Monday, August 27, 2012

The Start of Something New

This past weekend was orientation and new student retreat for the incoming class at Chicago Theological Seminary. What a weekend! I am so thrilled to be here and everything about the weekend affirmed that this is where I am suppose to be and CTS is the perfect seminary for me to spend the next couple of years studying at. 

The CTS building is brand new and absolutely beautiful. It is a lead certified building and hence is mostly lit with natural sun light. It is going to be an amazing place to learn and hang out in. This is the chapel that overlooks Hyde Park and you can even see the Chicago skyline in the distance. 

Went on a walk with some new friends to Promontory Point (which may be the coolest water front spot in Chicago). On beautiful days like today, I agree with this sentiment that Chicago is rather heavenly. Although, not enough to graffiti public property. 

Our class spent Saturday and Sunday "telling stories." Everyone (all 40+) had 5 minutes to tell their sacred story in rather broad strokes to the entire class. The next day we broke up into groups of eight and had twenty five minutes to go into much more depth with our story. We also had time to create a visual aid full of pictures, symbols, etc to help tell our story. It was an amazing experience that really did bond the class and will lead to healthy dialogue and strong community going forth. But so exhausting! It was crazy to listen to so many stories in such a short amount of time and it really took a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on me to listen so intentionally for so long. 

I can't be more excited for class to start so I can dig into studying stuff I just love to study and even more I am excited to get to know walk alongside my new friends. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chicago, so Far

 I live in Chicago now. I have been officially here for about and a week and a half. In most ways, I still feel like a tourist as I walk on the sidewalks with my head on a swivel gawking at the tall buildings and looking down at my iphone to remember which way I am some suppose to turn to get home. But in other ways, this place is already starting to feel like home.

I already have two jobs! And I am realizing more and more how blessed I am to have only been here a week and a half and to have worked 30 plus hours this week!

I did not anticipate how much moving would actually cost. The getting here and getting set up in my new apartment pretty much wiped me clean. Had it not been for the blessing of starting these jobs right away I would have either been on the streets here in Chicago or hitchhiking my way south on I-65.

I sold my soul to corporate America and I am now a barista at Starbucks. I actually am sort of torn about working for a major corporation like Starbucks. I am justifying it a couple of ways. One is that I am poor and don’t have many other choices. Secondly, I am hoping that it will be a really great way to get to know people and the neighborhood. After just a few days of work I am already getting to know some “regulars” by name and knowing their “usual.”

The neighborhood I am living in is called Lincoln Park. From what I can surmise, so far, it is a rather yuppie crowd. Most people are young, white, and either a bit “fratty” or really “hipster.” Actually, my experience so far in Chicago has not been full of as much diversity as I was hoping and anticipating. Granted, I have not ventured to far out of my neighborhood just yet.

So running on the Monon in Indianapolis is quite great, but I am not sure if there is a better scenic run that incorporates urban landscape and also the beauty of creation than running on Lake Shore Drive.

What I am realizing from my conversations with people who know the city well is that the city of Chicago is extremely segregated by neighborhoods. It is not to say that Lincoln Park does not have its fair of share of diversity. There are some really wealthy homes, plenty of struggling students like myself, and a noticeable homeless population posted on various street corners.

Realistically, I have barely been here two weeks and I am hoping to continue to venture out of my neighborhood as I become more rooted and connected here.