Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago the Head-Spinner

When I initially thought I was going to get at least some minutes of rest before our journey, I was completely wrong. Throughout the whole night, all I could think of was the adventure we would soon embark upon, and in a matter of mental minutes, my mom was trying to wake me up to head off to El Cerrito.

Once my family and I arrived at ECHS, I was absolutely tired as we got last-minute items from Don and weighed our luggage. We took a final group photo against the wall and were distributed contact information and other important things. Then after we said our final goodbyes to our family, it was off to SFO for our flight to Chicago.

The fact we were all fatigued became prevalent in the shuttle that transported us the airport. With almost drop-dead silence, it seems as if we all wanted to try and get as much rest as we could before touching down in Illinois.
A look at our line at SFO for our flight.
Unfortunately, the fact I’m still not as used to flying as my other cohorts came back to haunt me on my flight as motion sickness ran through my body in the most uncomfortable ways possible. While I can still feel its effects continue even as I write this blog, it is, as odd as it sounds, part of the whole learning experience.

A beautiful shot right from the
exit of our station.
Despite the little sleep and sickening feelings I collected on the plane, stepping out onto O’Hare did not energize me, but invigorate me. The excitement and energy of stepping onto one of the nation’s busiest airports and eventually one of the nation’s busiest railway systems, the L, was truly awe-inspiring. The L, although one of the busiest rapid transit transportations I have ever seen, is extremely efficient. The stops and routes are elaborate and extensive and stations pass by almost every five minutes.

After conquering the rail’s intricacies, we stepped out of the station and enjoyed a wonderful view of the Chicago skyline. A few blocks from the station was the hotel we will be expected to stay at for the next three days, the Drake. The Drake Hotel lies in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, which is a famed commercial piece of Chicago Avenue.

Once check-in was complete and we got our room assignments, we went back down to be toured by Stephanie and Tanya, two WCCUSD graduates who now live in the Chicago area. Our first stop was a famed pizza joint titled Giordano’s. We split ourselves up into two tables at the restaurant as the adults claimed their own. I was hungry throughout the day and I was finally glad to get a bite of something to eat. However, we were all overwhelmed and surprised with how heavy a deep dish pizza can be. We simply didn’t expect for so many leftovers to remain available for scraps!

After our greatly fulfilling meal, we took a quick stop to the popular Garrett’s for some of that sacred popcorn that only Chicago can deliver.
The pizzas that arrived for the guys of the group.
As we were about to visit Millennium Park, rain started to pour and the scheduled thunderstorm kicked in. While the weather beat us this time, we’ll be trying our best not to let us and our plans be defeated.

Our first day in Chicago has been very jam-packed and our next two days should be able to end of the same great note as tonight has.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin,

    Sorry about the airsickness. That had to suck.

    Sorry, too about the rain but at least you all had umbrellas--right?

    And sorry, too, about the bad Internet access at the Drake. At a place like that I'm surprised that they don't offer good free Wi-Fi. If you're paying top dollar for your room you expect more than just a bed and a bath.

    Being pretty hungry right now that deep dish pizza looks pretty good.

    Just a suggestion, though, throughout the process we try to match our young students up with people who can help them and this often means that they're adults. If we wanted you to break into the adults table and the kids table we could left you here at home. Whenever possible maybe you can insert yourselves into those situations tat are new and different. You might have gained something from spending more time with Stephanie and Tanya.