Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Arriving in the Windy City

The Cornell and Brown Cohorts arrived at El Cerrito High School at 2:50 AM. We heard the pre-departure speech from Don, took photos, and got snacks before we and the Brown cohort headed to the San Francisco Airport. We bought our very early breakfast from Peets Coffee and Tea. Shortly after we boarded our plane. Our flight was supposed to take off at 6:00 AM, but it was delayed for 45 minutes. The good news for that was that it was originally supposed to be delayed for 50 minutes so we took off 5 minutes earlier than that. Don told us to sleep early the night before because we'd have busy days as soon as we got off our flight, but honestly I couldn't sleep. So, I ended up waiting for the takeoff to watch the pretty sunrise and then I knocked out. 

Omni Hotel
We arrived at the Chicago O'Hare Airport around 12:00 PM (CDT). As soon as we arrived, I felt the humidity and immediately missed the chilly weather of El Cerrito at 3:00 AM. We took a shuttle to the Omni Hotel, quickly checked in, and put our luggage in our rooms. Then, we were off to the streets of Chicago. We walked along the famous Michigan Avenue before we got on a cab to go to Willis Tower. It was my first time in a cab and I didn't realize how interactive the drivers would be. Our cab driver asked us all about our trip, dreams, and family life and then told us life advice. He basically told us to experience life and experiment before settling down, which I thought was extremely appropriate considering one of the ILC's goals is to encourage its students to broaden their horizons and apply to schools outside of California. It also made me realize how it didn't necessarily matter what your job was. Even though the cab driver just picks up random people off the streets every day, he was still able to tell us much more insightful advice that I found extremely relevant and more helpful than any informational talk I've been given at school.
I was most excited to go to the Willis Tower out of Chicago's tourist places. I love seeing the beautiful view and how small the large buildings look. It reminds me how everything is so very relative to each other. For example, the airplane seat was pretty roomy to me because I'm a relatively small person, but it was cramped to Kachi, my seat buddy, because she is quite a bit taller than myself. Similarly, all the city buildings look really large up close, but from a larger building they look extremely small. Even though the view at the glass decks in Willis Tower is absolutely breathtaking and very worth it, getting on the glass decks themselves to see the full view is very nerve-wrecking. I'm usually not afraid of heights and am rather nonchalant about it, but looking down before attempting to step into the glass decks was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The logical part of my brain told myself there was a possibility the deck could break and I would plummet to my death and looking down really reinforced that concept in my mind, but after forcing my body to step into the deck while my trembling hands held onto the side of the deck (as if I could possibly keep myself up if the deck were to suddenly break apart from the tower) I was able to feel for myself how stable the deck was. After feeling that for myself, I was able to jump and achieve a very blog worthy picture with the help of Joceline and her phone. I felt very proud of myself for overcoming my fear and happy that I could see the view.
Lou Malnatis Classic Pizza

The last big part of my day was going to Lou Malnatis and eating dinner with my cohort and two University of Chicago students, Simon and Courtney. First of all, the food was alright. It was my first time eating deep dish pizza and honestly I don't really see what's so special about In my opinion, there wasn't enough sausage, too much tomato sauce, the cheese wasn't melted enough, and the crust wasn't the best. I honestly prefer regular pizza crust to the thick crust of deep dish pizza. The real star of the dinner for me was the deep dish cookie with ice cream and whip cream on top. I wasn't able to snap any pictures of it because we all immediately started digging into it as soon as we saw it. It was so amazingly warm and gooey and when mixed with the vanilla ice cream it was absolutely scrumptious. The more important part of the dinner was the discussion with the University of Chicago students. They told us all about their admission process, school, etc. It was extremely informative and helpful to how likely I could see myself as a student studying at University of Chicago. 

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