The best St. Pat's ever

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm doing a little Take Me Back Tuesday (is that a thing?). I'm taking it way back to 2007. Let me set the stage: I'd just graduated from undergrad at UF in December '06 and moved to Chicago in the middle of a blizzard in February like a crazy person.

Penny and I were living in the most adorable studio apartment in The Loop. I didn't have my car there - it was left behind at my mom's in Florida - and I walked or took the train everywhere. I was living the big city, professional life from the movies and even though I could basically only pay my rent and nothing else on my paid internship hourly rate, I loved everything about living there. I was only in Chi Town for a few months before returning to sunny Florida for grad school.
The view from my apartment. LOVE.

Penny and I have been through it all together! Ah, to be 22 again (and for Penny to be 2 again)
Just a few weeks after moving to Chicago was St. Patrick's Day. Everyone at work kept saying how amazing St. Pat's in Chicago was. I heard stories of a green river, green beer, green everything as far as one could see. I was pretty excited, and even more so that my mom and her friend Tom were coming to visit that weekend to see what the fuss was all about. 
Mom and I got into the festivities

amid the masses

Up to that point, every single St. Pat's of my life had been spent in Florida where it was warm enough to swim. We lucked out that March 17 fell on a Saturday that year but didn't get so lucky with the weather: snow. It actually wasn't all that cold (relatively speaking) and only snowed for a little bit but it was still a shock to this Floridian girl's system. 

The dying in progress
We got up early that morning and hit Michigan Ave with about a hundred thousand other people and headed for the river. I couldn't wrap my mind around how they were going to dye the Chicago River green but wanted to see them do it. The secret? Leprechauns in boats. Naturally. (Ok, maybe not leprechauns - who am I to assume?)

Me, Mom and Tom
Chicagoans get into St. Pat's like no one else I've ever seen. It wasn't difficult to find a green beer at 9am to accompany my coffee. There was actually an Irish pub on the street level of my apartment building and another just down the street, so that was convenient. I actually wasn't much of a beer drinker at the time so it was more about the people watching for me. And the people did not disappoint.

There were girls dressed up in tiny skirts and and homemade shirts that read "Erin Go Braless" among other more, er, scandalous things. How they weren't freezing their you-know-whats off, I'm not sure. There were men who'd been drinking all day a-la bachelor party style, ogling the minimally-dressed girls. Then there were a lot of people like us just trying not to step in the questionable puddle on the street (is that beer or...?) and get to the front of the next beer line. The closest thing I've seen to this city-wide party is a Saturday night on Bourbon Street in NOLA.

Anyway, suffice it to say: it was a ton of fun. I haven't had a St. Pat's that entertaining since, and I'd love to go back to Chicago for another round! (Would make a super fun girl's weekend or Bachelorette party!) In the meantime, I'll continue to wear my green every March 17 and reminisce about my days in the Windy City.


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