Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Think It Was the Fourth of July

Have you ever heard the song Saturday in the Park? There first lines say "Saturday, in the park, I think it was the Fourth of July." The thought struck me two days ago that it was a 4th on a Saturday and to top it all off, guess who sang that song? The band Chicago! A little spooky...

Because it has taken me three weeks to finally post what I've been doing in Chicago, I have been forced to give only a summary taken largely from my journal. I apologize that I haven't spiced it up more for you, besides a few links and such, but I promise that from now on I will include more anecdotes that are a lot more entertaining. After reading, if you have any questions let me know and I will address them next posting. Enjoy and thanks for caring about me. :)

I’ve only flown alone one other time in my life when I went to New Jersey to visit Tyler a while back. I had a seat on the aisle and in the middle and window seats were two men in the army reserves in full regalia. However, before we left, one of the soldiers in my aisle went to another row where no one was sitting, giving me and the other guy more room. After that, a stewardess asked a few of the men if they would like to enjoy first class. As they walked up front, the captain made an announcement that they were on board and everyone clapped for them. I then had a whole row completely to myself which was amazing. I sat in the middle and stretched out, even lying down at one point during the flight.

I had contemplated taking a taxi to my apartment, but I’m cheap and had mapped out taking the subway and then walking. Well, the subway trip went without a hitch. However, the walk was a little longer than I expected with three suitcases. Plus, with a quarter of a mile left, a wheel on my biggest suitcase gimped off and wouldn’t spin, making my walk a ton worse. I was sweating like a dog. I finally got to my apartment. It’s at Thomas Beckham Hall, dorm 479. I hadn’t eaten lunch or dinner, so I took a trek to a grocery store a couple blocks away. Bought the necessities: peanut butter, jelly, bread, milk, and cereal. Preston actually drove a car here, so hopefully next time I go he can hook me up. As I was walking, I crossed over some freeway and had a great view of downtown at night with the Sears Tower dominating. It’ll be a great learning experience living somewhere outside of Utah County for a while. South Korea was so different and the same and nice. Here there are so many different cultures, levels of prosperity…it’s interesting. I’ll learn a lot.

My first two days of work were really slow; it was like they didn’t know how to incorporate me into anything. Plus, the other intern, a girl named Julie from Ohio State, wasn’t going to start until Tuesday. So the first day I just learned the basics of the phone, the office, met everyone, learned about the various media databases we use to compile lists of contacts for clients, website statistics, etc. Wednesday and Thursday went by much more quickly because people started giving me stuff to do. Yesterday I did everything from research honey and the art of Japanese “basho” (in preparation to submit two proposals to two prospective clients) to preparing a media list of Los Angeles area newspapers, radio stations and TV stations to buying a subscription to a magazine and attempting to find how to buy a back order of some issue one of the employees wanted. Of course, those are little things, but the spontaneity and wide variety of tasks in public relations are two of the aspects that drew me to it.

The office is full of people who do work hard to do a good job, but they are also chill and fun at the same time which is great. My cubicle is on the other side of a small hallway from their back-to-back offices. I have a computer and a phone with some desk space. The cubicle walls are so high that if someone wants to talk over them they look like Wilson on Home Improvement.

Food here is going to wipe me out. I have a decent amount of money in the bank right now, but I had to pay $836 for summer tuition (Now the things I hate about BYU go to four: the ticket office, lack of parking, the fact that campus is on a huge hill and their irrational scholarship policies) and then tuition again around a thousand dollars for the fall. Every lunch costs me between six and eight dollars until recently when I get the Subway sub of the day for $3.11. Kills me because I am such a tightwad. At least the places I have eaten at have been really good. I hit up Chipotle my first day and on Thursday I was treated to lunch at Big Bowl, an Oriental restaurant whose Kung Pao Chicken was awesome. At the end of Friday they had a belated party for Michael’s birthday. I didn’t have to go through the “decline the alcohol” scenario because they’ve already had interns and have Joseph. But they all drank a lot of Coke and vodka, though I really didn’t notice anyone’s behavior change. I ate tortilla chips, haha. We played a game called the DMA game. DMAs are geographical regions for the media, organized according to which is largest. For example, DMA 1 is New York City and its surrounding environs, so if you hit up the New York City DMA you are contacting all the media outlets within that region. The game consisted of Emily announcing a DMA and everyone else trying to guess where number it was. I got two (Toledo and Erie, Penn.) the closest.

