Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Here I am at my favorite lunch spot: Outside on the River :)

Spring is coming out all over the City! The trees are sprouting and the flowers blooming. Lately I've been taking the bus home so I can walk through the neighborhoods between my place and the lake. Sometimes the wind picks up and I actually want to breathe in the air because it's full of fragrance! Ironically, the tulips followed me here from Orange City because they are everywhere; in many beds downtown and in the neighborhoods. They must be tough plants to live in the city, I think. I've been going up to Lincoln Park a lot lately with friends and along the beach. The walks are so refreshing! Now I need to update you on some of the people I've been walking with and what we've seen. 

I went home for Easter Break, Friday though Monday. At first I didn't want to go home because of everything I would miss here; Easter Supper, a party and whatever else would randomly happen, as many things do. But when I was packing Thursday night after the event I was excited to see my family since I hadn't seen them since Dad's diagnosis. It was also nice to think about not constantly going at 100 miles an hour and just take a break! And, luckily, I did get some time at home just to rest, watch movies with my parents, go out to eat for Mom's birthday and see people at church on Sunday who have all been praying for me. 
The weirdest thing about being home was the quiet. I didn't realize how quiet the suburbs were, and how noisy the birds could be! I was overwhelmed but in the opposite way that I am in the City. In the city you try to blot things out, unless there's a street performer or something, but at home I could just let my senses take everything in.
While I was home I had to take care of my car by getting the oil changed and the tires rotated. Dad and I walked back from the Goodyear, got some Caribou Coffee and meandered on home. If I didn't have to walk everywhere here that would have been almost too much for me that early, but it was just fine. It was a little annoying that the sidewalks weren't always there though. haha It seemed tougher to walk around there than in the city, odd.
On Saturday I got to work with Brandon, the boy with CP who I care for whenever I'm home from school. It's the best job I've ever had. It's not easy in the least, but it's fulfilling. Especially on days like we had that Saturday! We chilled watching TV for a bit, got him in his stander, fed him some lunch, walked around the neighborhood with his sister and puppy, then played baseball in the backyard with Molly (the dog) as the catcher (makes playing so much easier! except for the slobbery ball aspect, ew). After a break he got his hair cut and a shower. Whew! What a day! It was good to catch up with Brandon's mom, Barb, and sister Courtney. I didn't see much of Don, his dad, but it was good to see everyone together.
 At church I was bombarded with hugs and questions about the City and the dreaded question: what are you going to do when you're done? Do  you want to stay in Chicago?
Honestly, I don't know. Everything that has made this experience wonderful has been the people I've met and gotten to know and if they aren't here, why should I be? Yes, I could make more friends. I know I could, but I would really have to pray about it, and there would need to be a job!

Back in Chi-town
When I got back into the city I was able to talk out some of these questions with a friend from Northwestern, Jesse Nieuwenhuis! He emailed me awhile ago telling me he would be in town interviewing for medical school. We met up Monday afternoon, walked around the lake, went to supper at a cool food court-type thing at Water Tower Place and just talked. I haven't seen him since he graduated last year so it was quite a treat to hear what he's been up to and where he wants to go and how his experiences are leading him in different but exciting directions in his life of serving others. It was amusing having him follow me everywhere and him having almost no idea where we were or where we were going. He would say, "We're going East, right?" "Nope, South." haha Actually, he was a really fast learner! I was totally hopeless the first few weeks here, so I was impressed he caught on so quickly. He said he studied the maps, but you never know a city until you walk in it yourself. It was an absolute pleasure showing him the city :) So glad to have rekindled that friendship in such a cool way!

The next weekend I was able to escape the city, not by plane but by Metra! I went with Matt and Emily to a suburb by Wheaton College where their friend Nick De Jong lives. I was invited by association to come out to his place since I wasn't there when he came for Easter weekend. So taking the Metra was fun; seeing the landscape get greener and shorter as we chugged along. Emily and I admitted later that being on the train made us feel like we were in a classic movie so we half expected Carry Grant to come in to the car and have a chat with us. It was a fun ride. Meeting Nick and his family was a treat. They have a lovely home next to a forest reserve, which we walked through. We went to church that night (which was good because Rachel and I tried to go to church, but failed because we had the wrong information from CS! boo! But we made an outing of it by getting some Starbucks and exploring the Lincoln Park area and the Conservatory at the zoo. It was a beautiful morning, indeed!) and after church we got a  tour of Wheaton College where my beloved seregate grandpa, Roy Wilbee went to school! It was a gorgeous area with brick buildings topped with white steeples. It felt like we were at an East Coast school or something. Very classy! If I had visited there before NWC, I may have changed my mind! haha After our feast of homemade waffles at Nick's house we played a game called 'Sequence' which was fun, but then the time for us to leave came too soon! Back on the train we went, but this time we sat on the upper tier of seats which weren't as exciting at night, but still fun.

The Saturday before, however, I had a surprise visitor: Daniel! He was in Vegas with his family and decided to use some extra time he had off to come see me. We explored North Welles where we went to the Dutch Bike shop and he owner let us ride some of his bikes around area! It was so sweet I don't think I'll be satisfied with another kind. These were so smooth, elegant and easy to ride! Never thought I could go back to foot breaks, but I miss them now. Much easier to control yourself, I think. After reluctantly returning the bikes, we explored Lincoln Park and my favorite neighborhoods. It was a glorious day for weather and for company.

More to come!