Valentine Van Der Slikke
It was nice to get away from the noisy city life.
Today my friend Anastasia and her parents invited me to go on a little tour of the state of Illinois. Ana’s parents rented a car and we drove two hours from the city to a beautiful park called the Rock State Park. We parked our car, went inside the Visitor’s Center, and talked to a really nice lady who recommended that we walk up to the highest point of the park to enjoy the view.
The ground was completely frozen—it was like we were ice skating. It was really funny just trying not to slip and fall. Finally, after walking really carefully on the ice, we made it to the top. The view was beautiful. We could see the river and we imagined how fun it would be to go swimming in the summer.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any animals, apart from some birds. Even so, it was really nice to get away from the noisy and hectic city life. At the park it was quiet and we could only hear the birds.
After admiring the view, we had a relaxing lunch and hit the road again. We passed through some little towns that were interesting to see because they don’t look at all like our towns in France. I fell asleep in the car and the next thing I knew we were already back in the city. It was a great experience!
I did some souvenir shopping in downtown Chicago.
On Friday I am taking a break from classes and returning to France for a week to see my family, friends, and girlfriend. Before leaving, I did some shopping in downtown Chicago because I wanted to bring them some souvenirs from the United States. I also took the opportunity to buy some clothes.
I spent most of my time inside two particular stores and what surprised me the most were the sellers. They were very nice and friendly. After spending several minutes talking with each of them, we ended up exchanging names and continuing to talk about everything and anything. I thought it was really great. They were really cool—full of excellent advice and good humor.
I think it’s a very good thing to be so friendly. I’m sure their pleasant natures contribute to the success of their stores.
Today I’ll tell you a story about a misunderstanding that happened to me here in Chicago.
At the beginning of our stay here, I always listened to loud music in my apartment. After a while it disturbed the neighbors and they pounded on the wall. Eventually there was a knock on my door and the receptionist told me to turn my music down. The neighbors had called downstairs to complain.
After that I decided not to listen to music for a few days. Then I tried turning it on again—this time at a much lower volume. I still heard the neighbors pounding on the wall, but I didn’t turn the music off because I thought the volume was appropriate and not too loud. The receptionist came back to my door and told me the volume was still too loud. I tried to explain that the volume was really low, but the receptionist must have thought I was trying to tell him it wasn’t me and said, “Oh no, I’m sorry. It must be the people next door.”
At the time I wasn’t able to find the right words in English to tell him that it was me who was playing the music and that the volume was very low. I felt kind of helpless. The next day we received a note from the management warning us that if it continued we would have to pay a fine.
As I was coming home from school, I decided to go see the receptionist, apologize, and explain that it was me who had been playing music when he came to see me, and that it was just a big misunderstanding.
When I told him this, the receptionist replied, “I don’t know what you mean.”
I said, “Yesterday I was playing my music too loudly and I got a warning because of that.”
He said, “I wasn’t aware of that.”
So I reminded him. “You know, you knocked on my door last night to tell me to turn it down.”
He replied, “No, I didn’t come yesterday.”
I thought he was joking. “You’re kidding! Just kidding.”
He reassured me, “No, no. I didn’t knock on your door yesterday.”
I said, “Okay, this is really weird,” and left.
A few days later when I entered my building I realized that there are actually two different receptionists who work there. They both just look very similar. I felt so stupid!
My parents came to Chicago to visit me.
This week my parents came to visit me in Chicago and I was happy to show them the city because they haven’t been here for a long time.
Friday we rented a car and drove two hours from Chicago to Rock State Park in Illinois. It was a huge park with woods, a river, and a lake. We walked around for a while and ate lunch in the lodge restaurant. The restaurant had a real American sports bar type of vibe. The park was really beautiful and so calm! It would be the perfect place to chill during the summer.
For my parents’ last night in the city, I brought them to Buddy Guy’s Legends, a famous blues club in Chicago. We went there for dinner and stayed a couple more hours to listen to the music. We had a really good time! There were two different bands that were playing.
The first one was a blues band. It was fantastic. The women who were singing were awesome and very energetic. They spread a good mood throughout the place and people were smiling and really getting into the music!
The second band was a rock band. I was surprised because I’m not normally a fan of rock music, but I really enjoyed the music and the show. My parents and I had such a good time there and I would recommend the place to everyone who visits Chicago.
I toured many iconic Chicago places this week.
This week was the best I’ve had in Chicago. I did many interesting things. It was also pretty sunny outside this week. We had beautiful sunshine even though it was still a bit chilly.
I visited the Art Institute and I had a great time looking through the exhibits. I loved the paintings featured there and I saw work from artists I’ve learned about in school. I discovered new artists I liked as well. The sculptures were so interesting to look at because of the way they were made and how they differed from artwork created by other cultures of the world.
I went to the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower and experienced a really beautiful view of the city and Lake Michigan. Watching the sunset up there is absolutely wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone.
I also stopped by a bar in the same tower. It’s a very cool place because you can have a drink while enjoying an amazing view of the city. It has a laid back ambiance and the cocktails are very good.
This week I also visited the Field Museum, which is near the Shedd Aquarium. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the temporary exhibits because I was too late, but I was able to see the permanent ones. Most of the exhibits seemed to cater to younger kids, but they were still interesting. The Field Museum definitely has a ton of exhibits to feed your inner child and curiosity.
Lastly, I also went to Navy Pier. You have one of the best views of the Chicago skyline there. If it gets a bit warmer, the next time I go I want to ride the big ferris wheel!