April 12, 2012
Chicago Day 1
So far the windy city hasn’t lived up to that title at all but it is cold. Today’s high temp reached about 12 degrees Celsius and we’ve just been out for dinner and I’d hazard a guess it’s now hovering around 5 degrees. It feels more like London in winter.
Chicago is pretty. There are flower beds full of tulips all along the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) and the architecture is gorgeous. Art deco on every corner and evidence of the great architects, Frank Lloyd Wright and Daniel Burnham among a slew of others who have made their mark on the city.
We travelled out into the suburbs today to Washington Elementary in Wheaton. Our driver Adrian lives in Chicago so it was great to have explanations of things and learn more about the city. Wheaton is full of pretty houses, green grass and tree lined streets. The welcome was wonderful – my name was on the sign – totally unexpected and a real thrill.
The librarian, Krystn Wiesheit was so friendly and had prepared the children really well for my visit. I talked to about 210 Grade 1-3 children in the library which was airy and bright and had a fantastic mural.
Once again the children had great questions about Australia and were a very attentive audience. Some of the teachers recommended places we have to see in the city. One of them said we should try Giordano’s which has the best deep dish stuffed pizza in Chicago. But more of that later.
The library was the hub of the school, with classrooms accessed from the internal perimeter. On the mezzanine level above, the hallways all looked down onto the library too. It really felt like the heart of the school.
Once again it was a pleasure to work with the group. I had my most interesting interpretation of a boarder to date. ‘Does it mean she was born on a board?’ Another little girl explained that it meant she went to boarding school.
We popped into Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville – a huge shop with a fantastic selection of books and toys and games. It was great to meet the staff and particularly Jan Dundon, the children’s coordinator. I am working with them for the rest of the week and looking forward to it.
We returned to the city, via a freeway network and headed out for a walk. Unlike San Francisco the stores here seem to close at more regular times so it was just a look. We found Giordano’s and had our first taste of deep dish stuffed pizza. Delicious but too much!