Monday, November 3, 2014

Go All Blacks!!!

After our trip to SE Asia, we flew in to Chicago for the most exciting sporting event of all time. Now I'm not normally a sports girl, but when my husband and I started dating, he introduced me to rugby. Being from New Zealand, he was a PROUD All Blacks fan, so he and I watched the Rugby World Cup in 2011 in the wee hours of the morning. We watched every game that NZ was in...staying up until 1am or waking up at 4am for the game (thanks to it being held on the other side of the world).  They ended up winning 8-7 to France in the from that time on, I was an All Blacks fan.  So back in June 2014 I found out that the All Blacks were coming to the US for the first time since the 1980s to play. It's pretty much a huge deal, so I decided to make it work and buy tickets. When the SE Asia trip rolled around, everything worked out perfectly because Chicago was a stop on our route we just decided to have an extended layover :)

We landed in the afternoon on Halloween.  In Asia the average temperature was 80-90 something degrees...when we got in to Chicago, it was about 30. And we didn't have any winter clothes, or closed toed shoes for that matter...WHAT?!?@!?@!? Talk about a temperature shock! It was snowing on the train ride to town and when we got off the subway stop near our hotel, we had to run through what had turned in to freezing rain about 4 blocks to where we were staying.  I felt like I was going to die.  Andrew's mom was coming in the town the next morning with all of our winter gear...but it was Halloween so we decided to run to the shops to buy some shoes and a coat so that we could go out. We stayed at the International Hostel (which is pretty nice for a hostel, just in case you were wondering) which was really convenient to everything. We checked in then went up the street to hit the DSW for boots and then Macy's for a coat.  Both for me because Andrew had closed toed shoes and he felt he could suffer through the cold until his mom came the next day.

Macy's in Chicago is fantastic...but only because it used to be Marshall Fields. My mom lived in Chicago for a while growing up and her mother modeled for Marshall Fields so I especially love it.  I had a great time going up the escalator, seeing all of the Christmas decor, and then finding the perfect down coat :) After shopping we headed over to a pub that supposedly had great Chicago style pizza.  Andrew had never been to Chicago, therefore he hadn't ever had their we figured why not?  It ended up being delicious...and while there we saw the Pope (remember it's Halloween), so I would say we had a pretty great night ;)

The next day was the big day...the day I would see the All Blacks play, in person, for the first time.  I was SOOO EXCITEDDDD! We started by meeting Andrew's family at their hotel just a block away. We got ready in our fancy All Blacks gear that I had bought online a few months prior, and painted our faces...I pretty much had the best fern uni-brow ever (unintentional but I went with it).  While we got ready we did a bit of pre-gaming before we headed out to tailgate with my sister-in-law's rugby friends. She plays rugby up in Boston, soooooo they were pretty much the best people to tailgate with haha. After a few drinks at the tailgating area, Andrew and I decided we needed to rush in to the game so that we didn't miss the infamous New Zealand haka.  It's pretty much the best thing ever as you can see below (note Ali Williams favorite player that unfortunately retired from the team)...

Anyway - in came the All Blacks...they did the haka (it gave me chills) and then the game was off.  We had awesome seats, not so much because of where they were, but because of who was around us.  We had a great mix of USA fans and All Blacks fans.  It was so much fun watching it with them because the USA fans KNEW that they were going to get they just laughed the whole way through with us.  The final score was brutal...74 to 6...poor USA...

After the game we went back to the girls hotel and my husband passed out haha. Poor jet lagged thing. He was SO tired and his mom ended up falling asleep too haha.  So I hung out with the girls. They're crazy. And it was great. But I was getting soooooo tired. When my husband and mother-in-law woke up we decided to go get some food. We walked down to a lovely diner called Eleven City Diner. Pretty good! I definitely suggest it! However, after that, we were all stuffed...and tired...and jet rather than going out with the crazed fans...we were lame and fell asleep early.

The next morning we were up early so we decided to take my husbands mom to breakfast. His sister had just got back to their hotel like an hour earlier (if only I could party that hard) so my mother-in-law snuck out and came to eat with us at Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe...Talk about AMAZING! There was a huge wait to get in, but once we were was go time. I hadn't had a real American breakfast in over a my husband and I went to town. 
After breakfast we decided to check out some shops with my husbands mom before she left to go back home.  As we were walking around we kept running in to NZ fans and Andrew and I were wearing some of our gear so we kept getting nods and "how ya going?"s.  It was pretty cute.  We did a bit of shopping and then said our good-byes and decided to walk to the Navy Pier.  Bad idea...because I was in new boots...and the pier was ages away.  After an hour and a half we finally got to the pier. I was so pooped...and Andrew was so pooped....we took a look at the view, went and ate a hot dog and then turned right back around to find the subway. We grabbed our stuff from our hotel, and then headed back on to the subway to the airport.  While at the airport, my husband fell asleep under the chairs in the terminal...classic. We got home that night around 10pm.  We were tired...but we did it.  We made it back from SE Asia, to Chicago, through the cold, and our first New Zealand All Blacks game together...and it was great.

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