I recently had the chance to visit Chicago for a few days and am already brainstorming reasons to go back. I heard Chicago University has a decent reputation... hello grad school? (Sorry mom).
All jokes aside I left with a great impression of the city. The architecture was breathtaking. The people were beyond friendly. And there was plenty to do, even in the dead of winter. I was there for a leadership summit hosted by the Golden Key International Honour Society which I became a member of in 2018. The summit was all about empowering future leaders and featured keynote speakers like authors David Cook and Hailey Atros. Having just joined this was my first conference. Overall it was a great experience, especially for its opportunity to connect with people from around the world, the kind of people who uplift and motivate you despite having just met. If i’m being honest though the conference was an excuse to visit somewhere i’d never been before. So that’s exactly what my new friends and I did. We managed to hit some major tourist spots like Navy Pier, a bar that Marilyn Monroe (apparently?) frequented, and of course The Bean.
My absolute favourite spot though, unsurprisingly, was The Art Institute of Chicago. I knew it had an international reputation but didn’t have any particular expectations going in. This set me up to have my mind almost instantly blown.
My friend and I had only two hours to consume as much art as humanly possible before we had to head back to the airport. Naturally we went straight for the impressionists (a personal favourite of mine) to see some of the greats. We saw works like Georges Seurat’s 1884 A Sunday on La Grande Jatte which was much larger than I had imagined, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky above Clouds IV, Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and possibly my all time favourite - Claude Monet’s Stacks of Wheat series. I could have spent an entire day in that one small room filled with Monet’s work. But unfortunately we had a plane to catch. We practically jogged our way to the African and Islamic art sections before leaving.
I could talk for pages about the artwork I feel fortunate enough to have seen but no picture or description will ever do them justice. Whether you’re “into art” or not, you really have to see them in person to appreciate their essence. So, if you’re ever in the Chicago area do visit the Art Institute. Oh and you should also check out Dublin 4 Irish Pub and Cafe. It’s a breakfast/lunch cafe by day and a bar by night with a great atmosphere that even includes a special library room filled with floor to ceiling books. Coffee, beer, and books seem like an odd combination but it does not disappoint.
Next up, Kenya.