1. I served as a staff professional for the Explore Chicago program at DePaul, a first-year experience course that has components of an academic course with a theme, opportunities to learn more about Chicago, and about 10 hours of material focused on supporting students in their transition to college. Our first field trip as a class was to the Chicago History Museum, a museum I had been planning to visit, had even bought a Groupon for, years back.
We only had about an hour there, and I hope to return. The museum was fascinating, which makes sense, as Chicago is a fascinating city. The visit reminded me to get outside of my Chicago bubble and experience what this city really has to offer. It also reconnected me with my intention to learn more about this great city and all of its bizarre origins and history.
|Effing weird ass tickets from the World's Fair|
2. Later in the quarter we took a trip to the Jane Addams Hull House. I find this piece of Chicago history to be fascinating as it is at the intersection of true service to a community in need and the White savior complex. Jane Addams built a settlement to serve one of the poorest, most under-served areas of Chicago. She took the time to integrate herself into the community and earn its trust. But she also maintained her White, upperclass lifestyle and appearance, insisting that to change herself to better fit the community she served would be at best pandering and at worst pathetic and insulting.
Only two buildings of the original settlement remain, as the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) purchased the entire property. They had planned to tear down the entire settlement, but protesters eventually convinced them to keep the original house and dining hall, which now stand as a museum. The change in the area is another fascination I have with urban areas, particularly Chicago: urban redevelopment and/or gentrification. As a higher education professional, I generally assume real estate used in the service of education is a positive thing. I often forget that universities, like any other organization, search for the cheapest, easiest real estate, and so frequently target low-income communities who do not have the funds nor political power to fight back. They are forced out of their homes and must relocate. As someone who has relocated and is also White, perceived as upper middle class, very well educated, heterosexual, and currently able bodied, relocating has been incredibly stressful for me at times. Those with less privilege in any of those identities not only struggle more with the expense of relocating and also must worry about whether or not they will be welcomed into a new neighborhood or even by a landlord.
3. While in Austin for my birthday trip with UMCSD friends, I was generally just going with the flow with a stated preference for being outside. The last day, we ended up in the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. It wasn't until I left Austin that I realized, oh, that was a museum, that counts. It was definitely my style of garden, winding paths around wildly, unkempt greenery and unusual sculptures.
It was also family day, so there were approximately a million children as well as some interactive activities. My favorite was the option to become a musically inspired sculpture, though I did enjoy the snapshot I took of a balloon artist explaining balloon artistry to a very attentive child. My second favorite was when Da Jung insisted we take a path up some stairs to another area, which was a beautiful path... to nowhere. My third favorite was a sculpture of a tiny horse.
Actually, my first favorite was spending time with my lovely friends.