Last day spent in Chicago. When we all woke up that morning, we did our final packing of our "luggage!" Then we gathered all our room keys and returned it back to the front desk person and said "Thank You!"on our way down the stairs and out of the hostel's door. After taking a group picture in front of the hostel, we headed our way to Uptown. While taking the metro, I discovered that the speaker in the metro train announces if the doors open on the right or left side of the train.
When we arrived at Uptown, we met with Steve and his co-workers in their office. First, we put down our luggage in a room and went next door into their conference room. Again, we shared with them our programs, and they shared their program, AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago), with us. After the conversation, we went outside and Steve gave us a tour in Uptown. He informed us with a lot of information about the history of Uptown. Steve told us that Uptown is a diverse cultural place that has many different ethnics of people. Although there is some discrimination happening in the neighbourhood, residents in Uptown usually have close relationships with one another. People would help each other out when needed. Although Uptown is a culturally diverse neighbourhood, it is mostly dominated by the ethnicity of Vietnamese Americans. You can tell that it is a hub/community for Vietnamese because there are many restaurants and shops that have names written in Vietnamese.
Throughout the tour, Steve also showed us a lot of graffiti and mural arts that were painted by local youth. (Now those are actually graffiti art, NOT the ones that we clear during clean-ups...) Those inspiring art pieces exhibited around Uptown have the purposes to show the local conditions of Uptown and to inspire the next generation on how to make Uptown a better neighbourhood for everyone. Back in the 1920s, Uptown used to be an entertainment district, because of the Roaring 20s. However, the 1930s Great Depression brought the business down. On the tour, Steve also took us to the street where the Uptown Theatre was located. It is the area where Charlie Chaplin, a famous comedian, used to hang out in. The tour around Uptown gave me a better understanding of the history behind it. It is a place that brings people together in a closer community, also a great place for people to hang out in. After the tour, we went to eat lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. After lunch, we realized that we ran out of time (behind schedule again) and went back to their office to get back our luggage and ran (yes, we literally ran) to the metro train station. After we get off the train and arrived at the airport, we ran again to the counter and quickly checked our luggage. Once again, we abroad on Southwest Airlines and heading back to our "home" San Francisco, on the plane we go...... So......that basically concludes the trip. My reflection about the trip... Overall, I think that the trip went pretty well, except the fact that we didn't had enough time to sleep (but it was our fault too). Also, we should have prepared more for the trip instead of planning it in the last minute. I like all the tourist attractions that we visited on the second day, although it was somewhat rushed and we were all exhausted the next day. In addition, we were mostly behind the schedule throughout the whole trip. Maybe some improvements I would suggest for the next group that goes to this trip would be to prepare more, sleep earlier, stay on time with the planned schedule. To conclude, I would give this trip a 9 out of 10. This trip provided me the chance to learn more about Chicago's transit system as well as to explore "The Windy City"!!!~~~~ It was a fun trip and I also bonded closer with my