Visiting the American Indian Museum in Chicago

I bet you didn’t know that there was a museum in Chicago (Evanston to be precise) dedicated solely to telling the stories of the American Indians/Native Americans. After my last visit to the Swedish museum, I made it a goal to visit more ethnic museums in the Chicago area. After stumbling upon the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian on Google Trips, I decided to make that my next stop for ethnic museums. Google Trips is a great resource for exploring cool places either in your city or your next vacation destination.

Why did I visit:

  • To increase my knowledge about American Indians
  • Liked that the museum was small enough such that I wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed
  • It was affordable ($5/person for entry)

Museum Overview:

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian was started in 1977 by a couple and originally affiliated to Kendall College until moving to its current location in 2005. I found it humbling to know that the museum had been started by a non-native American Indian. They saw the importance of preserving this important history that many have tried to destroy.

It focuses on all native American tribes in the US and Canada. About 1,200 of them existed (yes, so many. We only tend to hear about a few of them). Read More »

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A Taste of Sweden In Chi-town

It’s Monday, everyone’s favorite day of the week right? I’m usually not enthused about Monday because I feel like the weekend flew by. Today however, I chose to console myself with the fact that I had a great weekend.

With the up and down temperatures in Chicago, I decided that I wasn’t going to subject my plans to the weather conditions. I’d been wanting to visit a museum for about a month now. As I scrolled through Google for my options, I wanted something close to home, an ethnic experience and a place that didn’t have too many exhibits that would feel overwhelming. I eventually decided on the Swedish American museum which is about 2 miles from where I live in Andersonville. It was raining cats and dogs when I left home but I was determined to make this trip.
I arrived about an hour before the museum closed. Diana, one of the staff at the museum allowed me to go in for free, as it was close to closing time. How sweet of her :)

Here are some of my highlights from the trip:

1. Immigration of the Swedes- They came as a result of push and pull factors. Most of the immigrants were from rural Sweden and drought and scarcity of land made it difficult for their livelihood. Also, the promise of opportunities in America encouraged them to move. They settled in slowly and eventually made a great life for themselves.

2. Swedes’ Contributions to Chicago- I was surprised to find out that the Swedes built the Wrigley building, the North Park University and founded the famous Walgreens pharmacy.

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Walgreens Exhibit

You see, if a group of people don’t tell their story, their contributions are unknown and will be forgotten. I’m grateful that the founder of this museum thought it important to preserve this history.Read More »

Lessons from the Movie: I Can Only Imagine

3382313-c_215_290_x-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxThis past weekend, I finally watched the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine. I like to support to Christian movies because there aren’t many that are frequently released. Anyway, I am known to not just watch movies for entertainment. I need to leave with a lesson or two every time I watch a movie. Maybe, this is a characteristic of my Type-A personality. This movie walks audiences through Bart Millard’s life as a child growing up with an abusive father and sheds light on the numerous hurdles he faced, which all culminated in his record-breaking single I Can Only Imagine.  This movie explores several themes, a few of which I continue to discuss further. 

Labels– What labels have your family, community, teachers or social media placed on you? Bart’s father hammered it in his head that dreams don’t pay the bills and that he was inadequate. He kept hearing this on repeat when he was rejected by the big labels on his first try. He couldn’t really hear their positive feedback because he kept internalizing his father’s labels.

Camp– At camp as a young boy, Bart learned about forgiveness and wrote in his journal, “The person I want to forgive is ________.” It was later in life that he inserted his dad’s name in the blank. Don’t underestimate the influence or seeds you sow into a child’s life at school, Sunday school or camp. They may not fully utilize all the lessons you teach them, but later on in life, they’ll remember them and apply them to a life situation.Read More »

Start Where You Are

BloomBig Disclaimer: These questions are meant to help you engage in deep introspection, and not to make you feel bad. This is also my attempt to preach to myself. 

After all, Plato reminds us that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Have you read all the books on your shelf? If not, why are you still buying or borrowing new books from the library?

Can you handle the small apartment you have? Are you maintaining it well? If not, what makes you think you can keep a big home, with a nice backyard?

Have you read all the books on your bookshelf? If you have, are you implementing all that you have learned from them?

Have you tapped into the full potential of your degree? Then, why are you trying to incur more debt with another degree? I’m amazed at some high-level positions people can attract with just a bachelors degree.

How about the tasks God has placed on your heart? Have you started working on them or completed them? Then why do you keep asking Him to use you for more assignments? On countless occasions, He’s told you about the ministries and projects He wants you to work on but you haven’t even touched them. It’s always one excuse after the other. Do you seriously think He’ll give you another assignment when you haven’t even begun the one He gave you last year?

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Are You Content Right Now?

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Source: Teaching Channel

“Are you content?” I felt God ask me in my spirit. I  sat in silence for a few minutes when He hit me with this question. “I didn’t see this coming at all.” With earnestness, I answered “No.” As you read this, I encourage you to pause now and ask yourself this question, “Am I content?”

