Monday, January 28, 2008

Choose your own birthday gift

Yesterday, Torsten and I were having lunch at the little Italian place down the street from our apartment when he idly asked me what I'd like for my birthday, which is in March. And I really didn't know what to say.

It was the first time, really, that there just hasn't been much that I need or want. Part of it is that in general if there's something I want, I just get it, like a pair of boots or whatever. And part of it is that I'm gifted out. I have all the jewelry I need, and I don't want jewelry to become the standard gift for Torsten to get me anyway. I have a great camera, an iPod, and a cell phone--what other gadgets do I need? Nothing, really, or at least nothing that's in our price range. Sure, I'd take a Nikon D300 with accompanying macro lens, but the multi-thousand dollar price tag is just a tad more than we want to spend.

Anyway, I mulled over the question for awhile, and then I realized that really, if we're going to be spending money on things we don't need? I'd rather go somewhere fun than get something tangible. I don't have any spare vacation time, but my birthday falls on a Sunday, and I can get that Friday off through my compressed workweek benefit, so we could easily take a three-day weekend somewhere not too far away.

And the best part? I suggested the weekend getaway, and then we both sat there in silence, and then I said, "I'd like to go to Chicago" just as Torsten opened his mouth to say, "Chicago?" Because we're good like that.

So when we got home I went on all the travel deal websites and found us a fantastic package--round trip airfare plus three nights at a nice hotel for an extremely reasonable price. And the flight is even out of a local airport, so we won't have to break that vow I made about not flying out of BWI again.

So! We're going to Chicago for my birthday! And I am REALLY excited. I haven't been to Chicago (debate tournaments at the University of Chicago excluded) for five years. It's one of my favourite American cities, and in fact for years I wanted to live there, until I realized I probably couldn't handle the winters. I loved it so much that I already own guidebooks about it--that I've read cover to cover. Seriously, it's a fabulous city.

What about you? If you were taking a weekend birthday trip, where would you go?

65 comments:

lspoon said...

Hmmm, weekend trip to anywhere? Probably a date with my bed. I'm so boring and I'm forever tired. :)

Sounds like you're going to have a wonderful birthday!

JMC said...

First of all, I also covet that Nikon D300, and I also will not be getting it anytime soon. Hmmm... a place to go for a long weekend. Assuming I wouldn't have to take my kids, I saw enough of NYC on the few quick trips I've made there (spending less than an hour actually in the city each time), that I'm intrigued enough to want to go for a long weekend. With kids... no idea. With kids, you lose so much convenience not being home that it's hardly worth it, but there's a lodge in Vermont with a lot of kid-friendly things that I have a brochure on around here somewhere, so maybe there.

dreamgirl said...

UM -- i want to go to chicago SO BAD!! but i want to go when its warmer, and since this whole wedding thing is happening I doubt it will be in 2008. take lots of pics i can't wait to hear all about it!! :)

bridgid said...

I, too, love Chicago, because even though I'm in a big city when I'm there, it doesn't seem like it. It's one of the cleanest cities with some of the nicest people. But, yes, the winter is very cold and all of the tall buildings seem to really facilitate the winter wind whipping around and being kinda unpleasant. That's such a fun birthday gift, I'm jealous!

Lacey Bean said...

San Francisco or Charleston. :)

And that sounds like a great birthday present! Hopefully it wont be too cold!!

bluesunday said...

I'd pick Toronto! It's one of my favorite cities by far, and there's sooo much cool stuff to do there. Chicago is our favorite US city, so I think you made an awesome choice. I recommend a trip to Shedd Aquarium (if you haven't already been). The Chicago museums are great, too. I'm excited for you guys!!!

RA said...

I have wanted to visit Chicago for as long as I can remember; those winters don't scare me! Of course, I say that from the mildness of the mid-Atlantic.

Could you visit a fantastic art gallery for me? Or that shiny jellybean sculpture? Or eat a slice of deep-dish pizza? I strive to live vicariously.

Jummy said...

I heartily approve of a mini-vacation as a birthday gift. Kudos to Torsten for asking early.

I'd go to NYC, only because I've never been (only driven through) and everyone should go to NYC at least once in their life, right?

