Monthly Archives: June 2013

Why I Like Sad Movies

My favorite type of movie is a sad movie. I am not normally a sad, Debbie Downer. I am actually quite the opposite. In college my roommates and I would watch sad movies and joke about popping in The Notebook, taking shots and crying. We even added eating fried chicken to the laundry list of things to do on a Saturday night to make it even more epic. Of course we were only joking… unless desperate times call for desperate measures. Then and only then would that be appropriate.

In all seriousness the thing I love most about sad movies is the way they make you feel so much. With action movies and comedies you get good a laugh and experience a grand adventure, but once you finish the movie it’s over. None of those feelings stick with you. It’s like waking up from a dream. You remember that it was exciting and wonderful, but don’t really recount what exactly happened if someone were to ask you about it later. Maybe it’s just me, but sad movies stick with you for hours, maybe even days. The characters are relatable and the situations and feelings the characters go through seem all too familiar.

It’s the sense of vulnerability when watching a sad movie that is so attractive. I was watching a movie with someone once. I wouldn’t say it’s a considerably sad movie, but he thought it was. I remember him jokingly saying that the movie was taking advantage of his emotions. I think that is the best part of a movie. A good movie makes for an easy watch, but a great movie takes you on an emotional roller coaster that drops you off at the end with emotional heaviness that seems to linger for hours.

I suppose I am into lists nowadays. Let me give you a list of my favorite sad movies I have watched thus far.

Schindler’s List
The Joy Luck Club
Atonement 
The Notebook (what girl doesn’t love this movie?) 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Virgin Suicides 

All of these movies are hauntingly beautiful. It makes you realize that life is short. It pushes you to reevaluate and reflect. I experienced something at work that mirrored a tragic Grey’s Anatomy episode. At work there was a patient who suddenly died without warning after what they thought was a successful recovery. A death that was unforeseen, a surprise, is the worst. He wasn’t my patient, but  I saw the tragic story unfold within a couple of minutes. The family members teary eyed, cried out in grief. The wife had to wheeled away in a wheelchair too unstable from distress. That event left me shocked all day just as if I was watching a sad movie. It would be very unfair to compare it to a movie, because this situation it was very much real life.

Sad movies reflect the potential of what real life could be in the most tragic way. And that is exactly what I love about these kinds of movies.

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A Secret Garden

There is something quite special about finding a place that is unknown to most of the world. It’s like a secret that you keep until you choose to whisper it to others. I want to share with all of you the very magical place I wandered into yesterday. I hope that you will take these whispers of a secret and personally visit the garden. No words or pictures can truly capture the beauty of this garden.

Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Lincoln Park 

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The garden is called Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. It’s extremely close to Lincoln Park Zoo. I was surprised I have never been or heard of this place till today. I came here to meet up with my friend for an afternoon picnic. After being dropped off by the bus about two blocks away, I walked to where Google Maps said the entrance was. The entrance is discretely marked with a small sign on the ground. Two Japanese metal gates mark the entrance. You can easily pass by the entrance without knowing that there was an entire lily pond garden inside.

Inside is a lily pool wonderland, a sanctuary away from the messiness that is urban life. The garden is very well kept and full of life. Plants densely line the outer edges of the pond and the rocky paths. The flowers are just emerging, so I bet in a week or so beautiful yellow flowers will bloom and hover above the lily pads. There are so many great spots to sit especially on the rocks that border the pond. My friend and I sat right under the Japanese pagoda that provided the perfect amount of shade.

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One of the really great parts of the lily pool was the ducks. They were so friendly and definitely not afraid of humans. They waddled probably within less than a feet of us! I think it really helped that I was feeding them pita chips.  As we left the lily pool there was a small sign that said “no feeding the wild life”. Whoops!

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The four ducklings with the mama duck were so adorable. In this picture they were quacking at us. Probably asking us to feed them more pita chips.

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Here is a close up of the ducklings and the mama duck standing guard. What a very cute family of ducks!

Definitely visit this place if you get a chance. For an afternoon, you will forget you are in Chicago. The tall high barriers that surround the garden insulate the garden from everything that is going on on the outside.  This Japanese garden provides the perfect getaway even if it is just for one afternoon. Perhaps this will become my new favorite spot to just sit and day dream the afternoon away.

Chicago, my love

I always dreaded cleaning out my bedroom, but it has slowly transformed into a reminiscing adventure. You never know what old things you will find. I stumbled upon letters, papers, pamphlets from the past. I flipped through the glossy booklets given to me by all the hospitals I interviewed at as a fresh college new graduate.

