Last weekend I had the blessed visit of some familiar faces! My Mom and sister came to visit!!! It was definitely perfect timing. I was able to take the weekend to just relax, stay in a nice hotel and feel as if I was almost on a vacation as well! I showed em the hood, then we walked through Grant Park, people watched in Millennium park by the bean, shopped around a bit and caught Mary Poppins on Saturday! (I am kicking myself now for not taking ANY pictures... so dumb.) Sunday we walked Navy Pier and relaxed at the hotel and then caught a Second City show.Of course we grabbed some Garrett's Popcorn and Gino's deep dish pizza. My favorite part of the weekend though was just sitting and doing nothing. For the first time in a long time I was able to just sit and relax. I didn't have to stress about anything (I am learning I stress about way to much...and for no reason at all) I was in my comfort zone where I could just fall asleep on the couch, or sit and talk about anything I wanted. I didn't have to explain myself or worry about what someone thought about what I was saying. I was with family. I miss that comfort zone.
The past week I got a new education. Halloween. In the past I would have had 3 different costumes for the different parties in college. This year... I didn't dress up at all (that was kind of sad haha) Most people know that Halloween in the ghettos are known as gang initiation. In the Hispanic culture they refer to it as Day of the Dead; a day to come together and remember those who have died. Now, put all those things together.... what do you get? Killing and violence. The Thursday before Halloween there was a gang war not far from where I work. In remembrance of a former gang member, one gang went after the other. One boy was killed, another hospitalized. When Monday came everyone in the office was almost a little on edge. You could feel minds spinning, questions to the boys, "What are you doing tonight?" ect. Trick or Treaters leave the neighborhood to go elsewhere or one street is protected by police to allow safe trick or treating. Some areas restrict Trick or Treating hours 3-6 (daylight). I can see about a bazillion things wrong with this picture. How many do you see?
Wednesday night we had a bonfire in the parking lot of our center! We are celebrating 100 days of peace; Make your voice heard! How/what will you do to make peace heard in your community? We had a bonfire and invited local non-profits in the area, shelters and neighbors down the block. It was a success. We think maybe 75-100 people came! I of course was so excited because I would get to have a yummy s'more made on an actual bonfire (my former diet I had 2 summers ago when I was working in Yellowstone)! When we were inviting people, some of the boys said they had never had a s'more before, or roasted hot dogs. I was shocked. When the bonfire was built I think that they all thought I was nuts roasting my hot dog and making a s'more. As they watched many other people doing the same all the sudden they were all over that fire doing the same. AND enjoying it! Just because they may look burnt, doesn't mean they taste burnt. It was a fun night. We are trying to, "Put the neighbor back in the hood."
I woke up this morning, walked outside... annnnd had my first parking ticket...Welcome to Chicago.... apparently there was a sign A BLOCK down from where my car was, that said that the street was supposed to be cleared for street cleaning.... thank God a neighbor was out and said that the neighbors were going to fight it. Apparently no one else saw the sign either and got a ticket as well.... so fingers crossed we win? So lame. At least the neighbor was super nice and helpful!!
Agenda for the day/weekend: China town (I need a new phone cover... pray I can find one WITHOUT Hello Kitty on it!), Remembrance mass tonight and then tomorrow-Sunday myself and Fr. Denny are taking a group of boys to Dayton, OH to see an art exhibit called, Kin Killing Kin (KKK, play on words?) So, it should be an interesting weekend to say the least. Check the blog on Sunday... I am sure there will need to be an update.
Until then, happy weekend!