Hi everyone! Welcome back to Blogmas! Today I’m sharing my Christmas weekend in Chicago as well as the 23rd item in our Blogmas Advent Calendar.
I’m so excited to share my weekend with you (well just Friday and Saturday of it anyway) because it was so fun and such a great way to start the Christmas week.
I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! Even though I’ve been doing Blogmas this entire month, somehow it still feels like it went by so fast.
So to start, my company does close for a break for the holidays, but as I still have to work over the break (I have deadlines so that’s the exception of course) then I used that to my advantage to work from home so I could make my plans work.
I always take the train into the city and normally go all the way through until I reach the Loop. However, this time I not only had to get off at a different stop than normal, but also had to pay attention because it was an earlier stop (the Loop is the last stop so I’m used to zoning out until then) and then take the El to where I need to be! It was super easy though, since the city is just so walkable and easy to navigate. I arrived at my stop, saw some shops, and since I was in the area so early I shopped a bit before going to the theatre as I was on my way to see a musical!
I stopped into a few places. I saw a LUSH store, which I hadn’t been to in ages. I didn’t buy much except one item called “Fun” which is like a bath playdough of sorts that dissolves and colors the bath which is fun. I wish I’d gotten a few bath bombs too but I didn’t want to have to carry them all around and worry about them breaking and leaving dust everywhere. Plus I had plans to go to the aquarium the next day and if they searched my bag I was worried they’d think I was plotting against the tanks which I’m not but it was a worry that they’d think that!!!
Anyway, I also went to a few more shops but LUSH was the most fun and the employee that helped me was so nice! After a few more places my sister texted me that they were on their way but that her friend was at the theatre already so I walked over there to see her. We were going with a lot of her friends as most of my friends are musical-ed out at this point. So what did we go see?
We saw Avenue Q! We were at the Mercury Theater in Lakeview, which is such a lovely theatre. Its quite small, we were in row K in seats 11-16 which were about half the row and there were only I think three rows behind us, plus a small balcony above us. It was so nice! I will say the theatre website was so annoying, it only gave the option to select a random seat and it would cycle between the same three or so seats. My sister and her roommates that originally wanted to go had bought online and so they told us where they were sitting and the rest of us had to call in to ask for seats next to them. We did all manage to get seats together which was awesome!
We had a great time at the musical. It is a hilarious show and so we laughed so much and cheered at the great digs they got in towards politicians or even the audience. There’s a portion where they ask the audience for money (which are later donated to a good cause) and one of my sister’s friends turned to me to ask “what is happening??” to which I told her “GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY” which is literally the name of the song I think so I’m clearly hilarious.
I really loved the actors so much as they were amazing. The puppeteers were amazing and really tried to match their puppets in everything from facial expressions to clothing to hair styles. I absolutely loved the puppeteers for Kate Monster, Rod, and Lucy/one of the Bad Idea Bears. They were all amazing but those were the ones that made me laugh the most.
Oh, one funny thing that happened afterwards was when we were picking up my sister’s roommate’s car from the valet. We waited for quite a bit as parking was bad in the area so lots of people had chosen the valet route. A family with an obnoxious woman who insisted on smoking where everyone was waiting arrived after us. I don’t remember what they said but we were literally blown away but how dumb it was. Anyway, the car arrived and we started getting in, at which point she started complaining! We pretty much told her to shut up and got in the car because we’d had quite enough of her attitude and afterwards I commented on how part of the musical was about how people actually aren’t as special as they think they are. Everyone is the same and clearly she didn’t really grasp that concept since she still seemed to think she was entitled to more than we were despite that she was being out of line. Whatever, we quickly got over it and headed to my sister’s place.
After that we all hung out with the dog for a bit (my sister’s other roommate who was also with us has a puppy!) and then went to bed.
Shedd Aquarium & Tour
The next morning my sister got up super early to go to work (what a trooper) and the rest of us got up a few hours later to go to the aquarium. My sister was able to get us in for free and sign us up for a behind the scenes tour due to her job. It was amazing! We weren’t allowed to take photos during the tour, but we saw so many cool things. It wasn’t the full behind the scenes tour as ours was free with a contact she has but it was still so cool! We met some of the “encounter” animals so they’re not necessarily marine animals but rather some animals that are rescued or animals that can be used to show and teach the people visiting the aquarium about animal care. We saw some turtles that had been confiscated at O’Hare airport that someone was trying to smuggle in (we counted nine), we met a bird that is part of the toucan family (one of my sister’s roommates is terrified of birds so he declined to touch that one), a porcupine that we got to feed (soooooo sweet and he was totally over the sweet potato), a skunk (soooooo soft), saw a blind puffer fish (can’t be in tanks with other fish because the others were picking on him), an iguana (really offended by the lettuce he was offered and apparently iguanas lose their toes fairly easily), a snake (really, really active actually and I waited to pet until after it’s head was facing the other way), blue tongued skink (very strange to touch), and saw quite a few more! I loved meeting the animals and it was so fun! I’m so happy we got to see them!