As I flipped through more papers stuffed in secret places collecting dust, I was reminded of how excited I was at the thought of starting a new job, in a new place, with new people. Out with the old, in with the new they say. There was something novel about a new life in NYC, a new life in Charlottesville that became so addicting. Obsessed over the thought of a new life I forgot about the wonderful city I call home. Thinking about it a year later, I am glad I did not move. I told my good friend if I ever talk about moving again she should tell me I am crazy. I say that with good reason. Some people grow up in a town, and leave as soon as they can. Maybe that is after college they leave for their new job, or even earlier they leave for college never to come back. The longer I reside in Chicago the more I realize that this place is truly for me. Right now I cannot think of any other place I would rather be.

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Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Chicago

  1. Public Transportation – Chicago is easily accessible via public transportation. This cannot be said for a lot of cities out there.
  2. Museums – Chicago has a lot of fabulous museums. My theory is because it gets so cold in the winter time there needs to be indoor activities to attract all the tourists and non-tourists like me.
  3. Neighborhoods – All throughout Chicago are cultural hubs ranging from Chinatown to Greektown with one of a kind cuisines in each neighborhood. Did I also mention each neighborhood throws their own summer festival? Nothing says summer like outdoor street festivals!
  4. Cleanliness – Compared to other urban cities of its size, Chicago is relatively clean. My friends from out of town are usually shocked as to how clean Chicago is. I guess compared to NYC, Chicago seems glistening clean.
  5. Friendliness – I would like to think Midwestern friendliness exists even in Chicago which is not your typical Midwestern town.

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There are so many more things that make Chicago such a great city. Now I realize it is not about novelty, because that fades away with time. The small town charm of Chartolottesville I found to be so cute will get old quite quickly. The energetic hustle and bustle of NYC will get suffocating and chaotic after a while. It is about comfort, about a sense of belonging that a city holds the people, the places, the things that I love and have grown to truly appreciate.

“Are you still blogging?”

These last couple of days I’ve been asked by a several friends whether I was still blogging. Guess I have faithful readers out there! I sat there trying to figure out a reason to give them why this blog has been abandoned for a couple of months. I thought well… maybe I have become too busy with work, but that is not a good excuse. Busy yes, but you can always make time for something you feel passionate about. Maybe I just haven’t been eating out enough? That is completely absurd, because I’ve had some pretty tasty dishes these past couple of months. I guess the only reason left is I just became lazy. Lazy with old age I suppose.  So here I am blogging, hoping that this will continue into the summer.

Summer has finally arrived in Chicago. It felt like winter lingered on forever. I am glad the Winter season has passed, because there is nothing better than summertime in Chicago. It’s finally beach time, patio time, outdoor chilling time. Which in my opinion are all the best types of time.

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar – Bridgeport, Chicago

My friends and I finally wandered over to the Bridgeport neighborhood bar called Maria’s Packaged Good and Community Bar. This bar has become my new favorite bar with delicious one of a kind cocktails, large selection of beers, a patio, friendly patrons, a speak easy dark vibe. What is not to love? Totally my kind of bar.

The inside is dark and moody with ventriloquist dolls sitting on the top shelves. Old fashioned beer cans align the wall as decor. A  little creepy once you notice them, but I think it fits in appropriately with the general vibe of this place.

I ordered the Hornswagglers High Tea which was made with Earl Grey infused Van Gogh Vodka, Filbert’s Cream Soda, and a lemon wedge. I was quite surprised after the first sip, because this cocktail tasted amazingly very much like Earl Grey Tea. I’ve tried Early Grey infused cocktails and foods before, and I have always been a little disappointed in the lack of flavors. This cocktails was the exception. Maybe I’ll just have to replace my regular morning cup of Earl Grey with this cocktail. Kidding.

I noticed on the beer menu there was a craft beer that I have tried when I was at the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI just a couple weeks ago. I had to try it again. The Founders Old Curmudgeon, an aged ale, was as smooth and dreamy as I remembered it to be.  I am a fan of bitter tasting foods, and this beer had a bitter, almost dark chocolate taste to it with a sweet bite at the end.

Overall my friends and I had a great time at Maria’s. The crowd was super friendly and easy going. I was up at the bar counter trying to order my Founders Old Curmudgeon when the guy next to me asked what I was drinking. I told him the #10, and he ended up putting it on his tab since the bar was quite crowded. I told him he didn’t have to do that, and he responded with a very nonchalant “Well I don’t have to do a lot of things”. This place is definitely filled with hipsters, but not your pretentious Northside hipsters. Easy going, friendly Southside hipsters.   I will definitely be back here!