Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Chicago Road Trip with Karen *grin*

About a week ago, Karen invited me to go to Chicago with her. After much debate, I had decided not to go. I had tutoring to do this week, and well, Chicago wasn't on my bucket list. I figured she could go. She's had an appointment in Chicago that she HAD to be at, so she was going whether I went or not. I had told her I was leaning toward not going before she arrived last weekend so she would be prepared for it. Then things changed...

We had an appointment at IHOP-KC for Prophetic Ministry at 4pm on Saturday, and she was coming in for that before her trip to Chicago. In our Prophetic Ministry, an "unexpected trip" was mentioned and I knew in that moment I was supposed to go with Karen to Chicago. And in that moment, I was EXCITED.

On Sunday I worked on finding a place for Jay. It was Monday Morning before I had a confirmation that Jay could stay at his usual spot. I believe I yelled "Yeahaa!" and I heard Karen yell from upstairs, "Score!" after I found out for sure he was taken care of and I could go! Gosh I was excited!

The thing was, I didn't really have anything specific I wanted to do in Chicago. Like I said, it wasn't one of my bucket list spots so I was just along for the ride. The main purpose was Karen's appointment. Beyond that, I was up for whatever. *grin*

On Monday we left for Chicago, and the plan was that we would stop somewhere outside of Chicago for the night to sleep. I had done some surfing on Sunday Night to get us a hotel reservation in Chicago, and it was EXPENSIVE, so we decided to drive until we were tired and just stay somewhere. This was slightly out of my comfort zone, as I ALWAYS have a reservation when I travel. However, Karen travels A LOT, so I knew it would be okay.

We took my car, which was interesting because Karen hasn't driven a standard in quite a few years. I'll save that story for here in a little bit. *grin*

We departed here Monday afternoon, with a long drive ahead of us. I turned on the tunes, and Karen took a short nap to begin the drive. This was my first road trip with Karen, so I wasn't sure what to expect, and the first day was full of a lot of memories.

I drove the first few hours, and when we stopped, Karen offered to drive. I was EXCITED about this because I ALWAYS drive everywhere I go. It is ALWAYS a blessing when someone else drives. (Make note: I don't MIND driving, it's fine. I just enjoy being able to look around at scenery more freely as a passenger.) Karen hadn't driven a manual transmission in YEARS, and it was a lot of fun to have her learn how to do drive it again in my car.

While it was rough in the beginning, she was a quick learner and had the hang of it in no time. I was proud of her, she did really well. *grin*

Around 7-ish one of the tires on the care blew out on the highway. Karen was driving at the time, and I felt awful that a tire blew, but it's not anyone's fault. Those things just happen. Karen was a champ, and after she pulled over we got to work on changing the tire. Okay, Karen did most of the work, but I tried to help when I could. We hit a standstill, and Karen prayed for someone to stop and help us. Sure enough, someone did. *grin* We were back on the road with the spare on it within an hour. While we lost time on it, it was okay. Everyone was safe, and that's what mattered to me more than anything. *grin*

Karen drove the majority of that evening, going slower with the donut, and she didn't complain. She just pushed through. We're a lot like that in that respect, I think.

Around ten we stopped to eat at Culver's. We were both starving, and my food tasted WONDERFUL. We laughed and talked as we ate, and went back on the road.

Around midnight we started looking for a place to stop and sleep. We were both exhausted. We found a place, for MUCH cheaper than what we had seen online, and we were probably 45 minutes from her appointment which was awesome.

We woke up the next day, ate breakfast, and were back on the road. We arrived IN CHICAGO *grin* about an hour before Karen's appointment. I was SO GLAD to be there. After that, we were FREE to do whatever in Chicago.

I didn't really have any expectations of what would happen after the appointment. We were in downtown Chicago, which is a culture in itself. I have never been in a place like that. That's saying a lot too because I live in the greater Kansas City area. *grin*

Her appointment was on the 37th floor of a building at the French Consulate. After her appointment, we looked out a window which I LOVED. We took one look at Lake Michigan from that window, and I grinned. We decided we would go down to the water. *grin*

We came out of the building where her meeting was held, and started walking. We saw a shop that we both wanted to look in. It had more handbags, purses, luggage bags, and backpacks than I've ever seen under one roof. I was amazed to even see the cigarette holder that my Granny B had once upon a time! It cracked me up!

