i went to chicago to celebrate new years with americorps friends at pham's place. please note this was only the second time in my 25 years i have spent the holiday away from my family. after a few days in the windy city, i drove with a van-load of people to the american humanics management institute in indianapolis. also, eventful. highlights:
THE COLORED COAT MAFIA
when j.bloom, red, pham and i realized we were sporting brightly colored peacoats around town, we decided it was a sign; we were destined to be the next trendy boy band. being women of action, we took the first opportunity to shoot photos for our debut album cover.
3609 DAVIS STREET
figuring everyone would be sleeping off celebratory side effects until mid-morning, i hopped on the red line at belmont and headed north early on new years day. while i grew up in metro-detroit, i was born in a north chicago suburb called skokie. my memories are limited to a few mental snapshots and return visits after we moved. as i walked from the train station to the vaguely familiar house, i tried to picture my family - numbering 9 then - going about daily routines and errands. i felt giddy when i called mom and dad from across the street at walker elementary. it was so delightful i completely forgot i was wearing blue mesh pants haphazardly tucked into puffy maroon boots with a christmas story-esque hat...until i started getting looks on the now-crowded train heading back toward wrigley field.
MY PLACE FOR TEA
pham moved to chicago from fort wayne, indiana, 3 days before the new years houseguests started buzzing at her apartment building. we went out exploring the city together. my favorite find was a cozy cafe called my place for tea. but it was the menu, not the breakfast nook atmosphere, that caught my attention. my place for tea is, in fact, only a tea shop; they do not sell coffee, hot cocoa, or any other sort of drinks. and they have every tea you've heard of from english breakfast to boba. at the owner's recommendation, i ordered a chocolate chai and settled in for a long visit with katie knickerbocker.
ROBERT EGGERS AND ANNUAL FUNDS
with 35 other ameriwhorps, i pursued the opportunity to register for the american humanics management institute at the recommendation of our training director, silently wondering what "humanics" means. the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony was robert eggers, a night club owner turned social activist. his unconventional manner coupled with an innovative approach to reducing hunger in america had me privately cheering, and once - inadvertently - aloud. the next day brought excellent workshops on subjects such as branding in the non-profit sector and generating sustainable annual funds. nerdy, i know. thrilling, nonetheless.
for byu fans, the y is one of the newest american humanics campus affiliates. for bloomfield hills fans, kirstin lau and i had a mutually unexpected reunion there.
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