I think I could be a little more aware of reality.
This week we volunteered at The Chicago Help Initiative and assisted in distributing food to the homeless. When I arrived, I felt quite uncomfortable because I don’t usually find myself surrounded by so many people less fortunate than I am.
However, the people who were there to help were very welcoming and nice, and when I saw the amount of food they had gathered I was pretty impressed. There was meat, salad, fruit, and all kinds of good things. The homeless people could take a bag of food to go or stay for dinner. In addition, there were several other people there to help them. There was a doctor there to verify their health, and people there to try to find them odd jobs and housing.
Everything was very well organized and set up to help the homeless in the best way possible. I found it all very touching, but what was the most touching was seeing the big smiles on the homeless people’s faces. They were very happy to be there and very thankful for all that was being done to help them. It was a pleasure to see and an eye-opening experience. I think I could be a little more aware of reality.
Valentine Van Der Slikke
It’s great to feel like you’re helping people and the community.
This week was great. On Monday we volunteered to help make invitations for a gala. The weather was beautiful and it really felt like summer. On Wednesday we did something I really enjoyed; we served food to homeless people at a church as part of the Chicago Help Initiative. It was really interesting. The staff was so nice to us and they were all smiling and happy to be there.
We served dinner to 130 people. First, I sorted through some boxes of food with Ana and Mathieu, and afterwards we served coffee at each table. Then we each had a task to do at the buffet. I helped serve the bread with Flavien. Everybody was really nice. They all said thank you and the atmosphere was joyful.
I’ve never done anything like that in Paris, but when I go back home I might try to do it. It’s great to feel like you’re helping someone and your community. It really brings joy and happiness to everybody, both the givers and the receivers.
On Thursday, we volunteered at CEM and made some name tags. After that we went to Chinatown with Flavien. Even though there aren’t many shops there, we still had a lot of fun. We went in every store and while we were inside of them we all felt like we were in China.
This weekend I am meeting a friend in New York. I am really excited to go!
Last week our teacher took us out for a fun night in Chicago.
Last week our teacher Sharon invited us to a very good Mediterranean restaurant. We met her husband and friends there, who are all really funny and friendly. We shared all kinds of great dishes and the cocktails were excellent.
Once we finished eating, we went to Hyde Park to listen to live music inside a bar. First we listened to a group of very cool and talented rappers. Then a jazz group got onstage. I’m not really a fan of jazz but seeing it played live was really interesting.
After that we went to a restaurant on the first floor of the bar for dessert and coffee. Then Sharon escorted us home to the Loop even though she lives right next to Hyde Park. It was very nice of her. She’s the best teacher ever and we had a fun night!
It was a wonderful experience to be able to help people who need it.
On Monday of this week we volunteered to help make invitations for the Chicago Innovation Awards Un-Gala. We prepared invitations in an office north from where we live. That day was very warm. It was really nice because it felt like summertime when you can walk outside in a T-shirt. We also ate pizza with the people we met in the office. It was a nice time since I love pizza.
On Wednesday we volunteered at the Chicago Help Initiative and served food to homeless people. It was great to help. Flavien and I served coffee first. Then we helped give people meals. It was a great place for homeless people to be because they also received medical attention and advice from people to help get them back on their feet. They were very grateful. It was a wonderful experience to be able to help them out in that way.
You can tell Chicago is a beautiful city, even from the sky.
It’s our last couple of weeks in Chicago and I’m starting to feel sad because I know the end of this trip is coming soon. The weather has been great lately, perfect for enjoying our last moments here.
Today I went with my friends Chris and Mathieu to the Skydeck at Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. It’s a Chicago icon and one of the tallest buildings in the world. There were a lot of people there—mostly American and foreign tourists. The views of the city were amazing. Up there you can see the whole city, take it all in, and enjoy.
You can tell Chicago is a beautiful city, even from the sky. Looking down, I realized again that the architecture and everything here in America is huge and different. Even though in Paris our architecture is amazing, and our wonderful Haussmannian buildings add charm to our city, it’s always cool to see something different. That’s why I really love traveling.
Here in Chicago, you can walk only a few minutes from the tall buildings downtown and be at the beach! To me that’s crazy! Since the sun is back out, we’ve started to realize how different Chicago can be between seasons. Unfortunately, we are leaving before the best season starts, but I’m still happy I was able to discover this city—even during the legendary cold!