Thursday, June 5, 2008


Post by: Beth

This past weekend, we had planned to take a trip to Chicago to see one of my best friends, Jenny, and also some of Raja's friends from business school. We left Friday evening immediately after work and had plans to arrive there about 11pm Friday night. Some of you may have heard that there were several tornadoes Friday evening in Springfield, IL... If you did, you heard about what Raja and I encountered on our drive to Chicago. We literally got stuck between 2 tornadoes. On the highway. Between humongous fields. With the only exit 8 miles away.

Oh yeah, and the exit 8 miles away?? That's where the tornado in front of us was.

Seriously.. never been so scared. Actually saw a funnel cloud. Called my parents to tell them I might be about to die in a tornado. Think very large hail, crazy flashes of lightning, black clouds, fields, REALLY LOUD tornado warning sirens, torrential downpours, black skies, and Raja saying "It's okay sweetheart.. just put your shoes on and try to stay real calm.. as calm as you can" (I usually ride in the car w/out my shoes on if they're heels) and me thinking "OMG.. i'm going to have to run to a ditch and lie down.. this is why he wants to put my shoes on."

Luckily, we made it out of it.. After the radio station said the tornado was gone from Divernon, IL (the small town at the exit 8 miles away) we drove to that exit (not an easy drive for Raja.. I'm crying hysterically, the wind is blowing us all over the highway, we can barely see the road at all, and I keep screaming everytime lightning flashes close to us) , got off and took shelter in a gas station with a bunch of other people who were doing the same thing. Raja called his brother and got him to check the radar to see when it would pass, and he told us when it was safe to finally leave the gas station, about 45 minutes later.

FINALLY we made it to Chicago... we're both still a bit rattled, but we arrived and my friend Jenny was waiting for us at the nice hour of midnight. We pretty much went straight to bed and got up in the late morning to start out trek to downtown Chicago in search of Chicago-style pizza.

And we found it. Jenny knew of this restaurant that served the most unique pizzas I've ever seen. They were basically pies made out of dough that had the filling inside. The waitress set the pie down upside down, placed a small glass bowl on the bottom, and cut around the bowl in order to create a hole in the middle so you could eat the filling out of the center. They also served this REALLY yummy flatbread with spices all over it. Here you can see one of the pizzas, and the big piece of flatbread.

After eating, we took some time to walk around downtown Chicago and see the sights. I took lots of pictures because it was GORGEOUS outside that day.

Next up, Raja wanted to get a haircut an old-fashioned style barber shop downtown. He had one in New York and misses it dearly now, so we took advantage of the city so he could get his hair cut. While he did that, Jenny and I visited the nail salon. :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent at the pool... One of Raja's friends in Chicago, Chris, lives right downtown and was nice enough to invite us to come lay out on such a pretty day. I took some great photos of the city while we were driving to his apartment building.

That night, we'd planned to go out downtown, so we went back to Chris's apartment to meet before we left to go out. His balcony has an amazing view of the city, so Jenny and I took her camera up there to take some night photos. In the second picture, that tall building you see is actually one of Trump's buildings that's being constructed.

We had a great time out that night... Chicago is a really fun town, and it was great for Raja to see his friends, and I got to talk with Jenny for a whole uninterrupted night. (That never happens since we live so far apart!) By the time we popped into the last bar, Jenny's feel hurt really badly, I'd tried to convince her to let me trade heels with her (I wear a size and a half smaller than her), and we'd laughed ALOT. The night ended with Raja hailing a cab designed for wheelchairs, then somehow deciding that this was great because he had so much leg room. In his words, "handicapped people have all the luck." I'm pretty sure he's rethought the irrational statement he made at 4am, but still... pretty funny at the time.
The next morning, we slept in a bit then Jenny, Raja & I went to Red Robin for lunch before Raja & I started the drive home. All in all, we had a GREAT weekend in Chicago and it was so much fun to see our friends. I hope you enjoyed our little tour-by-pictures of our trip. :)
Next up for this weekend: Going home for Raja's 10 year reunion! We'll let you know how it goes!


Rhonda Walker said...

No Oprah?
I figured she would be all over Chicago. I mean her name that is.
Yeah the worst of your trip had to be the tornado. Getting the call with you hysterical was really not a good feeling here at the ole homestead that's for sure. But you keep those calls coming because even a hysterical call is better than no call. =) Actually we can laugh about it now but at the time it wasn't funny at all. When you first called I thought you were playing and was laughing so much I couldn't really understand you. It reminded me of the night you and Raja had that wreck and you called crying and then my phone that you were using went dead. Phew..I thought Greg gave me all the gray hair. lol
Love you guys, Mom

Hershbine Family said...

Soooo JEALOUS!! I love Chicago!! Only been one time... but it was one of my favorite trips ever. I want to go back. Okay and I am a little confused but, did you just post this and the date says June 4th or have I been overlooking it for a week and a half. If so, I hope ya'll had fun at the reunion. My 10 years was okay... but I was about 8 months pregnant at the time... feeling huge is not the best time to meet up with people you have not seen in ten years. Jody's 15 and 20, however were both a ton of fun and I did not know anyone but jody's best friend and his wife, and I was not pregnant. Cant wait to hear about it.

Hershbine Family said...

BTW... my outlook has been down for a while... and jody has fixed it but I have lost all of my information that I had before. Will you send me your email, phone, and address please... I am trying to build my contacts back up

Dave and Carrie Tyson said...

Hi sweet girl! Wowzers! I've been catching up. You have done such a great job of blogging and doing the whole facebook thing. It has been a blessing being able to read everything. I love your wedding photos, you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! My favorite pix is your facebook profile pix, that is definitely your color. Hope you are enjoying St. Louis. I have a few friends there who love it. Keep in touch.

Rhett and Jana said...

Hey Beth!
I can't believe I found your blog! I came across Carrie's blog and saw your link and I had to click on it to see how you were doing. I see your mom every once in awhile so I try to keep up with you. You look like you are very happy! It was so good to read about you and Raja. We have a blog and I would love to hear from you when you get a chance.

Jana Winters Gallego

Hershbine Family said...

seriously... it is time for a new post. :0)