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Travel: Chicago & Suburbs, Illinois

I have a little soft spot in my heart for Chicago. Not only is it a really fun city, it’s home to some of my favorite people – and memories – in the world.

After leaving California and landing in Chicago with Gina and her mum (randomly ended up on the same plane!), we headed for Gina’s house. Now, for the record, I love their house so much. It’s exactly how an American house should be in my mind, and I just feel bad for landing in like hurricane CLS, with my chaos and calamities!

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I’m kind of past tourism now for the most part. I mean, I won’t say no, but I feel like my life genuinely revolves around America, and I’m more interested in integrating and sharing moments with my friends than anything else. The next few days were complete with awesome food (suits me) and new friends. I got an amazing sweetie/candy haul from Walmart (where interestingly, you can also buy gun ammunition), and the assortment of stuff I got there was enough to keep me happy ages! Cake flavored vodka, Cookie Dough Oreos and White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms. Wow. We also visited the Cheesecake Factory, which is one of my all time favorite restaurants, and I got to try Buffalo Wild Wings, too. So many different types of boneless wings. YUM. NB: You should leave your guns at home to visit either of these places. No, seriously. If I had to be told via a sign at the door, so should you…!!!

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Thursday night was supposed to be movie night, but since a load of Gina’s friends could not make it, we just spent the evening gossiping with her friend Stephanie, who’s super fun, and a total character. I had a really nice night, and it’s times like that which make me resent not living in the USA… Gina and I are so different, and yet so similar, so it’s always hard to think she lives on the other side of the world!

The Friday brought Riot Fest, which is the festival the entire trip was built to coincide with. I was actually working, and you can read my official write up here, on Alter The Press!. My own personal experience of the Friday was that it was a bit of a wash out and I just wasn’t punk rock enough to hack the rain. We totally bailed early.

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The Saturday was loads better. The sun was shining, and aside from the b-e-e-s (I don’t even like reading that word, argh!), I had a ton of fun. One of my absolute best boys, Luis, managed to get in thanks to a pass we grabbed for him, and so the day was a total blast.

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10662194_629223250531184_3131207499244241521_oGina and I had such fun, and some of my all time faves played. Whilst I may have been a little tipsy and received a stern telling off by dear Luis, I got to watch The Used, Taking Back Sunday and more.

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The night time brought all of the drama (but lots of excitement). Luis and I headed off to a bar. I’d say the trip should have taken about 20-30 minutes, but we were on that damn bus for about two hours. It was enough for me to sober up though, so off we went as soon as we got in and headed out to drink some more. I can’t really write a whole lot about that night, other than to say that his friends are pretty cool and they definitely served alcohol there. It was messy as hell.

Sunday was supposed to start earlier than it did, but there might have been a few hangovers to deal with and tales of the previous night to die in shame at. I headed to Riot Fest kind of late, a little subdued, but mostly excited to see some more bands. The day did not disappoint, and after a Parahoy throwback, I was watching the legends that are The Cure. Not bad for a day’s work!

Monday was probably my least favorite day of the trip. Not only did I have to leave Gina (boo) and her mum, who’s always so kind, but I felt pretty rubbish. I also almost got murdered on a train (kind of true story… this man was talking about HIV, crack and how he could ‘murder everyone on the train’, but a lovely man saved me!). PLUS I decided drinking when not feeling well was a smart idea, so it wasn’t my finest hour.

By the time Tuesday rolled around, I felt absolutely dire. Ten parts regret, mixed with a splash of a hangover, mixed with a culmination of genuine sickness, forgotten contact lenses and the reality of leaving, I can honestly say it just sucked. I was caught between being ready to leave and see Dougie, and the temptation to stay forever.

I decided to leave, and spent the next few days feeling ill. Stupid festival fever! I’d say ‘rock and roll’ – but it definitely didn’t feel that way. Definitely feeling the post-USA depression…