Shortly after my returning from a stint in Japan, a sibling wedding, and the first days at a new job, I had the pleasure of snagging May from the airport to spend a bit more time together. With Peruvian visa finally in hand, she was free to head south to start a new career. I was pleased to find that her itinerary would allow us the better part of a week together, and we had plenty yet to strike from our Chicago To Do List. On one evening we grabbed a proper dinner at my former Italian restaurant, and a flick at the local nickelodeon. May had been keen to see The Martian way back when the previews first hit, and though I’m sure it was just to see Matt Damon, I got brownie points for both remembering and making it happen. These glasses did something odd to our eyes.
On one night we got up to a little bowling at the new 257 over at Woodfield. For as long as I’ve known May, she’d never taken any interest in the proud Midwestern sport, but the variety of lesser-known Chicago brewery offerings may have had something to do with her willingness. Mostly though, we were just looking for something new to do.‘Deka Ketsu’ and ‘MayChank’ bowled their two games, and May was pretty impressed with my barely three figure score. She struggled a bit with the consistency aspect of the game, which I figured would be solved by the handicap roller. I was wrong, and the ball continued on wherever it pleased. We experimented with a number of grips and approaches before finding one that seemed to work.
Although it was the beginning of October, May wanted to do something for the birthday I would be celebrating towards the end of the month – I’d be turning the big 2-8 after all. Determined to cook for me, (she’s better than any restaurant) I was given the option of either a western or Japanese menu. I of course opted for the latter, and she then suggested that I invite some my friends to join in on the festivities. I could offer only a day of notice, but there were a few people keen on the idea of food and friends.
All stops were pulled, and I was agog at the spread. She had labored a full day with the cooking and cleaning. With such short notice I hadn’t had the chance to get things as guest-ready as my host nature preferred, but all was taken care of by the time I got home from work. For the feast, she had prepared some roll-your-own-sushi, delicious beers, hijiki salad (an absolute favorite of mine) and an Argentine cake complete with candels. I was able to scrounge up a few treats as well from my own pantry, like a can of whale. (“It’s the red meat of the sea!”) Her special treatment was very much appreciated! Though she went all out on this particular evening, I made a number of culinary contributions during her stay as well.
The time spent was fantastic, but sped by far too quickly. It felt like after no time at all we were already returning to the airport. Fun times abounded throughout the short stay, but there was a quietness brought on by not knowing when the next opportunity might come. Time and distance are always easier with something on the horizon, but we were without such luxury.