Hazel said...

i spent my 21st birthday weekend in chicago, which is also in march, and had a blast. granted, i'd been there several times before that, but it's always an adventure down on michigan ave and exploring new places.

i'd definitely spend another birthday there in a heartbeat!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Chicago! Why not Boston?!

Kidding. I've never loved Chicago, but that is only because the couple of times I've been I've gone with lame people who like to do lame things. I bet I would love it if I got to go with fun people like you and Torsten.

Michelle said...

hmm that's a tough question. i would like to visit chicago someday. but i'd love to go to vegas too. and nashville. i don't know what i'd pick!

A.P. said...

i know how ya feel about the gift thing. i was like that at Christmas this past year. everyone kept asking what I wanted and i kept saying i have everything i want/need.

annnnd i'm not sure where i would go for just a wknd..too many places to choose from!

pseudostoops said...

Well, I LIVE in Chicago (come see me when you're in town! Seriously! I'll take you guys out for food or drinks or something!) so it wouldn't be a good 3-day weekend destination for us, but I am super psyched for our upcoming president's day weekend to Portland. I'd also really like to go to Colorado.

Tilly said...

I LIVE in Chicago!! YAY! It's the coolest. Despite the cold. And there are many, many awesome (and sometimes free) museums and art gallery's, etc. And you have to go listen to some Jazz at the Green Mill. And see the Bean. And, and, and...I will make a list. Yay!

LoriD said...

I'm doing a girls weekend in Chicago in March too!

If I had to choose somewhere to go for three days with just my husband, it would probably to do some skiing in Quebec.

Rebecca said...

Well, I would pick my hometown of San Francisco but this year...the cold new york weather is making me think of tropical escapes. I'd take somewhere in the Bahamas for my April birthday!

pessimisticredhead said...

Chicago sounds so fun! I've always wanted to go there. I think I'd have to pick Vegas though. I'm cheesey like that :)

bren j. said...

We're meeting friends in Quebec City for a long weekend in May and that same weekend just so happens to be my birthday! Yippee!

Have fun planning your Chicago trip!

Sizzle said...

how fun! the fella and i have birthdays close together so in the middle we're going away to the oregon coast for a romantic getaway. i can't wait!

i've always wanted to visit chicago.

d e v a n said...

FUN!
If I could go anywhere it would be somewhere warm. With a private heated swimming pool.
Kids may or may not be invited. hehe

Deutlich said...

I LOVE Chicago!! I'm so excited for you two that you're going!

Alice said...

ooh, fun! where did you find this deal? one of the normal consolidator websites? i'm currently trying to get deals to both SC and paris and coming up empty handed, even though i thought i knew how to work the system pretty well..

hmm. i've got a long weekend scheduled in florida coming up, then hopefully to SC.. so i guess.. maybe vermont? i love me some new england. although when it's warmer :-)

Ms. Karen said...

Ireland, just about anywhere in Ireland. But that's a bit impractical for a weekend get-away, so...

Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop. Or Disneyland during the off-season.

Hey, my birthday is in March, too!

Clink said...

Woo! I'm so jealous. I absolutely adore Chicago.

And if I could go anywhere for a birthday weekend...like, ANYWHERE? Well, I hear Tahiti is nice. And warm. ;)

Pickles & Dimes said...

We love Chicago; it's a fantastic city.

For a weekend trip I'd also go to Vegas. Just because there's only so much I can see there before I feel the need to desperately escape back to reality.

ttcmb said...

I am going to the wine country for my Bday weekend. Not the most exotic but one of my favorite places.

Chicago is such a great city! B and I spent New Year's there a couple of years ago. We literally ate dinner, slept, went to a play, went to a concert, and then left. We weren't even there for 48 hrs. It was so much fun.

La said...

That's a fantastic birthday gift! I'm so jealous! And I've never been to Chicago, either. If it wouldn't take half the day for me to get there, I'd love to go to San Francisco. Just seems so magical.

DG said...

Yay for Chicago! I love that city so much. If I could go anywhere right now for a three day weekend, it definitely would be sunny Cabo San Lucas. Love that place!

Nilsa S. said...

You know who lives in Chicago, right? So, if there is any time to meet a fellow blogger, I'd love to meet you (and Pseudostoops) out for a drink!

