Walking and Me: Finally, Thanking Chicago

Discovering reasons to love this city in all its gritty glory.

Before this class, I did not full come to the realization that gentrification was a looked down about concept in places where it took place. I didn’t full digest the negatives and the repercussions of an area losing its history, people, and essence. I didn’t think about what it meant for the people who were already living there and the businesses that have inhabited for the longest of time. Although all the immersion week days were memorable and life changing, Pilsen was the place where I felt something stirring inside of me. Something strong and passionate. Maybe it was how our tour guide talked about the history, art, and what Pilsen is made of or the gloomy, rainy weather I enjoyed so much. Either way, when we went to Pilsen a chord that has been buried for a while struck loud and clear. In a previous Common Hour assignment, I explained how Pilsen refreshed my memory and renewed my love for Anthropology and social justice. This is still true and continues to be true. Learning about the public art and murals was eye opening. Being able to empathize and understand the perspective of the Pilsen community was something I needed. I’ve been feeling confused about my decisions ever since the first day of classes, but after that day in immersion week, I felt more reassured in my choices about the future than ever.

This class and the projects after immersion week has been very enjoyable for me. Since our final week is approaching and we just had our final walking project, I took my sweet time and basked in the walking of it all. I’ve embraced the process, continued to stumble into places I wouldn’t on a normal day, and provoked thought in the city that begs to be discovered.

I’m glad I chose to enroll in Walking Chicago and I feel immensely lucky to be with all of the people who make this class enjoyable everyday and I mean this in the most genuine way possible in the least sappy way possible.