Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nearing the end of two months!

It's been two weeks since I posted and nearly two months since I started my internship at Starlight! The last few weeks have been quite busy. I've worked my normal 8 hr days-40 hr weeks and time has surely flown by.

Honestly, there is not much change to Starlight except that I am learning more and more by the week. There is a LOT of behind-the-scenes work that sometimes gets pushed under the rug, so to speak. Contacting businesses for donations could take one phone call, or twenty. While I haven't done this part of the job, I've heard the stories or seen different people talking on the phone to the same person. On my end of things, families are VERY excited to take part in many, if not all, of the events! Some of the more popular ones are Sporting events like the White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Red Stars (soccer!!). Also the cruise is probably a top event on families wish list. With it less than a month away now, I am getting reservations galore! One day I went into work and there were 30 something voice messages waiting for me! It took me several hours to get through all of them, write down the information, transfer it to the reservation list, and call some families back to confirm numbers or assure them that there call went through. It's kind of fun now though. I get to talk on the phone with families, and then see them later at events. I like the connection of knowing who I am talking to. It's really neat! :)

Some other highlights: I got to take part in my first Great Escape (event for Starlight kids) last Monday (15th). It was decorating Versace (brand name) purses/bags with fabric markers. Although I didn't decorate one, I got to see the creativity of the kids with the theme "friendship". They "practiced" their art on a normal tote bag, and were able to take that one home and then did their finished product on the versace bag that will be sent back to them for a judging contest and also to be put in their stores and possible runway shows!! Seeing the joy on the kids faces, was awe-inspiring... especially when the idea of getting their artwork displayed for others to see. It made them really focus on what they designed and make it their best!

I had the opportunity to eat lunch with a high school friend last week who now lives here in Chicago with his wife. It was nice catching up and seeing where our lives are headed. Connecting with friends and family has been one of the greatest things for me!

I went to Flint the weekend of June 12-15, to be with James' familiy for a graduation party of Jenny, his sister. The next weekend, June 19-21, I went home to Blissfield to see MY family and friends!! Besides a little delay on the Amtrak Friday night, getting home at 2:30 am instead of midnight, I had a really fun time catching up with friends and seeing my family again. Unfortunately, unless there is another time that works, I will not be seeing them until I complete my internship, but time will fly, I am sure.
For now, I am learning to enjoy Chicago and the sights I get to see everyday as I walk around.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Until next time... :-D

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another few days have passed since my last blog!

I wanted to speak to the adjustments I've had to make since I moved to Chicago. I don't think I would have adjusted as well as I have without my family and friends encouragement and support. I've forced myself to explore more, with proding by my mom and friends. I communicate with my boyfriend daily, who encourages me when I get discouraged or am having a hard time with a certain adjustment. Without anyone here (family and friends), except my amazing friend Stephanie, who is also interning in Chicago, I have had to adjust physically on my own but fortunately through prayers and encouragement of support, I have been able to adjust spiritually, mentally and semi-emotionally with the help of others. Without physically seeing my family and friends, I have been more motivated to call or email friends and family so that they are too included in my life, during this difficult (but still exciting!) adjustment. Thank you one and all!!

Some of the things I've done so far:
-Shop in stores down State Street (a lively place on the weekends)
-Shop at Target, Aldi and Costco with my host family
-Walk down to the "beach" (Lake MI) and feel the sand beneath my feet
-Walk through Millenium Park with my parents Memorial Day weekend
-Walk home from work a few different routes and "see the sights" from the Loop to the Gold Coast/Old Town area where I am staying
-Attended a Fundrasing event through Starlight called Gala. It was a very nice black and white tie event and I really enjoyed volunteering for that!

I know, these are not as exciting for me being here almost a month but I will get to the museums and other free stuff... I have been offered to be escorted by a high school friend who now lives here. Also with upcoming Starlight events for hospitalized kids, I will be taking part in those things! There is still time, I just have to take advantage of it.

Continue to pray for me as I am still finding my way and adjusting to the big "Windy City"

Thank you everyone for your support, whether with prayers, words or reading my blog. Just knowing you are there (mostly in Michigan) brings me comfort and of course, brings a smile to my face. :)

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Internship in CHICAGO!

Hey All!!
Here is the first of many (hopefully) blogs that will keep you updated.
Hope you are able to visit weekly, at least, and see what I am seeing and experiencing some of what I am through my words.

I have been here in Chicago nearly four weeks, but it hardly seems like it. I travelled to and moved in to Chicago on Monday May 11 with the help of my amazing manfriend, James! Wednesday May 13 was my first official day at Starlight Children's Foundation, where I am doing my internship. I learned very quickly how VERY big Chicago is and how VERY small I am in this city. I know very few people here but by phone, email, AIM, facebook and some visits, I have been able to connect with friends and family back home.

Starlight Children's Foundation helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment,education and family activities.
There are many events planned monthly and resources sent to children both in the hospital and those who are able to live at home in between treatments. It's been a great experience so far and the women there (yes, all women) have been a great at teaching me the ropes and guiding me through the orientation of not only Starlight, but also Chicago.

I am currently working 40 hours a week Monday through Friday and working on papers and goals outside of work additionally. I am living with a wonderful woman, Brenna, who is a Lutheran deaconess at the church behind her house. She has an adorable three year old, Naomi who has captured my heart and keeps me busy with her stories and playing. We bonded the first official day I was here at the grocery store and we are pratically inseparable! :)
There is also a friendly labordoodle pup (well not so much now) named Moxley. He is a handful but very playful and funny, to say the least. I get along well with them all and am finding that having a "safe haven" from the looming Chicago streets is very helpful! When I am around on the weekends, I attend church with Brenna and Naomi and like to spend Sundays at the "beach" a couple streets down. It's a nice area and though there are still hesitancies, I am getting along fine.

I've already travelled to Michigan once for a funeral and I expect to return the weekend of June 13-15 for a graduation party in Flint and the following weekend June 19-21 for Father's Day in the Blissfield area. I've learned the ropes of taking the Amtrak and my next adventure is to take the megabus sometime. haha! :)

Well, this ought to keep you busy reading for a few minutes, at least. More to come...