Weekend trip away ... somewhere warm and sunny ... southern California to see my cousin, most likely ... or maybe Savannah to visit dear friends.

BS said...

New Orleans. In my experience, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, but New Orleans? Well that's another story.

But I LOVE San Francisco (current weather notwithstanding), where I currently live, and it's fun to see that others might want to spend their weekend here. It's pretty much heaven, if you ask me.

Banana said...

Anywhere? Spain or Ireland for a few weeks. Weekend trip? Probably the Oregon Coast. I love the Oregon Coast.

Have fun in Chicago

SLynnRo said...

Riviera Maya, Mexico. I'm in Texas, so it is a reasonable distance. In fact, I'm currently proposing such a trip to the hubs.

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

Chicago is AMAZING. I absolutely love it there.

If I could go anywhere on my birthday, it would either be the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland or somewhere in Italy. If I was trying to be realistic and do a practical, three-day-weekend trip, I would want to go to a B&B on the North Fork of Long Island for wine tasting. Or maybe up to a quaint little town in New England.

Oh wonderful, now I'm fantasizing about vacations I'm not going on. There goes my productivity for the day :)

Stephanie said...

Like, choose your own adventure? SO COOL! What a great idea. I'm all about the experience gifts, rather than an electronic that will be outdated in 6 months or a sweater that will tear or stain or not fit in a year.

I love cities, so any US city I haven't been would be exciting. I'd like to visit Denver or anywhere on the West Coast. Or maybe a B&B on Cape Cod?

I LOVE traveling, so really, I love weekend trips to ANYWHERE! Lucky girl, that will be fun!

Swistle said...

What a fun, fun idea! If I was going away for a weekend to anywhere, I'd want to go back to the town in Washington where Paul and I first lived together, and got married, and had our first baby. I'd want to go back to grocery store there, and to the little Chinese food place we got take-out from every Friday.

amber said...

Somewhere warm, with a beach and next to no clothes, because get this: right now, in my area, it is 67 DEGREES BELOW ZERO. WTF? Anyway. Congrats on Chicago, I hope you have a blast.

fairydogmother said...

If I were taking a weekend birthday trip on or around my birthday I would have to take weather into consideration since you never know what you are going to get in late January. (We woke up to 4+ inches of snow today. Surprise!) So although I would absolutely love to visit Chicago too, I would probably pick San Francisco or San Diego. San Francisco has Amoeba records and tons of other fun stuff to do, but then again San Diego has beaches.

Which would mean a swimsuit in January. Um, San Francisco it would be then!

each of the two said...

weekend trip?
somewhere close i guess, maybe along the cape.
mostly someplace to relax, not do anything but OM. and walk, chat, brouse and eat.

-R- said...

Have fun in Chicago!

H and I have been talking lately about where our next trip will be, and we are thinking NYC. H has never been, and I haven't been there since 2000.

Hiya, I'm Kristie. said...

That sounds so awesome! What a great birthday gift.

I know it's not close, but I'd love to go to NY city again. I just love it there.

Becky said...

I'm going to Chicago next month for a 3-day weekend to visit a high school friend that lives there. I also LOVE Chicago.

If you get a chance sometime you should go for St. Patrick's Day. The parade, the green river...it's all awesome. Just remember to take colored film for your camera. I had black and white the year I went. It really brings out the green in the river...oh wait.

shay said...

Oh wow! Great gift! Awesome that you'd think of it at the same time.

I would go to San Fransisco again. It was wonderful, beautiful and fun (great shopping too!) when hubby and I went almost 4 years ago.

Or Costa Rica but we're talking a weekend right?!

Penny said...

wow, awesome! We were having a similar conversation last night about where we would head if we had some time and money, and the answer was: a warm beach somewhere.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Chicago ROCKS! I love going there. If it wasn't so damn cold in the winter, I'd live there.

Good choice for a birthday gift!

ana said...

Wow Chicago, lucky you...I love weekend getaways, they are great gifts...
Hmm if I had to go somewhere it'd be Hawaii...

Stefanie said...

My birthday's in March, too! I don't think anyone will be taking me on a surprise getaway to celebrate, though. Have fun on yours! I haven't spent nearly enough time in Chicago, considering it's a relatively quick drive from Minneapolis for a weekend trip.

