A Chi-Town Snapshot

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of representing my company at a trade show in Chicago during which I presented two seminars and helped two fabulous sales representatives seek out some prospects. Like most things these days, I never imagined that traveling for work would ever be a part of my equation; it's amazing how God works, revealing things slowly but with such purpose. I also didn't expect to be able to go on a trip so soon since I only started in late May! I feel very blessed that I was given the opportunity to visit a city I've never been to before and to be in my element again during my presentations. I've talked about wanderlust before way back in the early days of this blog, but the excitement and joy of traveling is always bubbling somewhere inside me, usually kept under wraps since it's not usually feasible to go somewhere. I just love exploring new places and escaping my own reality for a while. Traveling teaches you more about where you came from than where you are visiting and gives you the opportunity to reflect. So when this opportunity fell into my lap, I was thrilled to be given the chance to learn.

During this trip, we really didn't get a chance to explore the city much beyond our first evening; the little snapshot we did experience, however, was pretty great.

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Chicago Bean

We were able to see only a few of the tourist-y attractions like the "Bean," at which it is impossible to take a good photo without a million other photographers in the background. But just across the way, there was a free concert out on the lawn at Millenium Park, the sun was setting, the temperature was perfect, the skyline was beautiful, and the air just carried this energy of excitement and joy. Chicago is definitely a young, trendy, and fun city full of so much life and creativity and in that moment, I felt I was in the heart of it. While I was bummed to miss out on everything else the city had to offer, I know I will make it a priority to visit again in the future.

The rest of our time was devoted to working, which was a more tiring feat than I originally expected. Long hours with lots of standing leads to sluggish bodies and squishy brains. Despite this, I was pleased with how my presentations went and it reminded me of my time in the classroom. I truly do enjoy talking to audiences about topics that I am passionate about and I am really pleased that I can find that same satisfaction in more than one profession. What past experiences do you really miss that you're not sure you can introduce or recreate in your current circumstances? Often times I think about the times when I was in musicals or played in band and how that experience is just simply not available as an adult unless you are able to dedicate a lot of time to a community production. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

StyleMax

Stylemax Presentation

Other observations about my very brief stay in Chicago:

  • I felt very safe walking around, even at night. I don't know if this comfort came from walking with a male or from the other city dwellers. I actually think it might be the latter!
  • There's a 7-Eleven everywhere you turn.
  • Pittsburgh really needs to add some more shopping downtown. Urban Targets are so very cool.
  • When you meet a seemingly nice older gentleman who shares absurd stories about how he knows celebrities and will put you in contact with them, you do not give him your business card. (Someone please ask me about Julia Stiles!)
  • I'm sorry Chicago, but I was just not really impressed with your restaurant faire. Does someone want to prove me wrong? :)
  • When I tweeted about my feeling unimpressed, Yelp Chicago "favorited" it. Weird.
  • Chicago is really big.
  • Chicago is beautiful.
  • I won't lie--I spent a lot of my time people-watching, half-expecting (and hoping) to run into Lauren Elizabeth and The Daily Tay

In conclusion, I've decided that we--yes, you and me--need to take a trip there and explore it together. There's just no other way around it.

Crazy enough, I'm off to another show in a few weeks in Dallas--this time, it's a bridal show. You better bet I'll be packing my pearls.