America 2017: Day Thirty-Seven (26 November)

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto


– Elvis Presley

Sunday 26 November

Arlington Heights, IL

Slept like a log last night after a long but fun day. Woke up just before 8:00am, downed a coffee, had a shower and we were out the door an hour later, headed to brunch with the Longhini’s. I don’t think we’ve ever been to a breakfast joint with those guys that isn’t awesome, and Honey-Jam Café in Downers Grove didn’t disappoint.

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We figured it was going to be a good spot when we arrived and found out that we had a 25-minute wait for breakfast. I mean, it’s not always a guarantee, but we waited outside in the sun, talking up a storm, and when we sat down to eat, the food was fantastic. I had a Mexican omelette, with jalapenos and all sorts of other fantastic stuff, and it came with two pancakes. That’s basically two meals, for less than the price that we’d pay for one back home. It was really, really good and I was really, really full.

Headed back to Arlington Heights after breakfast to drop mum and dad back to the house, then Nathan and I headed back towards Chicago to meet up with Matt and Miles for the Chicago Bulls (NBA basketball) game downtown at the United Centre.

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Thanks, Miles!

Anyone who knows me or has read these blogs in the past knows how much I love Matt and Jaimie (and their kids Brooke, Miles, Paige and Graham) and how much fun I have hanging out with them. More often than not, we stay in their basement when we’re over here, which is a tonne of fun as well. Everyone I know here has been amazing, but Matt and Jaimie are especially so, letting us be a part of their family once a summer.

It was fun to get to hang out with Matt and Miles at the family-friendly 2:30pm game along with Allan (who appeared in these pages on Friday) and of course, Nathan. Even if the Bulls are perhaps one of the worst teams in the NBA this year. The legacy of the legendary Michael Jordan – they call United Centre ‘The House that Jordan Built’ – lives on, not just with people still wearing his #23 jersey, but statues, championship banners, photos and other memorabilia, but those days are long gone in Chicago, and it will probably be a while before the Bulls are competing for championships again.

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Bulls won six titles in the 1990s. Incredible run!

One of the most memorable experiences of the day was having our photos taken with the Bulls cheerleaders, which Miles will in future doubtless remember as being one of the best days of his young life. And our tickets were pretty good, front row of the club level, with in-seat service, so people brought food and drink to our seats so we didn’t have to miss the action.

The game was actually closer than I expected, and we had a pretty smooth run out of the United Centre, back to Lombard, where Mum and Dad arrived by Uber, and where Jaimie, Brooke, Paige and Graham also arrived. We ate dinner at DMK Burger Bar, halfway between us and the Alley’s, and which also happens to be one of Matt’s favourite places to eat. I had the #4 from the menu, as recommended by Will, and that hit the spot beautifully: had a great chilli bite to it.

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Love these guys!

It was a great end to another great day – there’ve been so many of those over the past thirty-seven days. Sadly, only four left here before we begin the long journey home on Friday morning. Not particularly glad to be leaving – never am, leaving here – and going back to work after six weeks off is going to be rough, but still plenty of cool things to come here before all of that. Starting tomorrow in downtown Chicago.


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