Chicago Day 2

April 13, 2012

Chicago Day 2

This morning we set off to western Chicago to an area an hour and a quarter away from the city.  It was another sparkling day.  My guide Adrian drove us past the suburbs we visited yesterday through a much more rural landscape compete with barns that looked like they were straight out of Little House on the Prairie.

Today’s school was Munhall Elementary at St Charles.  The librarian Kristin Kaye welcomed me to her lovely library and soon we were joined by 90 Grade 3 students.  They had recently finished a country study and several had chosen Australia so they knew quite a bit.  Although I had to laugh when the first student told me that there were ‘lots of killer animals’.  Yes that’s true but as I pointed out, we don’t have bears or mountain lions!
The children were so quiet and attentive – I had a ball – they couldn’t have been any more perfect an audience.  When the time came to do some drama Veronica did a wonderful impersonation of Jacinta Headlington-Bear, Winchesterfield-Dowsfordvale’s second best tantrum thrower and Jacob made a terrific Alec-Michael (instead of Alice-Miranda). 
The hour flew by and I wished that I could have stayed with the kids all day.

It sounds like the Illinois education department is facing similar challenges to that of California in terms of funding.  I had a lovely chat with Kristin while I signed the children’s books.  She and her assistant whose name I can’t remember (that’s terrible!) had lot of great suggestions for some sightseeing in Chicago too.

Heading back to the city I loved seeing the changing landscapes – the green grass, pretty trees and chocolate box houses. 

Chicago drivers seem a little less patient than in San Francisco – there’s a lot more tooting of horns – must be a consequence of heading east as I know they’re really good at it in New York!

Ian spent the morning sorting out hire cars and flights to New York – and when I got back to the hotel he was tearing his hair out trying to use the vouchers we’d received from United for the grub in my dinner.  It seems they’re happy to give you the vouchers but less happy that you might actually try to use them.

So we headed out for a walk in the sunshine.  The weather was markedly warmer than yesterday – I’d say around 16 degrees.  We strolled down along the river to the lakefront.  Lake Michigan is the most extraordinary blue and the park is a palette of greens.

 

We ended up in the Millennium Park which is spectacular.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Walking around the city, the architecture continues to dazzle.  But there are some unusual features too like the railway line that runs above the traffic – and the very ugly stations along the way.  There’s a lot of rust!
We stumbled upon a Nordstrom Rack Store which is heavily discounted shopping heaven.  I didn’t walk away empty handed.  Neither did Ian J
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