For my birthday weekend, I was in Chicago at the journalism convention with a few other publications students from my school.
This was a trip of many firsts.
My first time being in Chicago, being without my family on my birthday, going on a trip for four days, wandering around a city I’m unfamiliar with at night, and the list goes on.
This trip was one of the best possible things I could’ve done for myself because it taught me to think more for myself.
I also learned how much I’m turning into my mother . . . which is a little bit scary, but that’s okay because with that comes a newfound level of confidence, which I will take however I can get it.
Chicago really is a beautiful city, and I can’t wait to tell you and show you, all the things we packed into three days.
On our first day, we arrived in Chicago at about 12:00 pm, which after the time change from Indy, was about a four-hour bus trip.
After settling into our rooms, we went exploring before we attended the opening ceremony and keynote address.
There were eleven of us all together from both our newspaper and yearbook staff, so we decided to split up for lunch. My group went to a few local food trucks outside where I got a delicious chicken quesadilla.
Afterward, we had been scheduled to see the Saturday Night Live Experience, which was super interesting (and of course hilarious). The process they go through to produce those shows every week and the frantic writing the most bizarre ideas definitely makes me want to try screen-writing someday.
When we finished the tour we stumbled across the Nutella Cafe on our way back to our hotel.
Let me just say: Oh. My. Goodness. It was to die for.
I stuck with a simple flaky croissant filled with Nutella, but they had so many other delicious options, I know I will have to go back to try more!
By the time we returned, it was time to get ready for the Keynote address. The speaker was White House Photographer for President Barack Obama, Pete Souza.
He told us some of the highs and lows of Obama’s presidency and told us these stories through the photos he had taken.
If you aren’t familiar with him, I highly recommend looking at his photographs, books, and checking out his hashtag, #ThrowShadeThenVote. It is truly iconic.
His stunning photographs and commentary made for quite an entertaining and educational evening.
The second day was the most uneventful day but was still a good day. We got familiar with the hotel and convention center and went to several different sessions for the convention.
I went to a session about utilizing Google Drive for publications, overall communication, and organization (I was 1000% geeking out), and another one where we discussed the importance of building good relationships with the administration, teachers, and advisors in order to report the news that really matters in schools.
We are less likely to silenced or censored if we prove to them that the press is not the enemy. When it comes down to it, it’s all about respect.
There were eleven of us all together from both our newspaper and yearbook staff, so we decided to split up for lunch. My group went to Panera and the other group went to Five Guys.
My family has a friend that believes that when you travel you shouldn’t eat at places that you can eat at while at home, however that can get expensive and my spontaneity can’t be pushed to the extreme. I wanted some mac n’ cheese, and sure enough, I got it. Panera never disappoints.
In the evening I decided to stay in while my roommates explored the city to do some of the mounds of homework I was given before I left and of course, to write for the blog.
Our last full day was spent at two-morning sessions before heading out to explore the city. Our third day was also my birthday, so I got to experience all the Chicago, touristy things on my birthday, so that was probably my favorite day.
For lunch, we went to Chick Fil A, which is probably my absolute favorite place for chicken (I know, I know, what a shock). I don’t actually eat it that much at home because we don’t have one in Fishers, although my house is about 10-15 minutes away from two locations in Noblesville.
I was so excited to see the Bean it’s not even funny. It’s “real name,” if you will, is Cloud Gate. It is located in Millenium Park. A large spacious, and beautiful place, that almost seem out of place surrounded by so many towering buildings.
A series of events:
Love was in the air for sure when we were there. On our way into the park, I saw a young couple sitting on a bench, hand-in-hand, just sitting there talking to each other and looking each other in the eyes like there was no one else around.
Their affection struck a chord with me. I think I was surprised because in such a technology-driven world, seeing couples together without at least one of them having a phone in their hand is almost unusual. They had nothing but each other and it was beautiful.
I asked them if they would mind if I took a picture of them because they were such a lovely couple and the way they looked at each other I thought they would want to remember forever. It was, by far one of the most outgoing and unusual things I think I’ve ever done in my life, but also one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.
Surprisingly enough they said yes and I snapped several pictures of them smiling at one another on her phone. We smiled and parted ways, but we passed each other once more in the park, shortly after another couple had gotten engaged. They were still smiling at one another, hand-in-hand.
It was recommended to me by a coworker that I try Pizano’s Pizza, so that is what we had for my birthday dinner. Everyone was so kind so the whole group covered the cost of my meal for me as a birthday gift.
After dinner, we all returned to the hotel before we all parted separate ways. My friends from newspaper and I went walking down The Magnificent Mile in search of a gas station for a newly 18-year-old to buy her first lottery ticket.
Unfortunately, we never found one and I still have yet to buy my first lottery ticket, but we made sure the trek was worthwhile by stopping at Ghiradelli’s before turning back for the evening.
The perfect way to end a happy birthday and a wonderful trip to Chicago.
The next morning we returned home, which was a wild ride because our cab took us to the wrong bus station, but needless to say, we all made it to the bus stop somehow in one piece, and made it back home, so all is good.
There were so many things I still want to see, but I definitely enjoyed my first trip to Chicago, and I can’t wait to return.
Thanks for stopping by,
Let’s Be Friends