Wednesday, August 29

My New Chicago Accent

I'm a bit of an accidental accent chameleon.  When I travel somewhere with a regional accent my speech automatically morphs to fit the style.  Embarrassingly so.  I can even tell that it is happening and am powerless to stop it.  The effects are just wearing off now after nearly 24 hours back beyond the 49th parallel.  There isn't anything necessarily *wrong* with the Chicago (aka general midwest) twang except that my A's just generally aren't this nasal or as front.  To get a feel for the difference pronounce "speech pathologist".  When I say it in my "general Canadian" accent the first "o" sounds like the /a/ in father.  In my new found midwest accent that first "o" sounds is much more like the /a/ in cat.  See the difference?  I just went with it this time and enjoyed hearing it coming from my mouth.

Why would I have a Chicago accent?  I was in Chicago, of course!  A quick 5 day trip for a conference, a couchsurf and a hang with the lovely Hi-C.  The famous J.Lo aka Logi (not Jennifer Lopez - J.Lo of the speech-pathology research royalty) hosted a 20-person conference in dysphagia at NorthWestern University Hospital.  This intimate setting allowed for plenty of discussion and revealed that J.Lo is one feisty and opinionated SLP.

Team Canada and Logi (not to be confused with her band:  Logi and the Parkies)
Instead of shelling out the big bucks for a hotel we traveled the awesome way and couchsurfed!  Our host was extremely welcoming and accommodating.  Although his profile says he'll take "only" 5 surfers at a time we found him routinely packing up to 11 extra people into his one-bedroom flat.  And were we ever lucky to score a space in his living room - we found out that he is fully booked until October!  Good thing Hi-C is a keener and emailed him mucho in advance.

As for the city, it truly is fabulous.  The same size as T-dot (the actual city - the great chicago area trumps the GTA by nearly 3 million people) it has a much more impressive sky line and hopping downtown core although I'll still give Toronto wins for food culture and cutesy neighbourhoods.  That great Chicago fire of 1871 really did the city a favour by destroying the crap and setting them up for a well-planned downtown with a great architectural culture.  I have never seen a place so dense with incredible architecture and was definitely worth the hour long boat tour through the rivers.

Highlights of the trip (I'm too lazy to rotate the photos - you get the idea sideways):

Cultural cuisine.  It was the first stop!

Some of that fancy architecture plus the pretty wicked Chicago flag.

Legendary Chicago bean

Me, Hi-C and DeDeb reflectin' our hot selves in said bean

Maturity from Hi-C (Band:  D'Hilary and the SLPeeps)

We took the long was so we could walk under this very apt sign!
 The most amazing view in the city and all I had to do was buy a $7 tea.  Thanks, Hancock Tower.  Still cheaper than the $18 elevator ride at the Willis.  Pssh.

 Deep Dish - of course we had to deep dish.  Unexpected:  they put the sauce ON the cheese (which was about 1 cm thick) and the crust was made with corn meal (hence the yellow colour).  A little dry for my liking but worth a taste test.

If you haven't tried couchsurfing you probably should.  Go ahead, make a profile.  I'll even give you a reference (if you're nice to me).  


Nate Scheidler, Chicago Game Design Group said...

I don't routinely pack 11... This period has been quite out of the ordinary. 5 guests tomorrow, 9 on thursday and next week is filling in more than i expected. Slavics a-poppin!

bennysmith said...

Nice photoes, thanks for sharing!