s like that kind of Chicago never existed and after my experience, I would stay outside of the city again because I never miss the traffic jams. The streets of the suburbs were quiet and like any small suburb up North.
This time there were a few firsts. Our group stopped at a store called Ross, which is a discount store for designer brands. I did find a plaid jacket that went along with my black dress and a Christmas gift. We also spent a few hours in Chinatown. In all the years I’ve gone down to Chicago for the Art Museum and architectural tours, I’ve never stopped at the 3-4 block of shops.
I was missing out this whole time. Anyone who loves Asian culture, food, and shopping this is the place to stop on the corner of downtown. The new area is built like and old village of shops with green and red bridges over the 2nd level. Let’s just say I loaded my tray at Tour Les Jours bakery until I couldn’t see the bottom. Savory egg breads, cheese sticks, curry croquettes, cream and strawberry filled croissants covered the whole tray. It was hard to stop and everything looked too good. There was some elbowing around the packed cases and shelves.
Luckily, we got there in time and they didn’t run out of the popular croquettes. After leaving, I regretted not filling a bag full of kimchi and curry croquettes. Of course, I would share🙂 Not really. We left after a few hours and then made our way back to the hotel to ready for dinner and a night out.
Dinner was cafeteria style in our sparkling dresses and heels above a Korean Grocery store, Joong Boo. We carried our trays of kimchi smelling dishes back to a large group table to share in dinner before we headed to our next Korean must-do.
Saturday night ended with Noraebong or Korean Karaoke at Ju Rang in Glenview. The mic was passed around to 80s and 90s classics with the disco light going in the ceiling. Don’t be shy there because if you listen before you begin your sing-along experience you can hear the people on the other rooms and let’s just say it’s more about the group experience than professional singing.
This morning I woke with bags under my eyes after a late night. We packed our two trolleys of HMart buys and suitcases. We repacked the multiple boxes of yogurt flavored Soju, only found in Chicago, before we shoved the trunk shut. We were on the road back to Minneapolis by 8:00 am.
I’m blogging from the back seat as we drive through cheese country (Wisconsin) and head back home. We’re all tired but feeling full tummied and happy that we shared in the roadtrip experience before the holidays begin. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about your word prompts.
Your challenge is to create a Roadtrip short story using Saturday and Sunday’s words – Leak and Extinct. Funny we talked about feeling like we were older than the invention of the wheel. Someone said something about tar pits. Play with the words and go on your own adventure.
I’ll be back again tomorrow! My posts are Monday through Friday.
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