Going Away Dinner

‘Til the fat lady sings.

Going away parties before my 'round the world travels.

The last few weeks have been full of goodbyes and going away parties before my ’round the world travels.

It started when Heather visited my work to drop off a sweatshirt I’d left behind and some mail that didn’t get forwarded. She was going out of town for her job and so it would be the last time I’d see her before leaving.

And then Eric took me out for a quesadilla lunch and to loot the storage room at work (please note: I did not actually steal anything although he tried to get me to take a box of cassette tapes).

And then Julie had her going away party, which allowed me to eat some deep dish pizza and finally meet Joe and Alina’s baby.

Giordanos pizza

Joe and Kian

And then I went to Stir Crazy with my best friends from high school. And we decided that I need to make a valumentary of my valventures. And we decided that I need to open a V&V (like a b&b but with vino and vicodin) (on Harlem). And we decided that while traveling I need to meet a princess who looks just like me and switch places in a hilarious scheme.

Stir fry at stir crazy

Chocolate mousse at Stir Crazy

And then we had a going away party at work. And we stopped working at 4pm and drank wine. And in 3 hours I drank at least 6 glasses and threw up in the Metra bathroom the whole way home.

And then the next day I left the opera house for the last time and cried as I looked back at the building across the river.

And then I had a party at the Four Moon. And I saw some old friends and some new friends. And I didn’t drink much because I was still hungover from the night before. And my sister found a new godfather for her son to be. And I had meatloaf. And we still have no idea who is in the painting with Mickey Mouse.

Meatloaf at Four Moon Tavern

Val and Sid at Four Moon Tavern

Val, Jen, and Andrew at Four Moon Tavern

And then I went out with my family for dinner at the Clubhouse in Oak Brook. And I had calamari and short ribs and chocolate cake and strawberry lemonade. And I said goodbye to my 2 year old nephew who I’m not even sure knows who I am.

Going away dinner at Clubhouse

Going away dinner at Clubhouse

Going away dinner at Clubhouse

And then I went out for milkshakes and pizza and improv with Mat.

And then I got dinner with Nadia. And we shared chicken and lamb and banana fosters crepes and caught up on so many things.

Roast chicken at Mon Ami Gabi

Lamb shank at Mon Ami Gabi

Banana foster crepes at Mon Ami Gabi

And then I met MK for lunch and he helped me transfer my 401k into an IRA. And we got Portillos and decided some day we’re going to drive to the one in California for lunch.

Portillos dipped beef sandwich

And then I said goodbye to Mat.

And I’ve cried a lot.

And tonight I go to a wedding in the city.

And say goodbye to Chicago.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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