Thursday, November 12, 2009

erika in the USA: sister!

The second stop on my American adventure was to Chicago to visit my twin sister Lisa.

Chicago is a very new city, grid crazy. It’s cold and windy. The architecture is not all it’s cracked up to be. People wear fedoras and trenchcoats for real, and art school hipsters are like hipsterdom squared. I visited many museums: my favourite was the Chicago History Musuem. We drove to Wisconsin, which (who knew?) is very close to Chicago, and visited the Mars Cheese Castle. On the way back to the city, we stopped by the rural shore of Lake Michigan, which was even more ocean-like than its city shore.

The second-best thing about my visit to Chicago was getting to hang out with my sister’s friends from her college days at Mt. Holyoke. I hadn’t seen many of them since we graduated, and it was a delight to spend time with such intelligent and silly women. I had missed that kind of low-brow high-quality company. :)

The first best thing about my visit was of course seeing my sister, who I adore and who should never ever live so far away (says the pot calling the kettle black). Watching stupid movies, eating really good food (deep dish pizza! fresh tamales! pumpkin pie!), wandering around the city, helping with her art projects, all were infinitely more fun with her than such activities can ever be without the best of company.

Random thoughts while in Chicago: Being in America having been away helps me see how strangely messed up aspects of our culture are: nothing new, but strange reminders nonetheless. Fatness, for instance: one of my first thoughts off the plane was how fat Americans are. Really, inexcusably overweight. The food with so many chemicals, so much falseness, so many calories, sad to be thinking about limiting caloric intake when at my school we worry about the kids having enough calories… And people have so many possessions! It’s ridiculous! And the fanatical conservatives: so sadly brainwashed, so frustratingly ignorant, so blatantly untruthful! I’d pity them if they weren’t so frightening. Also, bad smells: why do American public bathrooms smell so bad? I can authoritatively say that many third-world infested sewage ditches and truck-stop piss canals smell better; similarly, reeking pee in doorways and streetcorners, and the smell of homeless people: so gross, so unnecessary! Come on, America, we can do better.

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