Let me be real with you. Most of the time, I feel I should be doing greater things, have more money saved up, have more of my loans paid off, be superb at managing my time and have a well balanced life. Sometimes I wonder why it seems as though my classmates from primary school, high school and college appear to be so ahead of the curve while I’m still in the starting stages of my career. I tend to discuss several of these concerns/rants with my boyfriend, who has a wise way of helping me to take a step back and look at things from another perspective.

On countless occasions, I’ve seen and read the statement that “God is more interested in my character than my comfort.” I’ve also seen and heard variations of this quote- Know that your qualifications can get you to places but it’s your character that will keep you there. Read More »

Make Travel Happen- Part 3 (Lakefront & Milwaukee Public Market)

This is the last post in the Milwaukee day trip series. For a link to the previous post, click here. I’ll be talking about lunch, our exploration around the public market and the lakefront.

We had lunch at a black restaurant called Coffee Makes You Black and the ambiance was nice. There was slow and smooth Jazz music playing in the background, with the waitresses dressed in aprons, with the African-American national flag. I got chicken and waffles, and it was delightful.

IMG_4529After lunch, we sat in the Hop on Hop Off bus for an hour tour, to get a good overview of the downtown area. Read More »

Make Travel Happen- Part 2 (Wisconsin Black Museum)

8d0768a7eb6b307c17ac99cf1e51fda2-quotes-about-writing-writer-quotesThis post is the 2nd of my Milwaukee day trip series. For a link, to the first post for more context, click here. My dad and I arrived in Milwaukee around 10:50 am via Megabus. The journey from Chicago to Milwaukee was about 1.5 hours. In planning my Milwaukee trip, my friend from church suggested that I visit the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum so that was our first stop immediately we arrived in Milwaukee. I requested a Lyft ride and in about 20 minutes, we were at the museum. Admission was $5 each, very affordable for everyone. Mr Benson, the founding director of the museum gave us  a 45 minute presentation, filled with pictures and interactive exhibits on the contributions of African-Americans in Wisconsin and even in the US at large. Some fun facts I learned from the talk:

  • 70% of lead used in the civil war was from Wisconsin
  • There’s an underground railroad site in Milwaukee called the Milton House.

Read More »

Make Travel Happen- Day Trip for 2 Under $150 (Part 1)

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Source: Pinterest

Many people say they want to travel but never make it happen. To make travel a reality, you have to plan for it, financially and time-wise. If you’re like me, you have visualized yourself in a new city or country, watched all the travel shows (Anthony Bourdain) and mulled over unique Airbnbs or hotels in cool places (Santorini, I see you!). It’s time to get the ball rolling and actually start working  towards some of the travel destinations on your bucket list. Ok, rephrase – wish list. Sounds better. Here are some reasons why you should consider a day trip

  • You can take one even if you have a few vacation days or none at all. (think weekends, holidays)

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The Child’s Advocate- Lessons from Queen of Katwe

Two weeks ago, I went to see the Queen of Katwe at the movies and if you haven’t seen it, you should plan to. Surprisingly for a Disney production, it sheds light on the stark realities children in a Ugandan slum face and the immense potential of coaches. There’s also a book for Queen of Katwe. Click here for the link.

The movie reminded me of a question one of my work colleagues posed during a meeting- “Who is the child’s advocate?”

When you’re in an environment where parents are too busy or lack the cultural capital to  advocate for their child(ren), is the teacher then to champion the child’s case? In a classroom of 30+ students where a teacher has no assistant, do you think the first thing on their mind will be to be each individual child’s advocate? Or will they naturally lean towards the “good” students?Read More »

Life Lessons I’ve Picked up from Cooking

I’ve found cooking to be therapeutic and life changing and today I’ll be sharing some of the lessons I’ve garnered in my cooking adventures- perseverance, creativity, organization, curiosity. I believe cooking is a wonderful way to teach children excellent life skills. Enjoy!

1. PERSEVERANCE- I’ve learned to be persistent and comfortable in trying new recipes multiple times before I finally get it right. After trying that recipe once and ending up with a total kitchen disaster, do you just prematurely end your cooking adventures? Or do you reflect on what you did wrong and course correct the next time? I tried this really moist and flavorful poultry meatballs recipe about twice before I got it right. Now, I have it down to a skill and I’ve added my own twist to it. Instead of using only ground turkey, I combine 1/2 part of ground turkey and 1/2 part of ground chicken when I’m replicating the recipe. Check it out here.

2. CREATIVITY– When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! What happens when you  have baking powder instead of baking soda to make that mouthwatering cherry scones you saw on Pinterest?

cherry-scones
Cherry Scones. Source: http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/130293/Cherry-scones

You learn how to make the baking powder work for you. Just so you know, you can add some lemon juice to the baking powder as a substitute for baking soda. For more info, check here. Read More »