Chicago is the largest city in the midwest and it is the one city I love going to, but never get a chance to visit. It’s 8 hours away. This weekend was the perfect time to go, the Cubs won the World Series after 104 years, my cousin’s play was going on, and the Irish rugby team was in town playing the All Blacks. It was going to be a GREAT weekend.
Little did I know culture shock would hit. We drove through Wisconsin, a state that was just over the river from my college town; yet I felt a bit shocked by how nothing was around it, and by the signs. We got into Illinois reminding us that the alcohol limit for driving was .08 and we hit every toll, even if we never left the interstate. Getting into the city I was overwhelmed by how large the buildings were; I felt like they were going to squish me. I know this is odd to say, but I am use to Cork, where the tallest building is probably only 15 floors high. Most of the buildings in Chicago are at least 40. Culture shock happened at the game, too. How many times do people just stand up to talk instead of enjoying the game? It was very different than watching a match in Ireland. But, I understand because a different culture has different things—that’s why it’s called culture shock!
The play, Chagrin Falls, written by Mia McCullough,is a one-stage play, set in a small Oklahoma town in 1999. It’s a depressing small town with only two main employers, the slaughterhouse and the prison that carries out death penalties. The plot was leading up to the execution of a man who had raped and murdered a girl. A young female reporter from Boston is visiting the town to report on the execution, but she experiences much more. Chagrin Falls is a drama, interspersed with humor. I was in my seat intrigued, yet nervous throughout the play. The characters drew me into the town’s diner. I felt I was watching their lives unfold in front of me.
The best part about this play is that my cousin Sommer is the director. She represents all of the Girlboss goals. She is passionate about her work as an educator, actor, and director. What ever she has wanted to do she has gone for it. She is an inspiration! I knew that with her in charge the play was going to be a great production because she knows her stuff. If you are in Chicago go see Chagrin Falls, it’s heartfelt, funny, dramatic and a metaphor for life.
Saturday was the big match, Ireland vs New Zealand aka the All Blacks. And the All Blacks are the biggest team in the league. Think New York Yankees but bigger. Ireland hadn’t won against the All Blacks in 111 years so this match was going to be interesting and BIG. The stadium was packed with rugby fans from all over the states and beyond. There were a few Irish who flew in just for the game and they got to experience a historical event. The first half was brilliant; Ireland was playing strong and had the crowd cheering. The second half the All Blacks came on stronger, which having watched them before I think it’s their game plan. They will take it easy the first half and then come out strong during the second half. But, Ireland held on, winning the match!
There was something in the air in Chicago!
The exciting part of being at the match was being able to have a little part of Ireland here in America, especially since I was missing my friends and the Irish lifestyle. Plus, I got to experience the match with my mom. She was funny, her first ever match; she got right into it!
It was my favorite weekend and reminded me how I really like Chicago. It has easy access to transportation, interesting little neighborhoods and communities. I just wish it didn’t have all of those large buildings.