Former Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Richard W. Clark
Former Visiting Associate Professor, Human & Community Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development and 4-H Youth Development - Metro
Former Outreach Initiative Specialist
Former Director of Web Development
Former Extension Educator, Youth Development
JoAn C. Todd
Former Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development - Metro
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Reflections of last week's adventures by Keren:
The first impression New York left on me is that the city is crowded with high rises and the subway is really not so good. Right on the first day Laura and I bought unlimited tickets for one day and began our adventure in Manhattan just with a map in hand. Almost all the buildings are quite famous as we have read a lot about them in books and movies. Therefore, "ah, this is …" almost became our tag in New York. Most excitingly, we watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics in TV when we were having dinner in Rockfeller CafÃ??©. At that moment, I was moved and really missed home.
In Springfield, we were hosted by Judy, who has a big and beautiful farm. When we arrived at her house, we were all amazed by the terrific landscape outside and the antiques in her house. The next morning, Judy drove us to State Fair, which we have heard about for long. The moment when I got there, I found although I have been to several county fairs, no wonder none of those is bigger than this one. You can see almost everything here, even the butter cow, which is extremely lifelike. We attended the clover bud celebration, during which we enjoyed the fashion show and met a lady who has been in 4h for more than 60 years, amazing! I can't help wondering if I continue working for our community program in China for 60 years, how old am I going to be then? : ）
The first day we arrived at the state fair is undoubtedly a big day for us because we've got the chance to meet with Chancellor Herman and Dean Easter, who are very nice and know a lot about China. And we even got the chance to see the governor bid in auction place. So many VIPs the whole afternoon! That day is also the first time for us to meet Ryan who is so nice to drive us by his golf cart to and from ethnic village where we had dinner together with Judy and Patti. We all tried kim chi, very spicy Korean food and we all liked it.
Jane picked us up in Champaign and drove us to Tinley. The afternoon when we arrived, Greg invited us to his house for dinner with his brothers and sisters. Before I went to his house, I had already expected many beautiful flowers. But I bet I never expected to see tens of frogs with various poses in front of his gate and an unbelievably large collection of Mickey Mouse in his house. He is also very creative in cooking. He made us a very special and yummy dessert --- grilled peach ice cream.
Next morning, we five kids stepped on the way to Chicago. This trip to Chicago is very fruitful. During the meetings with extension educators and community workers, we exchanged our ideas and got many inspirations for our program. I realized there is a great necessity for us to reach out to the parents who send their children to our program and thus they will be aware of the important role they play in children's life and then create a better study environment for their children, or they can also be educated to apply for positions in job market and find their own sense of belonging. We've also got to learn about the program of "Readers are Leaders", which is quite similar to our reading program.
This trip is just wonderful. We lived in a wonderful hotel. Jane and Greg brought us to some nice restaurants, like Park Grill, Garden Restaurant, and Dixie Kitchen, a typical Southern restaurant, where I ordered Southern sampler consisting of rice, gumbo, jambalaya, red bean and rice, so yummy! One of the restaurants we went to called Parrot Cage in South Shore Cultural Center is very unique not because of its food but because of its waiters and waitresses who are mostly young people coming here to be trained for jobs. And the food there is just wonderful.
On the trip, sometimes nice things just happened unexpectedly. For example, on the first evening, we had originally planned to go to some place but when we by chance learned that a jazz concert would be held in Millennium Park, all of us preferred to go to the park. Apparently, that's a wise choice! Everyone enjoyed the powerful and moving jazz music. I found a little girl dressed in black dress also enjoyed it very much, dancing alone all the way to the stage along the aisle, just like an angel. The only pity is that chairs were put in front of the stage and many people sit there; otherwise, everybody could dance with the music. Another unexpected beauty of Chicago was discovered on the way to the University of Chicago. Along the road when I beheld the clear sky, blue sea and white beach, my heart leapt up. After touring around the university and visiting the smart house, which in my opinion is still not smart enough to enable most people to afford such a house worth $ 450,000, we headed for the beach. We took off our shoes, raced with waves that were going to break on the shore and picked up stones and shells of beautiful shapes. The air show also happened to be on, and in the evening we went to a place with a good view to see the fireworks show, transient but very brilliant.
On the last day, we lost no time in seeing and experiencing more about Chicago. We went to American Girl store, where we saw many little cute girls with American Girls in the same dress in their arms. Sometimes, I just could not tell which was the doll and which was the real girl. They all looked so delicate and adorable. We also went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the exhibition of Impressionism and American art. In the gift shop, thanks to Jane's membership card, we got a very very considerable discount on the souvenirs we bought there. Then, our wonderful trip to Chicago was ended with a wonderful dot --- a yummy dinner and a bonfire at the Higgins.
Through this second trip to Chicago, I know for sure that I like Chicago much more than New York. Chicago is such a magnificent and neat city that I have already been missing it on the way back to Champaign and we all enjoy the time with Jane and Greg, who are so nice and humorous.