Sunday, July 14, 2013

chicago: day three

started our day off again playing with the kids at the Carole Robertson center. we were working with the Headstart program, which is basically a temporary preschool for the kids. one of the kids started off the day by sitting down to do a craft with me, looking up, and promptly stating, "I like your eyelashes..and your eyeballs." it made my day. today was Spanish day, which was fun knowing that in circle time I could understand most of their songs (most of being the key phrase), but it turned out to be ridiculously frustrating at times when we hit a language barrier, or-shocker-most of the kids could speak Spanish better than me. I asked one of the girls what color marker she wanted to use (in Spanish) and she replied, then proceeded to tell me about her weekend, all the places she went and the games she played and so and so on and I just had to nod and smile.

we then went to an authentic Chinese restaurant! yay..except for my peanut allergy. even though they assured me that I was able to eat their food, I didn't want to risk it. we went to Silver Seafood and everyone who ate there loved it! they had this lemon chicken that looked delicious and I have to admit, I've never wanted Chinese food because it always looked disgusting to me but the chicken looked fantastic. instead, I got a slice of pizza the size of my face next door and settled for a banana at the restaurant. mmm, fruit.

after eating, we were supposed to head to St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church to serve at their soup kitchen, but it ended up being double-booked. I think God decided to test our flexibility there and we bounced back easily! we went through at least 800 plastic bags in order to make 20 balls of 'plarn', plastic yarn, that will be given to a group of women in a nursing home to crotchet into large mats to give to the homeless. they're extremely durable and washable and waterproof and COOL!

we ended the day by playing wiffleball in a sketchy park at night, which was fun to get out of the apartments and be active. we walked back in the dark and saw police cars and obviously got freaked out-I mean, inner city Chicago here-but realized it was just a high school graduation and the police were just monitoring the area. oh. we then played Mafia to realize that in the end, J-Money will always be the killer in J-Moneyville.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

chicago: day two

obviously I am still not on my mission trip, but I figured it would still be worth posting these anyway. the journaling got shorter as the week went on but still covered everything!

day 2: we went to the Carole Robertson Center, a school for kids in the North Lawndale area. the name is named after one of the four girls that died in the Birmingham church bombings and we were there just after the anniversary of the bombing, so the school was covered with pictures and drawings of the girls and recognition for them. Austin and I walked in to a class of smiling kids and sat down for circle time, learning that today was 'English Day'. glancing around at a class of all Hispanic or black kids, we exchanged glances at each other after figuring out that tomorrow would probably be 'Spanish Day'. they seemed to have a song for absolutely everything, and when we left in the afternoon I was both tired and had several songs about cleaning up and sharing and keeping our hands to ourselves stuck in my head, unsurprisingly.

after lunchtime and showers in the North Park University locker rooms, we prepared ourselves for immersion night at 3. we were split into groups of four (five in my case), given $2 each, a subway pass, and told not to come back until 7:30. four and a half hours of wandering around Chicago to find an inexpensive dinner (in the city!). joy! I had Alan, Alli, Will and Austin in my group. we were supposed to go to the neighborhood of Lakeview, so we walked towards the subway station to get on the Brown Line at Kimball.

the subway map took some time to figure out, but we got it eventually. we got on the subway and got off at the right stop, walked around the neighborhood for a bit, finding only eight to ten dollar meals (per person) and decided to just walk straight down one street. after a while, with multiple rainbow flags decorating the area (and lingerie and..other..shops) it was evident we had ventured into the 'gay district' of Chicago. we saw several shops advertising $1 drinks, and one of the boys suggested we go in there to refill our water bottles! ..but we figured out quickly enough that the shops were most likely bars, and would probably not let us refill our water bottles for a dollar. we ended up at Wrigley Stadium somehow and took a picture in front, of course.

after that, we found a nearby subway station and took the subway downtown to Millennium Park and walked through the gorgeous city to the Cloudgate sculpture-more commonly known as the Bean. more pictures.

then we sat on the steps of these two fountains with faces on them (apparently Crown Fountain) and were then told to get off the steps, so we ended up leaving. we hit the end of the work day, unfortunately, on our way back home and had to squeeze into the subway car with a bunch of people, which was not as fun as being the only people on the subway like before. when we got back to our neighborhood we were staying in, Albany Park, we realized we still hadn't had food yet. so we found a taco truck selling $1 tacos and each got one, then found a fruit truck right next to it and picked up 10 peaches for $2, 7 bananas for $1, and 2 mangoes (that unfortunately were left at the apartments and never got eaten) for $2. good food and awesome that we were able to eat what seemed like so much for so little.
we headed back home to find that almost every other group had gotten the exact same meal as us, except for a group that got food at CVS and one that got lost and came back an hour and a half later than the time we were supposed to be back by, because they got off at the wrong bus stop and started walking a mile in the wrong direction. it was interesting to hear other people's stories and experiences and made me realize that 1) if given such materials above, I wouldn't have a hard time navigating the city again and 2) I take so much for granted.