Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share my June life with you!
It ended up being a really cool month! I have some fun activities to share and even a wild moment involving art and bad weather.
I don’t really have any favorites this month that I haven’t already shared so I’m just going to skip this one!
Virtual Happy Hour
This month I participated in virtual happy hour! Now this might not be that exciting for most people, who likely have already had tons of these, but this one was cool because it was my first happy hour with my new coworkers! Normally I’m not a huge fan of unpaid “work” time, and honestly it is still work (especially when the managers join in). But since I’m still getting to know people, it was fun! My coworkers are mostly out of Arizona, so they were able to get together in person. Most of them worked together pre-pandemic too so that was cool to see them interact in person, even if I couldn’t join in! My manager was super sweet and sent me a Starbucks gift card though since she had bought the first round at the restaurant and hadn’t been able to include me in that. What a sweetheart!
I figured I should give an update on my first month and a half in my new job. Considering I shared so much about my year of unemployment, I figured it’s best to do the same for work. Of course, I can’t be as candid as I’d prefer, just in case, you know? Not that it’s necessarily bad but I think this is one of those “if you know, you know” cases. Anyway, the job is pretty simple so far and totally doable. Honestly, it’s even a little boring as there’s not really room for me to be creative and solve problems which is what I love to do. I mean, as a student academic and finance advisor, there are problems the students come to me with but nothing that I can innovate a solution for, as everything is subject to university or federal government policies. I’m hoping to prove myself though so I can be more involved in special projects as they come up in the future.
Overall, I think the job is fine but definitely not a great fit. I just feel myself getting bored already and it really is quite a simple job. There are challenges but it’s not quite what I thought I was getting into. I have noticed the role has a very high turnover, so that makes sense, and it’s actually a well documented issue from the student’s side too based on online reviews of the university. But it does pay more than my last job where I had so much more responsibility so it works for now! Plus, it’s a remote job which is exactly what I wanted in the first place!
Ballet Pool Party
One of my fellow dancers in my ballet class hosted a pool party at her house! A few of us have become regulars at the park district class so we have gotten to know each other quite well. So when one of us decided to host, we all were thrilled! We all met around noon and had such a fun afternoon hanging out, talking, and swimming. We talked about everything from life experiences we all had (mostly my older classmates), to what we wanted to do coming out of this global pandemic, and more. It was a great time and I loved hanging out with them all.
A Chicago Day
I finally, finally saw this amazing city again! I hadn’t been to Chicago since late 2019, so it was amazing to be back. The purpose of my day was to hang out with my sister and her roomie, as well as picking up my puppy niece for her summer vacation at Camp Cuddles!
Arrival to Chicago
I always take the train into the city and Metra currently has a “masks required” policy, regardless of vaccination. I did see people without a mask so it doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced but the train looked clean so I’m hoping they are sanitizing it as much as they say they are. I read my book club book the entire ride into the city, which took about an hour as I managed to get the express train.
When I arrived in the Loop, my sister and her roomie weren’t planning to meet me for another hour or so. I had planned to go to a few places before they met me so I could take photos for the book I wrote. I had written it mostly using older photos that I’d taken (which didn’t necessarily feature what I wanted to see in the first place) and using photos people had posted in their reviews or even Google Maps. I did stop at a few places but some of them weren’t open yet or were in the opposite direction of where I was headed. I sat by the Bean in Millennium Park for a bit, reading the book club book, before I went to pick up Starbucks for the group and then waited for them at the Art Institute’s garden.
The Art Institute
I hadn’t been to the Art Institute in ages! I think I did go in 2018 or 2019 just for fun but this time I had a specific exhibit in mind. I wanted to see the Obama portraits! They are currently on a tour around the US, which is amazing because I really didn’t want to make the trip to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery to see them.
The portraits were free to view with general admission, which isn’t usually the case with special exhibits at the Art Institute (no shade, it’s just that I tend to stick to exhibits that are included with the price of admission). The exhibit was sort of presented as a view of the Obamas’ life in Chicago leading up to the 2008 election and then the portraits but it was mostly just the portraits. There was a wall with a giant map of the city pinpointing significant places for the Obamas, then a few walls dedicated to the artists and why the Obamas selected them, then the portraits.
Honestly, it was really cool to see the portraits in person. Mostly because I’m a fan of the Obamas, but also because I hadn’t seen a presidential and first lady portrait before. Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama in 2018 and it is an oil on canvas painting. Amy Sherald painted Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama in 2018 and it is an oil on linen painting. I love both of them but I think President Obama’s impacted me the most of the two. I was surprised by that as I have seen an Amy Sherald painting at the Art Institute before and I loved it, so I sort of expected that I’d be partial to Sherald’s work. Either way, it was so cool to see them!
