Wednesday, October 19, 2011

sweet home chicago

Once upon a time, in the stormy month of this past June, I got stranded at O'Hare Airport due to a tornado of sorts.  All flights were cancelled, nine planes were damaged from the wind, and I thought I was never going to make it back to L.A.!  I waited at the original gate, realized that the gate had been changed, then realized that my flight was cancelled.  I stood in the Customer Service line to rebook my flight when I heard TSA officers frantically screaming, "We need everyone to evacuate to the tunnel!  There is a tornado warning!" followed by utter chaos as people sprinted to safety.  The tunnel they were referring to is the tunnel of moving walkways.  The ceiling of the tunnel boasts a pretty, colorful light installation accompanied by a whimsical rendition of the United Airlines tune.  Google "ohare united tunnel" and you'll get the idea.
I was close to the escalators and stairs so I made it to the tunnel rather quickly.  However, as more and more people piled in, I was pushed further and further against the walls.  Eventually I was sandwiched between a group of Asian tourists and the wall.  I was literally on my tiptoes because it was so packed.  Then the Asian tourists thought it would be a good idea to plop down (which pressed me even more against the wall) and play a game of cards, using their suitcases as a table.  I applaud their creativity...but really?? 
After an hour or two, the tornado warning had passed and I was able to get some fresh air.  I had to wait in the Customer Service line again (miraculously, I was able to get a decent place in line).  Then came the five hours of standing around and waiting.  There was a friendly guy in front of me who asked me to watch his stuff when he went to get some food before all the restaurants closed for the night.  He even offered to buy me something, but I politely declined because my backpack was full of food (slices of Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza and Yu's Mandarin seafood platter noodles).  There was a family behind me that complained about everything which got really irritating but they ended up prancing away somewhere when they heard an announcement that pertained to them.  The airport was loud, everyone was crabby, but at least we were safe.  I finally made it to the front of the line and was greeted by the sweetest United representative who put me on the waiting list for the 6 a.m. flight to L.A.  She was very apologetic that this happened to me (she probably thought I was like 12), and as I left, she said, "God bless you, Miss Ho!"

Moral of the story:  Chicago weather is crazy and unpredictable.  I'm leaving at 4 a.m. later for a 7 a.m. flight to Chicago.  We're flying American Airlines (so no pretty/traumatic tunnel), but potentially crazy weather nonetheless, at least according to California standards.  I got these messages in an e-mail from my mom this morning:

"All of a sudden we’re having a wind storm today with wind gust to 45-60 miles this afternoon & will last till tomorrow morning."

"Yeah, they forecast the strong wind will cause waves up to 22 ft high in the lake front. They close the road for walkers, bikers, & joggers so they won’t get knock down by the waves like the last time in September. Can you imagine if this storm happen on Friday when the rally is at navy pier?!?"

It's going to be an adventure! 

I'm really looking forward to this trip because I think I deserve a vacation after the stress of this week.  But at the same time, it's hard to relax because I have so many other things on mind!  Just gotta enjoy each day to its fullest and stop fretting about the future, right?  FTFO!

See you soon, Chicago!  Beat the irish!

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