Here, it’s all about giving or sharing.
This week in Chicago was pretty busy. It went by very fast, and it felt good, because I didn’t have time to be bored.
Here, people like to give a lot. It’s all about giving or sharing. It seems that people help each other by sharing their experiences, connecting people, or inviting them to an event. For example, our teacher Jane invited us to Carol Marin’s event for her Journalism Association this week. It was really pleasant, and it was good to talk to so many different people.
It’s really interesting to see how people socialize together, and to be able to learn from them. Actually, we’ve even made some good contacts here already. We can see that connecting with people is easier now than it was when we arrived three weeks ago, and it will definitely become even easier as time goes on.
I was very impressed by the size of the French-speaking community here.
Last night, I attended the monthly evening meeting of the GPF (Groupe Professional Francais of Chicago). These meetings were established to bring together the businessmen and important French speakers of Chicago.
There were many personalities there, even consuls. I was also able to meet American businessmen who spoke very good French—that was very pleasant and surprising at the same time. As the evening continued, there were speeches, which were all interesting and positive. The atmosphere was great, and I was able to meet some young people who had just gotten out of business school, and were beginning new lives in Chicago.
I was very impressed by the size of the French-speaking community. It is bigger than I thought, which I find to be a very good thing. I did not think that so many Americans spoke French, and that they would take so much pleasure in coming to the meetings.
Valentine Van Der Slikke
The best way to describe McCormick Place is flexible. All of its spaces can be transformed.
Today, we visited McCormick Place. My first impression was that it was really huge! McCormick gathers thousands of people, often coming from across the world, to volunteer for a convention or see an exhibition. We met Scott Winterroth, the marketing manager, and Mary Kay Marquisos, the senior director of corporate communications. They were the ones who created the tour for us. I thought it was really nice of them to take time away from their schedules to show us the place.
We talked about McCormick’s history, and we saw pictures of the center from its construction, to the fire that made its ceiling collapse, to its reconstruction after being damaged.
I thought the pictures from the seventies were really fun, especially one of a car show, where girls with awesome style were sitting on top of brand new cars. We also saw pictures of the different presidents who visited the building. It was great to be in the place where Barack Obama got re-elected. I remember seeing all the coverage of his second campaign back home, and it was cool to see where it happened.
McCormick also has interesting pieces of art . I took a picture of the piece I liked most.
We also saw a model of the future hotel complex and entertainment center. I thought the architects had a great idea to connect all the different buildings together, because people want to stay warm during winter. The entertainment center will house basketball games, but it can also turn into a concert venue or exhibition hall. The best way to describe McCormick Place is flexible. All its spaces can be transformed and rearranged.
It was my pleasure to talk to people who spoke my native language.
On Thursday, January 29th, I attended a meeting of the Groupe Professional Francais of Chicago. All the French-speaking consuls of Chicago were present, and they made speeches. There was a buffet with lots of good food, and a bar with inexpensive drinks. One man offered drinks to each of us Seagull Institute students. That was very nice of him.
Chris and Valentine took pictures, Anastasia worked the reception, and Mathieu and I directed people to the event from the hotel lobby. It was my pleasure to talk to people who spoke my native language. I met some great people. I hope we often participate in these kinds of meetings. I enjoyed myself so much.
French and Americans show their successes in life very differently.
Our third week in Chicago has ended, and everything is going well. I’m still happy to be here, and school is still interesting, even if we study a lot.
Last night, we went to a meeting of the Groupe Professional Francais of Chicago, a group that was created by David Reithoffer, VP of Seagull Institute. It was their first meeting of 2015. The reception was in a nice hotel in downtown Chicago. All consuls and representatives who spoke French and lived in Chicago were invited. During the meeting, each consul took a few minutes to present to the other members.
We went to the meeting directly after our work with Chicago Events Management, so I think everyone was tired, but the evening was still a success for everyone in my group. It was pretty cool to meet adults who have been living and working in Chicago for several years. They were nice and interesting, and there was a cool buffet.
One thing I noticed during the evening, and that comes back to me as I type this blog, is that French and Americans show their successes in life very differently. I don’t want to stereotype and say it’s the same for everyone, but it’s kind of interesting. French people are more demonstrative about their money, and how successful they are in life. There were a few French people at the meeting whom I could tell felt proud of their success. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. They should be proud to succeed.
Here in Chicago though, even really successful people are less demonstrative about it. You can meet people here who are very significant, famous, and hold jobs with high responsibility, and you would never guess how important they are. For example, Carol Marin, NBC journalist, Scott Winterroth, Marketing Manager of McCormick Place, or even David Reithoffer, VP of Seagull Institute. These are all people we’ve met since coming here, and they were always really nice and down-to-earth. You can’t see how important they are in their faces. That’s really surprising to French people, because French people are more “haughty,” but I think that’s just a European thing.