If you go to see the portraits, make sure you join the virtual line to see them as soon as you arrive! We went into the museum a little after opening (10am for members, 11am for the public, I think we were in around 11:20am) and when we bought our tickets the employee asked if we were there to see the portraits, which we affirmed we were. He had one of us scan the QR code, which is also available later on in the museum, to join the virtual like and we saw there were around 200 groups ahead of us already. We weren’t in a hurry and weren’t surprised but keep that in mind!
While we waited we went to the Bisa Butler’s special exhibit, which was also free with general admission. I didn’t really take a ton of photos in the museum so I don’t have any to share of Butler’s work but it was incredible. Butler uses fabric and quilting methods to create her work. Her work centers on the African American experience and even takes inspiration from famous photographs in history or her own family photos. I really enjoyed this exhibit.
While we were in the Bisa Butler exhibit, we were suddenly alerted to a tornado warning by everyone’s phones going off with the emergency alert. The midwesterners of us just kinda hit the “ok” to the alert and moved on with our art viewing pleasure but a few visitors to the area seemed to be visibly spooked and someone even asked the museum employee nearby how to get to the lowest area of the museum. There was no tornado in the end, and the sun even came out before it started pouring again after the warning expired, but that was wild.
We managed to get through the Bisa Butler exhibit and saw a few more areas, mostly portions of the Renaissance, Impressionists, and other areas nearby when we were told it was out turn to view the portraits. After the portraits we went around the modern wing, went to see the American art, and even went back to see what we had missed earlier in the other exhibits before the Obama portraits. Oh! We also went to see the miniature rooms exhibit which is always so much fun to see. My sister’s roomie preferred the more minimal French or English rooms while I preferred the US colonial styles. We attempted to see the American Folk Art exhibit but it was closed as the exhibit started flooding. I guess the roof started leaking and so the museum rushed to close the exhibit and I assume moved quickly to hopefully save the art in there that might have been affected. I really hope that the art was saved from any damage and that the repairs can be done quickly!
We did manage to get through the gift shop without buying anything, if you can believe it! There were so many cool books in there, and a ton of Obama merch to go with the portrait tour. There was also work from local artists in the store for sale and typical Chicago merch too. I didn’t see anything I was that tempted by but I did have to drag my sister’s roommate away from the Georgia O’Keefe playing cards and my sister away from a sword umbrella (although it would have come in handy given the heavy rain in the area).
Picking up the puppy niece!
So after the museum we picked up a late lunch/early dinner, stopped by PetSmart, and then headed to their apartment. I hadn’t been to that one as they moved right before the pandemic (or maybe during? I don’t recall) and so that was cool! I also hadn’t seen the roommate’s dog, Raven, since 2019 too! I thought Raven wouldn’t remember me but she did and she didn’t stop crying until I gave her all the petpets she could ever want. Arya was also so surprised to see me as usually she only sees me when she comes to Camp Cuddles.
Oh, in case you don’t know, Camp Cuddles is what we call Arya’s visits to the suburbs where I live! It started because my sister needed a dog sitter and so I joked it was like if Arya was going to summer camp and the name has stuck.
Anyway, we packed Arya’s things and she got so excited, as she quickly realized she was heading to Camp Cuddles again! There was still some time to go before our train, so we started watching Prom on Netflix (which it occurs to me I forgot to put in my Lively post), and it was amazing. We remembered that Prom had been in the theatre across the street from Hadestown back during our 2019 NYC trip to see shows on Broadway, and it had been closing that same weekend as Be More Chill, which had been the musical we were going to see. It’s such a shame how shows will close and I won’t get the chance to enjoy them honestly! About halfway through the film we had to leave so Arya and I could catch our train.
I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous to travel with Arya as I hadn’t travelled with her before! My sister had taken her on the train before but Arya doesn’t like cars or trains very much. She started crying in her carrier before the train left so I had to open her carrier a bit and stick a hand in to constantly pet her through the entire hour and forty-five minute journey back home (this was not an express train). She was really good though and didn’t cry again! Once she heard my parents in the car, she was thrilled and immediately started crying to be let out so she could say hi to her grandparents. Then she cried again with excitement once she recognized we were close to the house!
Camp Cuddles Summer 2021!
So, it’s official, Arya loves Camp Cuddles! She is currently napping in her dog bed while I type this. She knows exactly where her water bowl resides, knows to wait for the kibble garnish on her chicken in the mornings, and insists on sleeping on my fluffiest blanket as long as possible before she goes to her own bed at night. I missed her so much and I’m thrilled she’s back! She seems to be pretty happy about this too!
So that’s what I’ve been up to in June! Let me know if you would have risked a tornado to see the Obama portraits LOL.
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