Final Week. Where do I even begin??
All of our projects were due on Wednesday so we crammed on Tuesday night … what’s the end of college without one last late study night? Lets just say we were not short on complaints about art projects and final papers.
During our final practicum group, we did a lot of reflection on the semester, our hope, our wonder, and our heartbreak. I have learned and grown so much in the past few months, I am excited to see how it changes my life in GR.
Wednesday night was the final CS party at The Parthenon in Greektown … again
lots of food, memories, stories, and opa’s!
Thursday night we ate our last Epic Burger and watched Despicable Me with Dana and Abby. and then came Friday … and our epic last night in Chicago. We started with Flirty Cupcakes (a cupcake truck that won Best Dessert Truck in Chicago) and some free frozen yogurt from Tango.
Dinner began at 10 p.m. at Cesar’s, a mexican restaurant off of the Belmont stop … after that we bounced around Chicago, ate a 4 a.m. pancake breakfast at Elly’s and watched the sunrise.
Saturday was a full day of packing and goodbyes … Dana and I spent the night at Alyssa’s apartment and then visited a church downtown Sunday morning. It was a beautiful sunny day so we grabbed lunch at a great restaurant on the river. Perfect way to end the semester.
I can’t believe how quickly these past three months went by. It feels like I was just moving into our apartment, and now I am moved back to Grand Rapids and school is done in just a few weeks. I already miss the city, but I am looking forward to graduating and starting a new job!
So instead of writing a book about our last few weeks in Chicago, I’ll just try to touch on a few highlights starting with the week of April 11 (almost a month ago!)
Thurs, April 14 – We had the Taste of Rogers Edge event for my internship, basically a big dinner crawl down two of the streets in the neighborhood. So much food! That is one thing I am going to miss about Chicago … all of the different neighborhoods and restaurants!
Fri, April 15 – Alyssa’s Birthday!! The big 22. Since we are pretty much the best roommates ever, we cooked dinner. Sweet potato fries, Andrea’s famous cabbage salad, and turkey burgers. Success!!
The Weekend – Leah and Bri came to visit! Saturday we visited Avocado Eatery, a new restaurant that opened in Bucktown. After lunch we had interesting adventure to North Park University in an attempt to hear Shauna Niequist speak (turns out she was speaking the next night…oops!) But we did get to join in on their African Dance night and meet a few cool people.
Easter Weekend Jorie and I had honors convocation on Wednesday. It was so nice to be home for the weekend. Saturday was Alyssa’s wedding shower in Battle Creek, it was fun to meet all of her Spring Arbor roommates and watch her open presents. Saturday night my mom and I made a new quinoa salad with apples and
cranberries for Easter dinner … so good!
Sunday was the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. What a day, and even better, it was 80 degrees!! Hello summer! Jorie’s internship is at Team World Vision and they were a sponsor, so she recruited some of us to help volunteer. Then, some runners spots opened up for the team, so I got to participate in the race as well! We started volunteering at 7 am, which wasn’t so bad since the race began just a block over from our apartment, in Grant Park.
Our post was at the finish line handing out Gatorade … and I now have a new respect for race volunteers and coordinators. It takes so much work! For the first hour or so, we mixed Gatorade, and stacked up cups four high in preparation for the runners to cross the finish line.
Soon, 9 am rolled around and the race began. However, since there were over 32,000 people running, I didn’t even cross the start line until 9:35! But it was well worth the wait, and it was fun running down the middle of State Street with so many other people. I made my goal time of 42 minutes, and as soon as I crossed the finish line, I turned right back around to resume my job as a volunteer. We finished volunteering around noon, and after eating lunch we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon outside in the beautiful weather.
Only two and a half more weeks left in the city!
Thursday night we got to go to the opera Otello performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The musicians and vocalists were incredibly talented, and the children’s chorus even made an appearance.
Friday, Kristen & Shannon arrived to visit for the weekend. We shopped a bit and then headed to Lou Malnati’s for pizza. (I still think Leona’s wins for my favorite pizza so far in Chicago).
Saturday was a beautiful day, (65 degrees!!) and Andrea, Jorie, Shane, Alyssa, Andrea, Laura, and I participated in the Gorilla Challenge. It was kind of like the Amazing Race, but just in downtown Chi. SO FUN! Since you could only have five on a team, Shane & Alyssa were a team, and the rest of us made up another team. Basically, we received a bunch of clues and riddles, and had to run around downtown taking pictures. Ex: Find the building in Chicago with the tallest steeple (Answer: The Chicago Temple) or There are two million of these housed in a building named after a man with the same middle name as Bruce _____, making it the largest in the world (Answer: The Harold Lee Washington Library).
Amazingly, we finished in just under two hours and placed 83rd out of 600teams!
Saturday night, Kristen & I headed up to Wrigleyville for dinner at a thai place called Cozy Noodle (the place with all of the bobble heads and other odds and ends all over the walls). We shared some vegetable rolls and I had a mixed veggie rice noodle dish. mmmm… so good.
This past week flew by … I can’t believe in just a month I will be heading back to Grand Rapids. Speaking of, I was just in G.R. on Tuesday for the business plan competition at Calvin. Brian and I presented my research from last semester on an incubator kitchen for Grand Rapids, and won! It was a lot of fun and we got some great feedback. I am excited for April 12 to present again at the regional competition!
Thursday we went to a dance performance at Colombia University about the Mississippi River and the Congo River. They used water bottles as a prop to symbolize the misuse and distribution of water, as well as the diaspora of people that has occurred along the rivers. The dance was post-modern, so it took a little bit to get used to the style, but it was very good!
Kristen Soule came to visit this weekend, so we had a busy fun filled couple of days. Friday we went to the Ben Rector & Matt Wertz concert at the House of Blues. So fun. They are both incredible artists and House of Blues is a fun venue!
Saturday we ran around Grant and Millenium Park and down to Navy Pier. It was sunny and fifty degrees and the water was a beautiful tropical blue. After getting back from our run, we went to the Bongo Room for brunch. We split some apple & toasted walnut flapjacks and a pesto artichoke omelette. mmm… Next we headed out to the Garfield Park Conservatory and spent an hour or so wandering around the exhibits. There were eight different rooms with a variety of different climates and types of plants. I think our favorite was the Show Room, which was filled with beautiful flowers and smelled like spring.
For dinner, Jesse, Jorie, Andrea, Kristen and I headed to Chinatown (another item to cross of the list of “to do’s”)! We asked a few store owners where they recommended to eat .. and after getting four different responses, we decided to just walk in one of the first ones we saw. The winner was Emperor’s Choice … and it was a good choice! I had some chicken & shrimp with vegetables and we did our best to eat with chopsticks although I think I still prefer a fork.
So now I am sitting in a Starbucks on Wabash and Adams filling out job applications and trying to pretend that graduation isn’t only a few months away… (don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to graduate and move on to a new phase in life, but these last four years have been a lot of fun and I will be sad to be done!)