We came out of the shop and started walking and wound up in Millennium Park. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and the park was BEAUTIFUL. We continued to walk over the bridge to the lake. We sat by the lake and just enjoyed the view. It was amazing. It was also FREE. *grin* It was amazing to look over and see the Chicago skyline from where we were. After that, we started to walk back.

Karen was hungry and we stopped in the park and she ate. We walked and talked. My favorite part of the whole thing was the conversations we had. We walked back to the car, and decided we would begin the trip home.

I drove the whole time we were in Chicago, and now appreciate KC traffic in a whole new way. I DID NOT hate the Chicago traffic, but it did stretch me a little bit out of my comfort zone. *grin* It was faster, busier, and downtown the pedestrian traffic kept me on my toes! More than once I think I scared Karen, but she did well and supported me. *grin*

We drove back and stopped for dinner. While we ate, my car got a new tire at the nearby Wal-Mart, which was NICE. After that, we could drive our usual speed. *grin* Karen was such a trooper driving most of Monday going 55 on a donut. She stated that God was stretching her in that capacity, and I can only imagine how true that statement was, as it was a stretch for me in those couple hours. She did it for A LOT longer than I did! *grin*

Perhaps my favorite part was playing the Questions game as we left Chicago, and we played it on the entire drive back. Well, that's a loose term really. I would ask her a question, and she would answer it, and then she would ask me a question. Sometimes that led to some side conversations, and they were ALL very good. *grin* One of my regrets is that I didn't do that the first day.

Monday I listened to music as she slept, and read my book while she drove part of the way, because I thought that's how she did road trips. Sleep & do your own thing. What I found was that I was SO WRONG in that. Looking back, it was stupid of me to think that. I know that Karen and I are great at TALKING. *grin*

On the drive yesterday and today, we did more laughing and talking than I can ever remember having on a road trip. (I drove to Mexico, Missouri last night, where we crashed and Karen drove us here today. She drove on home today as well.)

There was A LOT of laughter, which was amazing to me. In fact, this morning she went to drive my car and slammed on the brakes to avoid an accident and I spilled Pepsi all down my shorts. When she discovered the spill, we were both laughing so hard we were doubled over. *grin* Obviously you had to be there, but it was a highlight of my trip. *grin*

We talked about just about everything girls talk about, I would guess. There were intense moments, as well as light-hearted moments. And parts of those conversations will stick with me the rest of my life.

I'm blessed to have Karen as a friend. I prayed for that several years ago, after I met her. And, the Lord has given me more than I ever expected in our friendship. And even though she's leaving the country to do what God has created her to do, that's okay. I really feel like this is the beginning of a great, life-long friendship-one that is centered in the Lord. I LOVE THAT!

We swapped phrases that each other says. For example, I learned that Karen says:
there ya go.
sorry. (a lot!)

I learned that I bite my lip when I'm deep in thought. (didn't know that!)
I'm just a little bit stubborn when it comes to me receiving physical assistance at times. *grin* (Luggage today)

I LOVE music. And I learned that while Karen enjoys music, she doesn't need it going ALL THE TIME. In the end, that proved to bless us both as we didn't have ANY music on today at all, but we talked. I was glad. *grin* I would rather talk to her now while she's here. I can listen to music any time.

When we got back here, we prayed. Laura and I used to do that too after our road trips. Praying with Karen at the end was fun. I will be praying for her as she steps out into her next chapter of her life. She's going to do AMAZING things with Him in other nations! *grin*

In the end, I learned that I would like to travel a little more. I don't know what that means, as I have never had that desire before. But to see Chicago (even the little bit that I saw) made me realize I haven't seen very much at all of our beautiful nation. Perhaps with my future spouse there's some traveling to be done. Who knows. *grin*

A road trip that I hadn't planned on going on wound up being the most fun I've had in a while. Thank You, Lord!

And, thanks Karen. Without the invitation I would have missed out on an unforgettable trip with you.


1 comment:

Kirra said...

Chicago is a great city, and I hope you get a chance to go back and enjoy it. I've been twice and cannot wait to go back!!

I'm looking for people to share their testimonies on my blog. Is that something you would be interested in doing?