She Likes Purple said...

Hooray!

I want to take Mike to Chicago for our anniversary. We'll see.

The Ex said...

Ooooh, weekend trips are the best really. I like taking them because I usually get homesick (yes, pathetic) about day 5 into any long term trip.

I think I’d want to go somewhere cold! I’ve been dying to go to Big Bear or Lake Tahoe all winter and it’s just not working out.

I’ve never been to Chicago though. Sounds fun!

Oh, and my birthday is in March too! Rock on!

Black Sheeped said...

I like Chicago, too. It's a fun place. Yay!

My birthday is getting closer, and I think we're going to try to get away from a day or two. Our budget only allows us to go somewhere close-ish, so my options are Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. I've been dreaming about it/looking forward to getting away SO MUCH. I'm so happy you get to go on a fun trip for your birthday!

Stacey said...

oh, this is such a tough question...

Washington DC
Williamsburg VA
Maybe a cabin in the woods somewhere
white water rafting.

fully operational battle station said...

Oooh! Chicago will be fun!!

My trip would have to be somewhere relatively close we could actually enjoy the weekend and not spend the whole time traveling. So, I don't know, maybe Sedona Arizona? I'm saying that because I am LOSING MY MIND WITH ALL THE SNOW IN IDAHO.

Jamie

Vanessa said...

Seattle, although its kinda far to just be a weekend trip. Maybe a really long weekend would work.

heidikins said...

love love LOVE Chicago! You are going to have such a fantastic time.

Secondly, I hope you take the Architectural River Cruise; it is by far my favorite thing to do in the city.

xox

Princess Pointful said...

I adore weekend holidays. They are pretty much the best way to keep me going when things are busy.
Unfortunately, plane fares in Canada are mad expensive! Booooo. Still, a road trip to Seattle or Portland would be fabulous!

I may be going to Chicago this summer- yay!

Ashley said...

Ohhh!! Yayy that sounds so fun! What an awesome idea for a birthday, so much better than just getting stuff to get stuff.

I would love to go to Seattle, by far my favorite city in the US. If I had more time available than just a birthday weekend I'd love love love to go back to Florence. I could spend years there I love it so much.

sid said...

I'm a South African and not really getting what is so absolutely fabulous about Chicago. If I could go anywhere for the weekend ... within my budget? Kruger National Park. Or Addo Elephant Reserve ...

Emblita said...

What a fabulous birthday present!
Its a great idea when you don't really need more stuff. Brilliant :)

theotherbear said...

Hmm. Chicago is a bit far for me. I would probably pick one of the islands up on the Great Barrier Reef (on the north coast of eastern Australia) or Ayers Rock (the giant big red rock in the middle of the dessert in the centre of my country). Have a fun weekend in Chicago!

L Sass said...

I haven't been to Chicago for years either, but I'm anxious to hear what you like because it might soon be my new home!

Melina said...

I took John (my husband) to NYC for his birthday last year and he took me to Chicago for our 1st anniversary. If money were no option I would go to Australia, but since money is an option and my birthday is right around the corner, we're just going into the city (Philadelpia) for a fancy dinner and to pretend that he still lives there and that me (the country girl) gets to experience the city all over over again.

Jamie Lovely said...

Yay Chicago! We are having ridiculous weather today. It was 45 this morning and will drop to about 2 tonight. Only in Chicago!


I hope you get good weather while you are here. Email me if you need anything while your in town!

Le Petit Chic said...

Oooh, how exciting! I would ask to go to Texas as I've never been there and would love to go.

Leaf, probably... said...

The Bay of Islands in New Zealand... Hopefully I could spend the whole time on horseback trekking.

Maxie said...

I think I'd choose Seattle. I've never been there, but have always wanted to go.

Cheri said...

First of all, all of you crazy people pontificating about how much you would just LOVE to come to Chicago are...well...crazy. It is -5 right now and the wind is so freaking cold that if I never step outside again it'd be too soon. The winters (which are basically 1/2 the year) are awful and the summers are hot & uncomfortably humid. So we go from horrific biting cold to stifling sweaty hot, year after year.

That being said, I'd go to Seattle, so I suppose some would consider me crazy as well what with all the rain & whatnot.