Saturday, February 7, 2009

All by myself

Today was a gloriously beautiful day in Chicago. The sun was shining, it was about 12 C but felt like 20 C in the sun. Everybody was out on the street enjoying the beautiful weather.

I decided to go for a walk the moment I woke up. It was so warm that I actually walked down half a block and turned around, swapping my pea coat for my thinner jacket (which I had worn all through the last Dutch "summer") - and I was still a bit too warm!

It was one of the first really pleasant days this year, so I wanted to make my walk a long one. I decided to go down to the Belmont area. The area is cute and full of little, nice shops and cafes and young people. 

On my way there I saw at least 100 dogs being walked by their owners. I am not exaggerating here either - I have never seen as many dogs in a city!

As I walked down Clark Street and got closer to Belmont, I saw more and more young people and with young I mean under 24 years old.  The cafes and pubs and restaurant were filled with hip, young boys and girls, having a nice big, greasy hangover breakfast. The people who weren't in cafes were wearing work out clothes and walking around with their friends. 

I hadn't really been homesick to Holland at all so far and I do miss my friends but keeping in touch with them via email and Skype has helped a lot. I haven't even really felt lonely, I was pretty ok by myself and of course I have my husband come home to me every evening ...

But walking down Clark Street and Belmont I all of a sudden felt all of those things. I felt old, lonely and unfashionable. The smell of the streets reminded me of the streets of Amsterdam on a Sunday. It reminded me of Saturday afternoons spent with my friends, discussing the night before, having the best hot chocolate ever at Cafe Aroma on Leidseplein or shopping down Kalverstraat followed by cappuccino with my roommate at the time or letting the weekend ring out with a beer on Nieuwmarkt, next to a canal. Today I missed all those things and oh I missed them so much it hurt.

But my nostalgia is not for the life I left behind when I left the Netherlands on 22nd October 2008 - it is for a life much longer ago. A life that me and those friends that I miss so much have left behind a long time ago. And though I know that almost all of my life now is much better than it was then, I still miss the old life sometimes. 

And the thing is - when I have my husband next to me - I don't think about the old life. I don't miss it so much because you know, I have him and he is the best thing that ever happened to me and he makes me happy. But he wasn't here today and that's why all of this came up.

But just so you know, at the end of this long (3 1/2 hour) walk, I started feeling much better already. I might just be too old for that area. Tomorrow I'll go for a walk on the lakeshore instead.

Maybe it's also this detoxing thing that is bringing me down. I have been good and not eaten anything that I wasn't supposed to eat so far. I managed to make a really tasty, all-veggie lentil soup last night. I had a craving for cumin, so I used lot's of cumin and garam masala. I also put lemon in and some balsamic vinegar at the end. It was pretty delicious and the sourness of the lemon and vinegar made up for the fact that I didn't use much salt.

Today I am making veggie chili, topped with avocado.
I was really tired yesterday but am feeling better today. I don't know if that and my strange mood has anything to do with detoxing but it might. Who knows? We'll see if I start feeling really good soon. That's really why I am doing this - to feel clean inside and out and not feel so tired anymore.


Mike Klein said...

Old and unfashionable? YOU? You gotta be kidding... Glad you are finding so much to write about life in my home town--my advice: start hitting the ethnic restaurants. Hard.


Mike Klein
Chicagoan in Europe

The Austrian said...

Any recommendations for good restaurants? So far I have tried about 6 different German restaurants and lot's of American style ones but not so many ethnic restaurants.