Tuesday, February 22, 2011

taking advantage.

chicago semester doesn't really like that students live in the hostel because we are not experiencing a neighborhood feel of chicago. they also say that students who come for the spring semester often stay in their apartments and don't experience the city because it is too cold, and it stays cold until late april.

saying all this...they could be right. but in the case of my roommates and i, shane and i, and my own experience, we take advantage of being in chicago. complete advantage. this weekend i think proved it for me that i was doing a good job getting out and around, seeing what chicago has to offer and making myself a part of it.

friday after school, there was a class from spring arbor here to tour some different cultural neighborhoods for the weekend. one of the professors from the group had come to observe me teach, and afterward we grabbed a bite to eat at sabas vega, a mexican restaurant in pilsen that serves only carnitas. it was very delicious and so much food. he said that the students from the class would be headed to pilsen for the evening, so if i wanted, i could stay around to meet them for dinner and some art. they came down and we headed on a mural tour of pilsen, lead by a local artist. it was great to see more of the neighbor i teach in and how important the art they do is, as they preserve their culture's history through it. we toured around and even got to see the artist's studio, where he does linoleum paintings. he cuts the linoleum and carves it, then paints and stamps the paint onto a canvas. it was very intricate work and he kept saying "it's really not that hard. it's not big deal". after the tour we went to dinner at the same little spot shane and i had eaten the sunday before. i tried tongue and stomach tacos...and they were not bad at all. then we went back and explored the national museum of mexican art - it was probably the most interested i have ever been in an art museum because i know so much about their history and culture that it means something to me.

no one in the group of students really knew chicago, and they had the rest of the night free, so i volunteered to take them up to millennium park to see "the bean" and then up to ghirardelli chocolate to get free samples and drinks/ice cream. i got home late, hung out with the roommates, we ended up talking for hours, until 2:30...something i needed badly.

saturday i slept in (maybe the first real time i have slept in since i got here) and enjoyed my morning. my roommates had tickets to the chicago car show, so i stayed home, went for a run, did some grocery shopping, and a library stop. when they got back, kelly and i went out becuase i had found a bookstore called after words books that was having a charity sale. you could put as many books into a bag as you wanted for $5. we headed up to the store at a stop on the red line i hadn't really explored much, the grand stop, but the sale had ended by the time we got there. we still looked around a bit and then wandered over to starbucks to "pick up a drink". well, we sat and talked for an hour and some, it was good time spent with a great friend. then we did a little paroosing around the stores and headed home...later than expected. we picked up a movie on the way home to bring to jorie, who we had accidently left alone for too long. our movie-friend jeff came over and watched it with us. (he conveniently comes over when we watch a movie...how he knows we are about to start one, i have no idea.)

as for sunday afternoon, i had found a free cooking class at williams-sonoma, so i signed jorie, kelly and i up and we attended joyfully. it was about latin cooking and we learned about different techniques and spices/flavors. we also got to try the food and it was delicious. i went to meet shane afterward and he and i tried the bookstore again because the sale was back on. we still didn't find anything worth getting, but explored the rest of the store again, finding the used section this time. then we came down to my apartment for dinner at epic burger. it really is epic - the taste is delicious, but even better all their products are fresh, natural, and hand-picked. i was completely fine paying a little more for a burger that i know did not harm anyone or anything on its way to me. then we rented a movie and cuddled up, spending the first quality time we've had together in a long time. he left after a while and i joined the roommates for some tv and chatting.

i had yesterday off - so i was very happy to sleep in and take advantage of the day. kelly also had the day off, so we went to a pilates class at our workout place (which wasn't a workout yesterday, but today i'm feeling it.) then we came back and cooked a big breakfast...so good. we both had talked about how much we wanted to take advantage of our free monday - so i got in the shower and ready for the day, heading out the door at 2 to drop off some resumes in pursuit of a part-time job. i had seen an job posting for some akira stores (a local clothing store similar to forever 21) and so i was on top of it. i went to 2 right in the city (state street & magnificent mile) then i went up to lincoln park for another. at that one i got an interview! so pray for me as i go on thursday to see what they can offer me. then i was walking and exploring the neighborhood as i made my way back toward town and i stumbled upon another akira - so i left my resume there as well. 3 of the stores seemed interested to have me, so hopefully something turns out. i explored a little more and made it back toward town, which happened to be extremely close to shane's apartment. we had good timing: he got out of work early and i happen to be at his stop, so i visited for a few minutes. then headed home, and met kelly at starbucks to get some work done. spent the rest of the night on homework, grading papers (2 hours of grading will make me rethink how much paperwork i give to my students), and other little tasks.

it was a full weekend. and i didn't get as much sleep as i would have liked (although i slept in, i also stayed up way too late)...but this weekend i saw a lot of chicago in 3 days; new and exciting things about chicago that make me love it that much more.
come visit - i'll show you! :]

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