(These notes are from a Winter Break Chicago trip with Nate and Tommy, 1-6-2016. My first time on an Amtrak train, and my first time going to Chicago specifically to sight-see.)

The train seats two people next to each other on each side. Tommy and Nate are sitting in front of me, because I have a book and thought I could keep myself occupied. But I’ve finished my book, and now I’m reaching a mild stage of boredom. There’s little to see outside because all of the trees have dropped their leaves in preparation for the winter, and the snowfalls up until now have left the landscape cold and brown. Two men beside me hold a rapid conversation in Spanish, which makes me wish I could speak more than basic, survivalist Spanglish. I’m going to text my mom and tell her what my plans are for the day. A day trip to Chicago to begin 2016: who would have guessed that I would become such a traveler after only a year “abroad” in Iowa?
I’m not coughing anymore, but there’s still something in my throat. I can feel it when I take a breath and when I clear my throat (as I frequently do, even on normal weeks). I don’t know whether to believe Ally that this is as serious as she thinks it might be (try diagramming that sentence), but in any case it’s getting better.
We should reach Union Station in a half hour or so. I don’t know what we’ll do when we’re there, but there’s plenty of opportunities to have adventures in Chicagoland.

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