If you’re ever thinking of taking a pleasure trip to Chicago in February, you probably are in need of some professional help — on many levels.
However, with no professional help whatsoever, my husband and I found ourselves making that decision — and then actually following through with it. The teens and 20s aren’t cold enough for us in Salt Lake City? Chicago it is.
When we arrived at the Salt Lake City airport amid snow flurries, my friendly husband chatted it up with a family nearby who rubbed their destination in our red-cheeked faces: Cancun.
“Maybe there’s still time to change our flight to somewhere warm?” I suggested.
Then we took a deep breath and boarded the plane for 7 degree weather with a wind chill factor of -20. Did I even write that sentence right? I don’t understand these numbers.
Chicago was a freezer on steroids, but it was fun.
Some things I learned while in Chicago, in bullet-point form:
- I don’t care one lick about fashion when it’s that cold. Beanies that mess up my hair? Men’s jackets that don’t match my boots? Bring ‘em on. I actually forgot my brush, but decided it didn’t matter. There was no way to keep my hair presentable.
- Scarves were actually invented to serve a purpose other than a cute accessory. In California, I never owned one. In Utah, I have several, and I thought I was using them to keep me warm as they hung mostly off my neck in a cute style. In Chicago, you will die of frostbite and hypothermia if you don’t have a scarf — and wear it properly. We met up with my friend Julia, who’s lived in Chicago for a few years. She demonstrated the proper way to wear a scarf after watching my lips freeze in place. This is how you do it, in case you’re wondering. Also helpful if you’re planning to rob a bank.
- My husband can do a handstand. This is on top of The Willis Tower, which has these cool glass boxes that jut out the sides of the 103rd floor to help you get a good case of vertigo.
- The cold makes my eyes water like leaky faucets.
- People in Chicago are friendly, even in the cold. One man went out into the street and flagged down a bus for us.
- Chicago has a beautiful skyline.
- Museums are still my loves. Our very first stop off the plane was The Art Institute, home to one of the world’s best Impressionist exhibitions. My brother, who likes to enjoy new cities and places by avoiding museums (He seriously drove right past the Louvre without blinking when he was in Paris. Who does that?), asked if I was embarrassed to get to Chicago and only find museums. Not at all. Art museums are what make trips worth it.
We brought along two toy mice so we could take pictures of what they were seeing and send them back to our girls, who were having the time of their life with their aunt and cousins. I found so many paintings my girls could actually recognize.
I also debuted my pregnant belly. I wish I would have stood up straighter.
The mice also got a good helping of vertigo.