Chi-Town / by Deborah Clague

We awoke early on very, very little sleep. Our flight would leave at 5:30am, Toronto-bound, before we transferred to our final destination – my favourite city in North America, Chicago. 

I previously visited Chi-Town in 2011 and was completely mesmerized by the architecture. My hometown, Winnipeg, is often referred to as "Chicago of the North" for its turn-of-the-century Exchange District (which is beautiful and led to my appreciation for preserving historically relevant structures). But the buildings in Chicago are beyond that. They are larger than life in scale, detail and opulence. It is impossible to not be awestruck by their majesty. This would be my best friend's first time in the city. At the airport, we both buzzed with excitement. 

Until the first delay was announced. 

Then the second. 

There was a fuel leak and we wouldn't be leaving for at least seven hours, missing our T.O. connection. The crowd was getting antsy. I predicted it would be a stampede when re-ticketing was announced and, sure enough, it was. At that moment I realized I seriously needed to apply for 'The Amazing Race Canada' as I would totally kick ass. Navigating through the cranky horde, my fine foot work and agility got me to the head of the line. We were going to be re-routed through Calgary and arrive in Chicago a few hours later than previously scheduled. Awesome. I managed to score a food voucher as apology for the delay and could maintain my chill. 

Until that flight was also delayed. 

Because of snow. 

On October 3. 

F-U-C-K. 

When we finally got on the hour-long flight to Calgary, I compared our landing time to the departure of the flight to Chicago. We had 10 minutes to land, disembark, go through customs, go through security and then make it to the gate. My friend assured me we could do it; I, however, have always been more of a realist. I wasn't sure my fine footwork or complete willingness to take out strangers like a linebacker would suffice. When we got off the plane though, I hit the ground running to at least TRY.  

Calgary International (YYC) is one of my most hated airports. The signage is pathetic. The layout is unnecessarily confusing. I had a vague idea as to where to go though and I flew. I kept looking back at my friend as she kept trailing further and further behind. Sidenote: one should never wear heels for air travel. The fiercely competitive part of me needed to keep going. To feel the rush of jubilation as we successfully boarded the plane. The loyal part of me though needed to stop. Chicago just wouldn't be as fun without the Louise to my Thelma. We took a breather by the luggage carousal and then carried on at a much more practical pace. 

Despite being fifteen minutes late, we made the flight. Amazingly, the airline held it. The look of annoyance on everyone's face as we boarded was harsh but I had effectively achieved the goal I set out for myself AND my friend made it too, slightly disheveled but still looking fabulous.

I am SO applying for 'The Amazing Race Canada'.