Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tonight Was Lovely

It's just after seven o'clock and I'm already tired, I think the early darkness is messing with my mind a little. I worked today and, when I arrived at home, tried to call the school where I'll be taking my prerequisite nursing classes, but couldn't get through to any of the offices, which are supposed to be open into the evening. I went through the entire school directory and called just about every office, because I was annoyed that no one was picking up when they were supposed to still be open, according to their website. Finally, I reached the number for the Vice President's office, and he answered the phone himself! We had a nice conversation, he was friendly, and apparently the best time for me to call back would be tomorrow between eight a.m. and four p.m. Oops.

Then I dragged myself back outside and made the ten minute walk to Julius Meinl, where I purchased five bags of coffee for my mom, who has officially been converted from her lifelong love affair with Kaffitár, her Icelandic coffee of choice. It was so quiet and cozy in there, it was all I could do not to buy a warm, savory pastry or a cup of soup and stay a while. But duty called, so I ventured back out into the chilly evening to pick up a loaf of German rye bread at Gene's Sausage Shop, also for my parents. I love walking on Lincoln Avenue in my neighborhood. There are Christmas lights strung around. Warm restaurants, shops, and cafes shelter smaller, relaxed weeknight bunches of people from the cold. As I rejoined the remaining bustling shoppers of the day on the street, I passed two older men speaking German to each other under the awnings of a storefront, which made me smile.

I live off of Western Avenue, which is a louder and busier thoroughfare than Lincoln in this part of town, but as soon as I turned onto the little tree-lined street where I live, all sounds were immediately hushed. It's been snowing all day, and the bare branches are laden with white, the snow crunched softly under my boots in places where the sidewalk hadn't yet been shoveled. Lit Christmas trees peeked out of my neighbors' windows, augmenting the otherworldly glow of snow in nighttime. I softly whistled "Angels We Have Heard On High" to myself as I strolled down my block to my front door.

The day of work and commuting was exhausting, and tomorrow will undoubtedly be hectic as I struggle through crowds at O'Hare airport, praying for a safe and timely flight home. But tonight was lovely.

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