“Gone Fishing” Uh…Urban Retreat


As many of you know, I live in Tropica where it’s slow, hot and green. This past spring, I undertook the task of having my house painted. I had been putting it off for years and it was time to face the music. As is local custom, I hired one painter who methodically worked his way through the house, inside and out. I was prisoner of my house for the six weeks it took, rising early in the morning to let him in, driving to buy more paint and supplies, letting him in and out,  waiting until he finished at six.  It was relentless and mind dulling.

During those tedious days I promised myself a present:  what I’m doing now.  Which is, I’m on an urban retreat in Chicago, my second city.

People who live in cities crave silence, green space, fresh air, sunshine.  They want to leave stress, dirt, noise, public transit, crowds behind.  They want mountains or beaches with sparkling water.

I want what I don’t have.  As I live in a place that is a vacation destination/tropical paradise, what I want to escape to is bustle. Noise, people, good public transit, museums, theatre, concerts, lectures, libraries, shopping, restaurants, bookstores in English.

I’m flat sitting for my cousin who’s in the U.K. on business.  And it’s sweet!  I have a list of museums, called all the theatres for discount tickets, selected restaurants to visit.  Shopping is done in between. Whilst tourists to Tropica flock to our native mercados, I thrill at Jewel Osco, Mariano’s and Eataly.  (I love you Mario Batali)  I appreciate good public transportation that everyone rides, not just the people who can’t afford a car.

So I write you on this lovely early summer day, sitting out on my urban balcony, enjoying the sounds of the city.  I rise early and write every morning. On my to do list:  Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry. Bloomingdales, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macys, Gap, Uniqlo.  Ravinia Festival.  Walks along Lake Michigan. Steppanwolf theatre, Goodman theatre, Looking Glass theatre.  Haven’t even gotten to the Lyric Opera, or the Joffrey. Plus, strolls through Chicago’s different neighborhoods and things like settling into a good knitting shop for a chat with a pro.  And of course:  Go Cubs!

Wishes for a happy week everyone!

xo Liza

Lovelies!  Where is your idea of heaven?  Let me know, let us all know.  Give us ideas for our next retreat. I’m talking the comments box, people!   Please share this post via the clever buttons below.  And if you haven’t already, enter your email in the box on the right so you won’t miss a thing.


5 thoughts on ““Gone Fishing” Uh…Urban Retreat

  1. I hear you! Here in Frankfurt, I crave beaches and openness–actually just sun anyplace. Zanzibar was bliss. When I was in Tropica, or in Malawi, I craved what you do–shopping, good restaurants, culture, everything I couldn’t get. Oh the contrariness…

  2. I live in the Pacific Northwest. A little town called Allyn. I am surrounded by huge fir trees. Everything. here is green and quiet, Seattle is just an hour away by ferry, so I can get my big city fix whenever i need it. I consider myself lucky. But, we all need getaways. Mine. Is a pottery retreat at. Anderson Ranch. We live in dorms and are surrounded by great teachers. We pot day and night for 10 days. It is wonderful . No cooking, no cares. Just doing what I like to do.

    1. Karen, the pottery retreat sounds amazing! Love the duality of your lifestyle. You live in a beautiful part of the world.

  3. Liza, I just discovered your blog and I love it and your style.
    Where is Tropica? I am 61 and recently retired and adjusting nicely. I live in s suburb outside of Chicago. I live so close to the city and plan to explore it as you have done. We have many great places to see here. Thank you for reminding me. I read your recent column and agree with you about the feeling of being shakened. We must support one another at this scariest of times and hope for our future. Thank you so much for writing wonderfully!

    1. Hi Kathleen! Thank you for your kind words! It is so heartening to learn that my writing is appreciated. Meriland, Tropica is my fictional name for Merida, Yucatan. Life here is so unreal that we feel like we’re living in a bubble. It helps me to fictionalize this location, almost as a character in my life. I visit Chicago at least twice a year, and I adore it! On my last stay I went to four theatre performances, many museums and shopped and dined in wonderful restaurants. I have a mystical connection with Lake Michigan too. Carry on enjoying your beautiful part of the U.S.

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