My trip to Elkhart…and Naperville…and home etc.

If this post seems scattered, it’s probably because I am still really scattered. My brain still thinks I am somewhere along a highway rather than sitting in a solitary point back at school. This three-day weekend was so productive that I almost feel as if I did an entire week’s worth of activities. Needless to say, I am really tired and really intimidated by my list of things that need to get done between now and Tuesday.

This weekend — where to start? As you’ll likely recall, my purpose for getting out of dodge was to go apply for an apartment in Indiana since I am going to be moving in about a month (whoa). I left Kirksville on Thursday afternoon and drove home in some really nasty weather. Three hours later, I was pulling into my driveway in St. Louis as tornado sirens were going off…yes, really. Besides the horrendous weather, Thursday night was for unpacking and sleeping since my Mom and I had an early wake up the next day to start our trip up north. We left the house around 9:00 a.m., grabbed breakfast and got going:

Coffee and oatmeal every day — even on the road.

Coffee and oatmeal every day — even on the road.

Next stop, Naperville, Ill. My sister and my brother-in-law live just outside of Chicago and my sister came along to go to Indiana. My mom and I crossed almost the entire state and went up I-55 talking and listening to music and I napped a little bit. It was nice to be a passenger for once.

Crossed the whole state.

Crossed the whole state.

We got to Naperville in good time, picked up my sister, got lunch at Panera which was the weirdest experience I have had at one of those in a really long time and carried on. We crossed over into Indiana before I knew it:

Hello again.

Hello again.

The town where I will be working and living isn’t TOO terribly far from the state line — in fact it is just under two hours away from Chicago. However, you lose an hour somewhere between South Bend and Elkhart. After being in the car for so long and getting up early, I was ready to be out of the car. We checked into our hotel, relaxed a bit and started our quest for dinner. Since I am a vegan and my mom is a vegetarian, we researched a few places nearby and decided on a Greek restaurant in South Bend called Elia’s — I was dying to try the falafel. We got back on the toll road and get to South Bend by 9:00 p.m. As luck would have it, Elia’s closed at that time. Bummer. Found a place in a pinch in Mishawaka called Flat Top. I have been to places like Flat Top (Hu Hot…yum) but this was my first time at Flat Top. Besides being absolutely delicious, the website is extremely helpful and user-friendly with people with food allergies or restrictions. In fact, it even has a list of foods and sauces to avoid if you’re vegan. If that wasn’t already awesome, the waitress told us that if you are vegetarian or vegan, you put a white straw in your bowl so that the cooks will make it in a separate wok rather than on the grill with meat. It meant the world to me. I had quinoa with pineapple, broccoli, mushroom, cilantro, pakora tempeh, tomatoes and sriracha sauce and it was delicious.

Woke up with a requisite need for breakfast (as per) and had the usual. I was rejoicing over Hilton Garden Inn having Silk Soymilk available — even if it was sickly sweet (it seriously doesn’t take long to get used to unsweetened):

Good morning.

Good morning.

So began the hunt for apartments. We looked at four places and I applied at one that I fell in LOVE with. I find out this week if I was approved or not (please keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!) It was exhausting, stressful, exciting and productive. I think we were done by 2 p.m. and we started at 10:30 a.m. It was time for lunch and I was going to take the pair of them to The Moringa Tree — I was so excited for them to try it! As luck would have it AGAIN, Moringa Tree was closed after lunchtime and didn’t open again for a few hours. We did a quick search of vegan-friendly places nearby and went to The Rolling Scones in Goshen — the next town over. I had a pita and it was pretty good:

Lunch at The Rolling Scones.

Lunch at The Rolling Scones.

 

We got back on the road after lunch to go to Naperville but ended up taking a detour (not really that far out of the way, though) to Indiana Dunes State Park — it’s on Lake Michigan. It was cold but absolutely GORGEOUS. Like, gorgeous. Pictures can’t do it justice and I’m sure I’ll be back a lot.

Indiana Dunes — you can actually see the Chicago skyline across the lake!

Indiana Dunes — you can actually see the Chicago skyline across the lake!

Back to Naperville and I think we were all exhausted. My mom, sister, brother-in-law and myself all sat around and chatted for awhile before going to my favorite place ever for dinner — On the Border. Vegan eating is SO easy with Mexican food and I got a grilled avocado enchilada. A small tip for you: if you’re vegan and go to On the Border, order Cilantro Lime rice and black beans since Mexican rice and refried beans aren’t vegan. Or even if you’re not vegan, order them anyway because they are delicious. Either way.

On the Border

On the Border

 

It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip. We went back to their house and I fell asleep on the couch while watching “Day of the Doctor.” Sunday morning meant breakfast and hitting the road one of the last times to begin the journey home and then back to Kirksville — so many legs of this trip! Denise made me oatmeal and coffee, we all said goodbye and my Mom and I were on our way. I stopped over in St. Louis to unpack, gather a few things and then I got back to Kirksville in the evening.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am on pins and needles about the apartment situation. Please send good thoughts my way! Other than that, I was so excited to get some vegan goodies and find a few new places.

Have a lovely week!

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2 thoughts on “My trip to Elkhart…and Naperville…and home etc.

  1. My family is just a half hour from Naperville! Anyways I LOVE FLAT TOP. That was my go-to place after the Chicago Marathon. I seriously love it there and everything is very high quality.

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