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To Chicago for My E2 Visa

Chicago, United States

Ah, one more step complete in preparation for my trip to Busan. I went to Chicago today to apply for my visa to enter Korea. I took the infamous "Hell Train", as my friends and I have deemed it, technically it is the South Shore Line commuter train that runs from Michigan City, IN to Millennium Station in Chicago.
I got going a bit early and arrived in the city around 10:00 A.M. Chicago time. When I got off the train i was walking up the stairs to Michigan Ave. and a mother and child were walking ahead of me. She was holding his hand as they walked up the stairs and was telling him that they were in "the big city" and asked if he was ready. As we walked further up the stairs and out into downtown the little boy was overcome and looked around him with wide eyes. "Wow, Wow!" was all he could say as he looked up at the skyscrapers. Even having lived here for a short time and coming to visit once and again I still get a little bit of that feeling when I come here. I really like Chicago and have a great time when I come.
Invariably, I get a little lost every time I come, and i learned later that even Brett confirmed that you can be two blocks away from somewhere you know and not even be aware of it. This happened to me after I finished my business at the Korean consulate in NBC Tower.
I began to follow Clark St. North and at some point lost my bearings, I forgot that it runs at a diagonal from SE to NW, and had trouble finding the correct bus route. I ended up walking a good, long way probably two blocks East of Clark St. in the more residential area. In actuality i was probably traveling parallel to Clark for a good while, damning the confusing Chicago streets and thinking about asking one the mail carriers where the hell I was.
After what seemed like forever, and nearly venturing to relieve my bladder in an affluent Lincoln Park alleyway, I told myself that I was going to scream if I didn't find my bearings in about two seconds.
Then to my surprise, I rounded the corner of a block and what had been hazy and unrecognizable began to look slowly familiar. I saw a Chinese restaurant I used to go to, the intersection of Clark and Fullerton, and around the corner, the Urban Outfitters where I used to work. With an exasperated "Jesus!" and a rolling of my eyes I know had found my way and looked for a sushi restaurant.
I forgot that they are all only open for dinner at this time of year, except for one of those "All You Can Eat" sushi places.(No, thanks.) So I settled, more out of nostalgia than epicurean delight, for some char dogs and cheese fries at the Weiner's Circle. Gut-wrenching but delicious.
i bummed around for a bit, wanted to catch a movie but missed it by twenty minutes, ended up going to the book store on Clark that I used to frequent. Listened to the crazy old owner in the Bears stocking hat as he lugged new purchases,"125 dollars of fuckin' philosophy I have to get rid of, now!", around to the shelves that are packed from top to bottom, spilling over and have new arrivals stacked in front of them.
Shortly after this I left, ventured to Chicago Comics for a bit and went back to the Century Center to sit for a while and wait for Brett and Carrie to come and pick me up.
We went to get a pie, which we determined was lacking the proper amount of cheese, and then had a beer before they dropped me back off at the train station. Getting to see Brett is always fun and it is so good to see that he is having a great time in his new digs with Carrie. The two of them are very happy together and I can't think of a guy more deserving of happiness than Brett. He truly has a heart of gold under all that sarcasm!
With my mission accomplished and having the bonus of being able to hang out with Brett and Carrie I was able to ride home on Hell Train a bit more comfortably.
Just about a month to go and I will be shipping out. Man, the waiting game has really set in and I am counting the minutes...

permalink written by  Native_Kurtz on December 10, 2007 from Chicago, United States
from the travel blog: South Korea - Busan - Teaching Abroad
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