Earth Tones of Ukrainian Village

Taking the Blue line for the second time was surprisingly confusing for me. I realized how it goes through the West part of Chicago, all the way to the Loop, and rather than going back West, it headed toward Northwest of Forest Park. It also amazed me how efficient and helpful the CTA is for people who commute to the city. The fact that it covers almost all of the neighboring communities of Chicago, it would only take a small walk for anyone to access the city in a matter of minutes.

On my way to the Ukrainian Village, I passed an artist that was working on a mural on a side of a building. At first, I thought that the city of Chicago was being set on fire (yellow) by the people. But as I analyzed it more, I realized that the hands of the people are actually helping Chicago thrive and flourish, tending to its already well-lit fire/aura. The people can add more iconic buildings such as the Sears/Willis Tower, parks, etc. Or maybe the artist wasn’t fully finished since it does look like there is colored tape over it. But the fact that the hands of the people look like the foundation of Chicago makes it seem like it has a positive connotation. Saying how the city was built by and for the people.

To get to my destination, I had to roam through Division St and it brought back memories of Immersion Week. I saw the Saint Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center that we went through and recalled the boiling heat that was burning our skin during our walk to Humboldt Park. There was a bench with a brown mosaic of Martin Luther King Jr. that said “SPEAK.” With its use of the shades of brown, the mosaic presents MLK in an artistic way. And I thought of how it was very fitting that it was right in front of a high school since it encourages the adults of our future to have a voice. It was also interesting how there are little faces that spell the word “SPEAK” which I guess are the faces of the important figures of MLK’s time period for civil rights.

While walking on N Oakley Blvd, it seemed obvious that fall is starting to hit as the gold and auburn leaves fall to the ground, making whistling sounds against the pavement whenever the wind blows. The sun seemed brighter than ever due to its radiance bouncing off the leaves. And the breeze was perfect since it was neither humidly hot nor freezing cold. With the bright sun, the churches that I passed seemed like there was a heavenly aura that made it even more holy. Matter of fact, this whole street had four churches, each placed in their own corner.

The outskirts of Ukrainian Village were filled with residential spaces. I stumbled across a garage sale on Cortez St hosted by two elderly men who seemed like they have known each other their whole life. Seeing them interact with each other and their customers was very heart warming because while they seemed old, there was still a kid in their hearts making everybody laugh. They knew every bit of history of every item that they were selling which was very intriguing. They also put little post it notes that had descriptions of each item, describing where it came from and its original price. And while it seemed like the prices were a bit too much for some of the items like the Obama mouse pad, every little detail puts a sense of character and charm (whether it was deceiving or not) into the garage sale. They even had a dog that loved to be petted, which definitely served a purpose of luring in customers. In this garage sale, I saw my color yellow in one of the paper print art works that was displayed in the middle section of their garage.

As I turn left on Chicago Ave, the streets and sidewalks became more wider, allowing me to be able to see all the stores in my depth of perception. With these wide streets and sidewalks, it almost felt like it was deserted. I only saw a few young couples that were shopping and also some people walking their tiny chihuahuas. I noticed how literally almost everything in the street has the Ukrainian language in it. Most of the time, its a mix of everything with these kinds of neighborhoods, but every sign is Ukrainian. Even the people who work in the grocery stores spoke their native language despite looking at my ethnicity. They just kind of assumed that I knew. I am guessing they don’t get much visitors from non-Ukrainian people.

I pass by a restaurant that glorified the all knowing and amazing Nick Offerman, also known as Ron Swanson from the hilarious TV show, Parks and Recreation. This has been the most random encounter I have ever had in Chicago and I am very satisfied.

My last stop in Ukrainian Village is Permanent Records. I am not much of a rock & roll who owns vinyl records but I would like to be one. I enjoy rock & roll music during road trips (I would think) but not regular basis. But this store is heaven for anyone who collects vinyls and records because everything is mostly under $8 unlike all that Urban Outfitters crap that prices their vinyls for +$15. One interesting thing in this store is that they records where its just voices of people rather than music. For example, they had a record for all the speeches from Herbert Hoover all the way to Bush. And so it was kind of a functional fixedness for me when it came to records.

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Personally, I think that anything is mappable as long as we can see it. We have always been doing it every since the Age of Imperialism started. If we see an area that seems useful and could be invested in, we, as a culture, would mostly do anything to make it “mappable” and accessible to create results, whether it’d be pleasure reasons or monetary reasons. It’s what we do. However if we cannot see an area, we’ll either just ignore it or maybe stumble upon it while mapping its surroundings. But “mappable” in our culture means an area that could be used for either residential or commercial use. I say commercial because the natural forests, parks, and sight seeings are becoming more and more overshadowed by the need for consumerism. These natural areas should be remained “unmapped” due to the sheer pleasure that people would get if we stumble upon it out of nowhere.

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