Chicago wasn’t my final destination, but it was my final stop for the night. I had one more flight the next morning, so I had to kill some time in Chicago.
My mom was nice enough to book me a hotel to stay at in Chicago, though from the very moment everything went to hell and I was more panicked than in most of my travels throughout Europe.
I claimed my bags and then went outside to look for the bus to the hotel. God, I felt like I had walked into a rainforest or something. It was hot and it was humid, nothing like Norway at all. It was certainly not appreciated by me.
Anyways, my mom had said the bus would be waiting for me outside. However, after standing there for quite some time, I realized it wasn’t coming for me, so I decided to ring my mom.
Well, my US phone was dead, so I had to use a payphone. That was a new one for me.
My mom said that I had to call the hotel and tell them to pick me up. I did and within a few minutes they arrived to take me to the hotel.
I had a bit of another panic moment when I got to the hotel and saw a sign that said patrons under 21 could not stay by themselves. Well, I was 20 at the time, and they needed to see a picture ID. I thought for sure they were going to say something to me, but luckily I got on through. That night I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling as I thought about Norway.
I spent much of the next day being confused. From the moment I checked out of the hotel, people just started randomly talking to me. What? what? This is not the European way. This is especially not the Norwegian way. You keep to yourself in public and only talk to others if necessary or if you already know them. You don’t spend the entire ride to the airport chatting with your passenger.
Apparently I had forgotten how to American.
Anyways, I boarded my last flight and spent the first ten minutes staring at the floor, convinced we were going to go down in a fiery explosion. There was mist just pouring from the floor. Let me tell you, I’ve been on a lot of flights before, and that is most certainly not normal. Though apparently it’s fine and won’t cause a crash, so if your flight is misty, no need to panic.
And then I was home, in good old South Dakota.
My mom picked me up in the airport and seemed absolutely thrilled that I didn’t ditch her to stay in Europe forever (close call, that), and then we went to go get Chinese food.
When I stepped outside a little part of me died. Good god, am I in hell? I thought to myself, as I felt sweat starting to pour from my body. Surely it isn’t possible for a place to be so hot?
Again, I had forgotten how to American. I was going to need to do some readjusting.
After we ate lunch we drove back home. I was actually born in South Dakota but we moved when I was very young, and my mom had only recently moved back to South Dakota. As a result, I hadn’t seen much of it. On our way back home we drove past the Badlands so we stopped so I could stare at it for a while.
Man, it was beautiful.
South Dakota is, in my opinion, absolutely gorgeous. It’s not Norway beautiful. Norway is green and lush and full of fjords with sparkling blue water and mountains that stretch up to the heavens. South Dakota is desolate and brown, but it has a charming, rugged kind of beauty. The Badlands certainly exemplify this.
Then we went home, and life returned to normal, meaning I sat around on the computer and watched TV without changing out of my pajamas.
It was all quite… boring.
But then I got to travel once more.