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  • Writer's pictureMartina

The Deep Dish

Touchdown in Chicago was turbulence city. I bet it’s all that wind they keep going on and on about. They’re just blowing a lot of hot air, if you ask me.

(See what I did there?)

I’m on the fence about Chicago as a city. Granted, I’ve only been here a few hours and haven’t seen much of it outside of the route between the airport and the hotel. Which, by the way, let’s talk about that for a minute. I’m not sure why they flew me into Midway when the hotel I’m staying at is like 7.5 inches from O’Hare. Riddle me that. But, I will say I’m grateful for the long drive. I got to see some of the landscape and compare it to what I know of other places I’ve been.

Jose (pronounced how it’s spelled, not like the name’s Spanish counterpart) was our driver today. He, like Jinnu in San Antonio, is another middle aged Indian man with a minivan. But that’s where the similarities end. Where Jinnu was genial and communicative, Jose is . . . aloof. Bordering on standoffish. I know, because I can be like that sometimes, myself. As a result, the trip from the airport was mostly stoic silence punctuated by Siri’s instructions for the upcoming exits on the highway.

Also: Jose is a pretty slow driver.

I can definitely say the Midwest (fun fact: I don’t actually know if Illinois counts as the Midwest, but let’s go with it) has a different color quality than the east coast. Things seem . . . not brighter. More vibrant, maybe. Like I’m looking at the world through HD lenses. If my eyes could see in 4K, I imagine it would be something like this. I have a theory that it’s because it’s closer to the sun here. Somebody test that hypothesis and get back to me.

There was a slight issue with the hotel reservations when we got here, but the staff was really good about everything and gave us a room on the ground floor so that I wouldn’t have to lug my piano upstairs. Jose took off even before he saw that everything was settled with us, which I thought was bad form, but I’m not judging.

We got in, and I eventually took a nap as the rigmarole of travel caught up with me and then ended the evening with dinner at one of Chicago’s apparently famous pizza places, Giordano’s. This was all courtesy of Christy, one of the volunteers for this weekend: a recent med school graduate, I discovered. She’s closer in age to me, very chatty, and very intelligent. I think we’ll get along well this weekend. We, of course, had deep dish pizza –half veggie, half meat, for those keeping track at home. It was worth the inherent carb overload. No regrets were had.

The beds here are surprisingly comfortable. Definitely not what I expected for a Ramada. But they’re huge and roomy and offer a lot of back support, so I anticipate a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is mostly a mystery. There’s a definite lack of communication with the Chicago crew that I wasn’t subjected to in San Antonio, and I’m pretty sure that’s also contributing to my current ambivalence in regards to the city. All I know is that some anonymous driver is coming to pick us up around 8:15 in the morning to take us to the retreat house.

He better have a big enough car. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Also, a sentiment I never thought I’d have: I miss the convent. The Sisters are all busy this weekend with a different event in Houston, so I won’t even get to see them up here. I think a couple of them are joining us for the rest of the trips, though, so I have that to look forward to.

Here’s looking forward to a good weekend. Continue to keep us in prayer, and I shall continue to keep you updated.

Carry On,

Martina

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