I don’t remember anything about Chicago except that I stayed there one night before I traveled to Japan. I saved a cigar band, which means I must have smoked a cigar, but I don’t remember doing that.
I didn’t write anything useful in my diary except general vagaries about some of the people I met. In fact, if I hadn’t written down the room and the hotel I wouldn’t remember that I stayed there at all.
The only thing I remember is calling AOL to cancel my AOL membership. (Note: AOL provided internet in those days via stone tablets and casting bones.)
I also vaguely remember a reception of some sort. I may have spoken to some people there–that’s what my diary says–but I didn’t bother writing down any names or descriptions.
I’m not sure why I don’t remember more except that I’d had a hectic month and was in a mental daze. I remember more about leaving for the Peace Corps–mostly the people I met–but I don’t remember where we stayed.
Part of moving overseas involves a period of “What have I done?” as your brain second, third and fourth guesses everything your are doing. I remember not having much money (very long story involving cars, accidents, banks and credit cards) but nothing else. The hotel was a transitionary place and my brain was in transition. That phase didn’t involve thinking or remembering.
After that, though, I boarded JAL 009 for a business class flight to Japan. This was nice enough that one friend I made in Japan described the experience as “the best place I’ve ever been”.
I only planned to go for two years. I ended up staying a bit longer.