Day 5, 6, & 7 | Everyday Chicagoan

In the movie Definitely Maybe, Ryan Reynold’s character expresses the great feeling you get when you find the perfect track to go with the day. He proceeds to play Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone, which resonates perfectly with my first day at work with Chicago’s Department of Public Health. I spent the weekend learning more about the Roosevelt Institute and how to turn a value I hold into the change I want to see in the world through policy. It is only the start of many more learning sessions to come, which are in addition to the lessons I will learn everyday at the DPH.

Everyday People relates so perfectly to my day because I learned that I am just as much a member of this community as the person sitting next to me. I want to fit in, feel safe, be loved, breathe easy, enjoy myself, and live adventurously. Each of these things are possible because there are people working behind the scenes to ensure my entire experience is safe and memorable. Everyone in this city is different, but they do have one thing in common: they’re Chicagoans. From the diligent mayor, to the posh business woman, to the homeless man on the street. And another thing, they’re all people, with feelings and desires, hopes and dreams, memories and futures. On my first day at work I learned how hard the department is working to make Chicago a better place to live. It is astounding how far they have come and how far they have to go, but the passion is there and the drive is present. I may not be able to change Chicago, you may not be able to change Chicago, but together we can make a difference; together we can make a change.

So remember, “I am no better and neither are you. We are the same, whatever we do. You love me, you hate me, you know me and then you can’t figure out the bag I’m in. I am everyday people.”



Day 2 | Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

image-3There are a few things that about Chicago that are going to take some getting used to. They aren’t bad things, just different. For instance, taking the train instead of a car everywhere. (Side note: is driving a car like riding a bike, or will I just lose that skill completely?) Today I experienced my first case of “train traffic” as well as getting lost and confused. Turns out navigating my way to City Hall is easier said than done. Especially in the shoes I was wearing. Another thing I do differently is crossing a street. You would think all those intelligent people would remember the number one rule of walking: Look both ways before you cross. Its a sure sign you’re not from the city when you wait for cars to motion you to pass instead of playing Russian Roulette, cross walk style. All in all, however, I survived my first take on navigating the Loop solo and rewarded myself with the guilty tourist pleasure of the Shedd Aquarium.

The Shedd doesn’t have that same sort of “home” vibe I described earlier, but it did bring back some long lost dreams. When I was younger, all I wanted to be was a marine biologist. Until my great aunt told me I’d make no money and go nowhere in life, that is. Sea life has always fascinated me. Maybe it is the sheer uncertainty of it all and the way our imaginations make up for what we don’t know or maybe its just the way it excites all your senses, other than smell, obviously. Being at the aquarium today made me feel like a little kid again, though. I went with my best friend’s 11 year old sister and in between trying to impress her with my knowledge of marine life and pressing my face up against the glass, I felt that desire to be a marine biologist all over again. (Or dolphin trainer, lets be honest.)

All in all, I had a great day filled with both work and play. I hope this balance is something that will continue as I begin to work full time. The adventure has just begun.

Granville Station