Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bu Reunion, Chicago-Style

Despite our lofty intentions of reuniting again in Germany or on an African safari, the latest installment of the Bu Reunion was held in the good-old Midwest. (See last summer's Dirrrrrty Denver post: for additional details on Bu Reunions.) As one of the Bu Bees gave birth to an adorable little boy two months ago, we decided to travel to her. We spent a couple of days in South Bend, Indiana. We toured the Notre Dame campus, but really we spent the majority of time reminiscing about those five magical months in Bamberg, Germany. In fact, we've watched the video created by our "historian" so many times that it will no longer play in a conventional DVD player. Fortunately, we have the whole thing memorized. This year's reunion had a different feel/tone/pace from past reunions, marked by the accompaniment of the group's first "Bu Baby." For instance, "Team Pinot" engagements were scheduled around feedings and the art of bouncing the baby to sleep was perfected by all. (Who knew there were so many uses for giant exercise balls?) After our initial rendezvous in South Bend, we loaded up the car and headed over to Chicago. As we all have been to Chicago at various times in our lives, we were most content to enjoy each others' company. That is not to say that we didn't take in some essential tourist stops, however. Once we had checked into our hotel--and checked for a diaper change--we noshed (I've never actually used that word before, let me know if it works) on an obligatory deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. Totally stuffed, our next destination was Navy Pier. Kudos to our hostess who navigated the busy streets of Chicago in search of decently-priced parking (unfortunately, we never found any). Never having been to Navy Pier as my last trip to Chicago occurred in January--what were we thinking?--I was impressed by the views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan.

Seeing as how all of us are equally laid-back and indecisive, it took a while for us to figure out what to do the following day. We finally settled on the Lincoln Park Zoo...primarily because admission is free. I guess we were thinking kid-friendly as well, although how much is a two-month-old going to get out of a trip to the zoo?!? At any rate, we had a nice time, despite the heat and humidity. In all actuality, it wasn't that hot; I doubt temperatures even reached the 90s. However, my three summers in the Pacific Northwest have completely obliterated my tolerance for humidity. Needless to say, I was as uncomfortable with all the moistness as this rhino. We found it necessary to cool off with some lunch and then trekked down Michigan Avenue for a little shopping. And I do mean little. We were really only looking for one store: H&M. Some members of our group fell in love with this store--and its affordable prices--in Europe, so in our quest to find it, we hiked down the crowded street. Since the baby needed some cuddle time, I found myself pushing an empty stroller for most of the walk. I quickly learned that people will move out of your way if they think you have a baby in there, so I used it to my advantage. We got held up a little half-way to our destination when we saw crowds of people looking across the Chicago River; we deduced from the yell0w t-shirt-clad workers that we were passing the film set for Transformers 3. We closed out our Chicago experience by taking in a (free) concert in Grant Park. The Chicago Symphony was playing pieces that corresponded to sequences from the Discovery Channel's award-winning (I think) Planet Earth series. The music was incredible; at times we forgot we were listening to live music. The coolest thing about it, however, was that our hostess' brother moonlights with the Chicago Symphony while on summer hiatus from the Louisville Symphony.

As usual, we began planning our next reunion before this one was even concluded. We also began making plans for the movie version of the best-selling book we are going to write about our German adventures. So, the next time you hear about the Bu Bees, we might be in print or on the big screen.


Luke Bohanan said...

What is "team Pinot" and when will they be touring the Russian River Valley?

Clint said...

I was at the Earth showing in Millennium Park, what a great night for it.

Looks like you guys enjoyed Chicago. Where did you get your pizza fix from?

Spoon said...

Ah, Team Pinot originated in Italy during Spring Break. It then expanded to include the entire Bu Crew, with our favorite being whatever brand of Pinot Grigio Mama serves (do you know, Luke?). At least one member--yours truly--may be headed your way sooner than you think.

And yes, fantastic night for the concert. Chicago was great; glad we hit it before it became submerged in water. Oh, and we had pizza at Giordano's. Not the original, but the one out by Midway. Very tasty.