I’m really tired and sleepy even when I get home every evening. I think it’s because I am sitting and looking at a computer for eight hours a day because I am getting plenty of sleep at night. To get to work, I used to take the 12 bus east on Roosevelt to Michigan, then take the 3 or 4 bus up Michigan to Ontario Street where my building is. Now I take the 12 to the Roosevelt subway station and take the red line up to Grand, then walk a few blocks east to the building. This new route has shaved off a lot of time, helped me not be quite so frustrated having to wait for buses, and allowed me to ride the subway. I’ve always loved subways. I guess it’s because it seems almost magical how you go down into the ground, race along in the dark, then come up again at a new place. I even like the smell!

Many nights the eight interns, including me, usually gather in some quantity and play either Uno or Sorry!. Simple games, but it’s been so much fun. This past week we did a lot more out on the town. The Taste of Chicago was going on, a week where around 50 restaurants offer a few samples of their fare for a certain number of tickets you can buy. Thousands of people converge on Grant Park and eat their hearts out. There is also a big stage with free concerts. In three straight nights I saw Counting Crows (I like Big Yellow Taxi), Barenaked Ladies (saw them in my first concert with Mom during the favorite of the three) and Ne-Yo (Didn't know any of his songs but like a few now; the one below isn't my favorite, but his most popular).

We managed to get up to the seats close to the stage and had a pretty good time.

Another night I hyperventilated myself into paying $11 to see Transformers 2. Awful, awful movie. I liked the first one okay, but this one was terrible. No plot, the action was lame, the humor was crude and unoriginal and so on. Hopefully Harry Potter 6 will be a lot better when it comes out soon.

My roommate Preston and I are getting along great. I like him. He likes to play the guitar and sing and he’s really pretty good. His favorite phrase is, “Now you be sweet to me.” He likes to chew on ice cubes. A lot of the time he is hanging out with Chris, another intern, but he keeps me in the loop.

This past weekend Stella came over with some of her friends from Cincinnati. She joined us in watching the fireworks which the city mysteriously had on Friday, July 3, at Grant Park right on the shore of Lake Michigan. I was pretty disappointed at the show. It was still light when they started, there were a bunch of streetlights they left on that were in the way, the show was short and the fireworks didn’t get very high up nor were they very varied or big. I honestly like my Richfield fireworks way better. Not to mention it was on July 3...whatever.

We finished off the night by talking to a kid named Patrick. He is a roommate of a BYU intern living in our same building. Good guy interning with US Soccer so we get along well. He came with us to the fireworks and then stayed around. We got on the subject of religion and I asked him to tell me about Catholicism and its services. He then started asking about Mormon beliefs, church services and so on. Stella and I told him about it for a two hours and he seemed to be listening pretty intently. I did my best at being clear and bearing my testimony of the Church and the Book of Mormon. I’m going to get one and give it to him at some point before I leave and hopefully it’ll do some good. He’s actually is a practicing Catholic and enjoys his services each month, but he also expressed interest in what we believe. I came into this trip hoping to do some missionary work, so this makes me happy.

On the actual Fourth, Stella and I went to the Federal Reserve Building here and looked around a Money Museum they have. We saw a million dollars in one-dollar bills and read about the history of money in the U.S. In the evening, Stella and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Harry Potter exhibit. We went through and saw tons of props direct from the movies. I’m not a fanatical Harry Potter fan, but I do really like the books and movies so it was pretty fun to see the actual stuff. I was amazed at how intricate and detailed every prop was, from the books to the clothing to the wands. They really do create another world. My favorite part was throwing a quaffle through various hoops.

I haven’t consciously been homesick but when I think about my friends and family at home I do miss them very much. I miss being able to just talk about nothing with or play ball with the boys. I miss getting hugged by my Mom and seeing what Dad is up to, talking about world events. I want to play with my siblings and see how Mickelle is now that she’s married. That said, time has flown by and I am grateful I still have time left here. Work is still interesting and I have things such as a trip with everyone to Nauvoo this weekend and Cubs games to look forward to after hours.

In my spare time I work on a puzzle book I bought from Target or read the scriptures. I like the quiet time I have to myself when Preston goes to hang out with Chris or takes his bike for a ride.

Well, that is more than enough to get you caught up. Next time I'll touch on my new favorite food, downtown, Saturday Night Live, and updates on everything else. Love you!


  1. Thanks for the update. Hope all is going well.


  2. oooo...a Harry Potter Exhibit? That's cool. Have you seen the bean in the Millennium Park yet? You have to take a photo of you by it (okay, it's actually called the "Cloud Gate" sculpture). It's so random.