Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Chicagos

I woke up in Chicago today- woke up in a Four Season's hotel room, with a full view of the lake, with the bright sun bouncing off the water and straight into my eyes. I sprang out of bed and slammed the black out drapes closed, but there was at least 2 seconds before I realized how early it was and how little sleep I'd gotten and how scratchy my eyes and throat felt, that I just felt happy. And now after two extra post-sunrise hours of sleep, I'm back to pure happiness. I really truly love this beautiful city.

I flew up yesterday morning to attend a 1L recruiting event at the law school. I went to this event last year at 6 months pregnant, and while that was fun, it was a whole lot more fun without the big baby belly and with the drinking of alcohol. I love recruiting - love talking about being a lawyer, love talking about my firm (which, even if I have occasional bouts of job dissatisfaction really is a fabulous place to work), love talking to law students, love excuses to be back in Chicago on the corporate expense account doing all of the above... I only wish I could stay longer. But I made the trip count- I flew in early so I could meet two of my best friends from law school for lunch, one of whom lives in Chicago and one of whom lives in NYC but was here with her own firm for the event. I wish I could force all my law school friends to move down south- law school gave me the closest group of girl friends I've had since middle school and I miss them so much when we're scattered around the U.S. (and we really are scattered: Chicago, NYC, DC, Boston, LA, Austin). But at least I'm comforted with our regular visits and the fact that time disappears any time we're together. After lunch I spent over an hour walking around my city. I miss walking and I really miss living in a city with a bustling downtown.

I headed to the southside at 4, and at some point during the cab ride I realized that I've now been out of law school for just about as long as I was in it. That struck me for some reason. I'm really a lawyer now, and I like it. I've never looked at the law students and wished to be back in their shoes. I miss my friends, I miss the life of a student, and I now have an appreciation and almost awe for just how much the University of Chicago taught me how to think about the law, but I'm quite happy on this side of the JD. The event went very well. I was by myself because the UChicago hiring partner couldn't make it, but that was just as well because I got to be much less formal and just have fun chatting with all the students who came by my table. After the event I took two of our future summer associates out for dinner. It was a Tuesday night, so I assumed most restaurants would have plenty of tables, but no, apparently lots of people eat out at fancy places at 8 pm on Tuesday. Given my usual Tuesday night routine of working on the couch while watching Glee and maybe enjoying a small glass of wine, this kind of blew my mind. A mid-week social life, what?

Dinner was lots of fun. I like our two summers a lot, though neither of them will be in the Austin office. We finished up at 11:30 (11:30! pm! it was madness) after a dessert of warm brownies with homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (We ate at Gilt Bar- if you live in Chicago, go there and order the roast chicken, it's insanely good. I've never had my mouth water over a chicken entree, I'm a steak girl all the way, but this was pretty much the best chicken I've ever had in my life). I've been sleeping terribly the past few days- getting 4 and 5 hours of cobbled together tossing and turning, so I took two strong sleeping pills, crawled in bed, and prayed for some rest. And I got it- at least until the sun came up.

So it's been a good trip. I loved being back in the law school- without the stress of being a student, it's really a lovely place. Several classmates were there with their firm, so it's a mini reunion of sorts, and I got to see a few old professors. The only downside is losing an entire day and a half of billable hours, but it was worth it. And now I'm heading home in an hour to my little Clairebiscuit, who I really missed, and my Lanman, who no one could believe is about to turn 4. I can't either. In my mind, the time since I've graduated always feels like about a year, it's really hard to believe it's been three.

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