After the tour my sister joined us to walk around the aquarium. Unfortunately the belugas were only able to be seen in one tiny area that everyone was crowding so we didn’t get to enjoy them as much but they were still sooooo cute. We also saw a bit of a training session with a red tailed hawk and an owl, and saw the Underwater Beauty exhibit that is still at the Shedd. One of the best parts was seeing a diver feeding the fish in the Caribbean reef area and Nickel, the turtle pictured above, kept bumping into him to try to get some (he got some lettuce later). After a bit my sister’s roommates left and she did offer to take me to the Field Museum too but at that point I only had about a half hour left before I had to leave the Museum Campus so I opted to walk around a bit more at the aquarium and save the Field (and Sue the T-Rex’s new suite) for next time.
Once I left the museum I went back to the theatre area to buy a ticket for the show I wanted to see. I managed to get a great seat at an amazing “day of show” price! After buying the ticket I still had about an hour and twenty minutes or so left which I used to get lunch at Corner Bakery and then walked into the Christkindlmarket. I quickly realized my mistake of going into the market and fought the crowds to get out asap because it was so too busy and I couldn’t even see anything. By that time it was about 40 minutes to the start of the musical so I just walked down the street to the Cadillac Palace Theatre. I managed to get in before most of the crowd which was great!
Fiddler on the Roof
The musical was Fiddler on the Roof! This one was at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Broadway in Chicago. I had actually thought I wasn’t going to be able to see it but since I was already in the city I figured, why not? I was in row G, and it was such a great seat! I’m not really sure but I do think a lot of the people around me were Jewish because they were saying all the names in ways that sounded correct, aka not how I was saying them! It was so beautiful though. I did notice the mics for some of the actors weren’t on at the correct times maybe 5 or so times as they would come on in the middle of the sentence or not at all for some actors if the line was only one or two words, so I think whoever was working that kept falling behind. I was close enough to still hear the line clearly but I’m not sure if anyone towards the back or up in the dress circle, mezzanine, or balcony heard. The theatre acoustics are great so perhaps they did but still!
I loved the music, acting, and dancing though. It was truly incredible and a beautiful performance! I really loved the three eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel, and Chava. They were each charming and such great characters. I think Tzeitel was my favorite but even as I type that Hodel and Chava come to mind with every aspect of their journey that I loved too. I think the musical’s pacing is a little fast and skips quite a bit. For example, Tzeitel’s relationship made sense as we do see her with Motel a bit, and she makes it clear that she wants to spend time with him and speak to him. By comparison Hodel really only gets two interactions with Perchik before they’re engaged but we can see how well they get along. By the end, Chava only gets the scene at Motel’s shop where she makes it clear she doesn’t want to speak to Fyedka. While it is clear that time has passed during the intermission we really don’t see them interact much where Chava is enjoying his company. Still, each of the sisters makes clear what they wish to do and take control of their future, which is amazing to see.
I will say that there was an annoying woman behind me that every time the scene was changing she’d whisper quite loudly to her mother next to her to explain what was happening. It was really distracting from the music and she eventually stopped after a few times that I turned to shoot her a look. I had thought of leaving a note that said “SHHHHHHHH” on her coat during intermission but I didn’t have paper on me. Really, if she wanted to explain the story to her mom (who kept telling her she did which was even more annoying) she should have done that before or waited until after. I don’t know why people are so rude and out of line at musicals!
After that I had to leave in a hurry to get my train. I managed to get on with about five minutes to spare and it was an express train so I got home super fast afterwards! It was so fun to be in the city for about 24 hours and I got so much done!
Advent Calendar Item #23
So the 23rd item of the Blogmas Advent Calendar is…
A bottle of wine! I used a bottle I got as a gift once to represent the idea. I figured, if I’m including anything might as well add a bottle of wine in there. Then it occurred to me not everyone likes wine or drinks even so maybe I would have to switch it out for a coffee or something but wine came to mind first.
So that’s my Chicago Christmas weekend adventure! Let me know what you have been up to this weekend leading up to the holiday. I’d love to know! Also, be sure to catch my reviews of both Avenue Q and Fiddler on the Roof in the new year!
Thanks for reading!
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