Monday, June 27, 2011

My Life is Ballin Outta Hand

I have to apologize, dear readers.

I've been trying to get on here and post something, but life is really overwhelming right now. I have no idea what happened to June, but I'm going to try and remember a few big events:

Speed Dating: Our Community Night reflection from a week ago. I didn't realize how much I still don't know about my roommates! It ended on a sad note with us listing out everything we think we are going to miss after this year...there are a lot of things to miss.

Ohm: A few of my roommates and I watched a fashion show at this club on Saturday and even got into the VIP party thanks to our neighbor who was part of the show.

Nervous Breakdown: The stress of job searching and this year coming to an end hit me this past Monday. It seems like every day another of my roommates has a job or some sort of plan for next year, and I still feel very unsure of what will happen come July 27th.

New Music Mondays: After my freak out session, I joined Steph, Brit, and Becca for Downtown Sound in Milennium Park. I stepped in some vomit and got hit in the stomach by a soccer ball, but the music was good!

Dinner w/ Father Scott: We ate at 90 Miles, a Cuban restaurant, this past Wednesday before Community Night festivities. The food was awesome, as was the conversation. We are some pretty spoiled volunteers sometimes.

No Impact Man: The documentary was our reflection after Fr. Scott's dinner. I'm so glad I finally got to see it, and I highly recommend watching it along with reading the book. See old posts for my thoughts on the No Impact lifestyle.

Hyde Park: Kate requested a picnic at Promontory Point for her birthday on Thursday. It was a cooler day, and we enjoyed our lunch under a calm, but cloudy sky. Then we explored the lake front and the University of Chicago campus.

Panic Attack: More freaking out about upcoming year. It was a common theme this past week. By Friday night I felt a ton better, thanks to advice from Katie and finding out that I would by random chance have the next day off.

Taste of Chicago: It started this past weekend and goes until next weekend. I had the chance to check it out on Saturday. I didn't get anything to eat (it's not exactly stipend-friendly), but I got in a lot of people watching. There are also bands and lots of random activities, so it was fairly entertaining.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seizing the Limited Days

A few weeks ago I signed up for the blood drive happening at Mercy today, and then last week I went and got a tattoo forgetting about the blood drive. Luckily Illinois is a regulated state (sterile, single-use needles), so I can still donate. Yay for body art and civic duties!

Yesterday after my morning meeting with the Mercy writers, Steph and I headed out to a local park for a picnic, reading, and sunbathing. Luckily we know of a park that's close, but still mostly undiscovered, so we had some privacy. Except for the lady with two dogs who kept trying to attack walkers/bikers/runners.

After the park, Steph, Brit and I walked down to Millennium Park to take in New Music Mondays, then it was off to the aiport to get Bails. She's only here until tomorrow, when she flies out to Uruguay, but we're making good use of her time here by sleeping in and watching trashy TV.

There are more things going on around here (summer activities w/ the guys, trying to figure out what's happening after July 26, block parties), but I'm a little overwhelmed with it all and would rather hang out in the moments that are currently happening...I don't have much time left as a full-time volunteer!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Walks, Jobs, Concerts

What do a man in a pink lab coat, a mother carrying not one but three children with her on her bike, and a man and woman riding a motorcycle with a sidecar have in common?

They can all be seen during a walk from the West Loop to Michigan Ave and back. We went for a social justice prayer walk last night during Community Night and those were the things/people I noticed. Chicago can be pretty strange sometimes.

The sun was on its way down when we set out, so the stifling heat became more and more bearable as we walked our separate paths. One of the greatest moments was as I passed Mikaela (we split up into two groups and walked different directions either down Jackson or Adams and back on the other) because we simply smiled at each other, gave each other high fives, and kept walking. I'm sure it was confusing for anyone who saw us, since we didn't talk or anything, but for me it was comforting to have so many roommates spread out in the Loop.

It was also nice to have some alone time while still sort of being with community. I've needed a lot of thinking time lately with the year wrapping up and us MercyWorkers all figuring out our plans for July 27th and beyond. There's a lot of resume revising and cover letter writing going on around here these days, and it can get overwhelming. Quiet walks downtown help take away some of the edge. Other things include taking advantage of the free day at Adler Planetarium, especially with its location right on the lake. From there, the skyline looks small. And we all know I'm a fan of free concerts, so I've also been checking those out at Millennium Park.

This past Monday, The Head and The Heart and Iron & Wine both performed so I went with Kim, who is in the city this week. We got there two hours early and there was already a line for the front seating plus people were already grabbing patches of grass in the yard area. We spread out our blanket and hung out, hoping Becca, Steph, Diego, and his mom would join us later. Unfortunately they got there too late and couldn't get a spot on the lawn since there were so many people. They enjoyed the concert from across the street and we joined them eventually--we couldn't see the stage anyway, so we figured we might as well spend the concert with friends instead of surrounded by strangers.

Today it's rainy and gray outside, which means two things: cooler weather (or humid weather) & mosquitos.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back to Blogging

I survived another month experiment! Here's what I learned about photography during May:

1) Taking pictures draws more attention to you than writing poetry. Obviously I could write my daily poem in the privacy of my computer room, whereas photographer looks very similar to tourist when your camera of choice is a broken Kodak from 2006.

2) It was also more time consuming to post pictures than it was to write poetry, believe it or not. Mostly because I have no wireless internet on my laptop, so I'd have to import the pictures, then haul my laptop down the hallway and connect, then post. It's just a lot more technical than spewing out some pretty lines.

3) When you are looking, a lot of things seem photo-worthy. I, however, am horrible at bringing my camera with me. I've gotten a lot better after this month.

4) Many times I felt like I was in Rome again, except in Rome, literally everything is photogenic. Chicago has some beautiful scenes, but not like Rome. Also, I was clearly a tourist in Rome, so I felt okay acting out the part by taking tons of pictures. I don't exactly want to be pegged a tourist in Chicago when I have the option of looking like a local.

Now it's June, and I have less than two months left of my service year. We have a lot of things planned, community- and agency-wise, but one of my main goals for the summer is to enjoy what everyone says is the best part of this city. Honestly, the whole winter I heard, "Don't worry, Chicago in the summer makes this all worth it." I don't know if you all remember the Snowpocalypse, but I do. So. I'm expecting to be on a boat several times before the Lake freezes again.