Quad Cities! What I Learned At The Quad

July 15th, 2013

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Hello all! I am back from a week from the Quad, working back and forth across the Mississippi River, in the collection of towns making up the Quad Cities. I have been chilling this past weekend and getting back into the daily routine, and I think I can finally reflect on this past week.

We left a week ago Sunday, and drove 5 hours to reach Quad Cities. Upon arrival, you could already tell it was going to be a hot week. We were more southern, and the more west you get, the more drier it gets as well, but we were ready. The first night I already knew what my projects were going to be for the week, and for Monday and Tuesday, I’d be working in a community center that dealt with seniors and mentally disabled. For Thursday and Friday, I would be working in a neighborhood in Davenport that had a food pantry, clothing closet, shelters, and community gardens. Between these days, we stayed in the basement of a Church, sleeping on air mattresses in crammed bible school rooms. I was ready to take it on.

The first two days of my trip consisted of working at an adult-daycare community center. We kept the elderly company, played cards and serviced them at the best of our abilities. On Tuesday, I spent time in a location of the Community Center known as “The Unit” which was for the lower functioning of the clients that came daily. Most of them either had dementia, or Alzheimer’s and I kept company with them and helped them through lunch and so on. The woman on the left in the photo above’s name is Evelyn. She didn’t say much and kept to herself, but she smiled at anything I asked and I couldn’t have appreciated more helping her for the day, even if she didn’t have much to say.

For the second half of the week, we spent it in a neighborhood in Davenport. The neighborhood features a clothing closet, food pantry, food kitchen, and community garden along with shelters. These amenities to the area are a lot thanks to the works of Sr. Marilyn (pictured above, lower right). Sr. Marilyn is a nun who moved to this area sixteen years ago to do works throughout the church order, a feminist ahead of her time I think! She spoke to us about how the area had much higher crime when she arrived and on the same street these services are now, used to have an after hours club. I got the vibe that it used to be a lot rougher. She definitely has turned this neighborhood around and I have mad respect for her.

I felt that out of the mission trips I have attended throughout high school, I definitely learned the most from the community rather then from the works done at the sites I was assigned. We met a boy Johnny(pictured above) who lived in the neighborhood we were working in. He loved piggy back rides, and he was there waiting in the community garden, waving to us as we came in for our second day of work. He was so smart and at one point said he would rather help then go play! To see the potential of the youth in that area puts hope in your heart that he will seek positive influences as he grows up.

On the other hand, we also observed the life of poverty firsthand in Quad Cities. At the clothing closet, we were handing out clothes and met a woman who was expecting a child in January, and lived in a PARKING GARAGE. She was in fact at the clothing closet looking for clothes for her child. There were others coming by for clothes, and we had to turn them away due to the fact that we didn’t have clothing in their size because they are donated. Their attitude involved walking away with smiles and “better luck next time.” They live these lives every day, and it really puts things into perspective.

I could go on about the fact that I am so fortunate for the lifestyle I live compared to those less fortunate in Quad Cities, but I would be lying if I said that was the only thing I took away from Quad Cities.

The thing that adhered to me the most was the fact that there was such a diverse group of people that made up these communities that are overlooked by society, yet have so much potential and worth in this world. The fact that these people keep heads held high, and live a way more positive life then I and have offered up so much more wise advice, I can’t thank Quad Cities enough for that. I spiritually feel balanced with what I experienced and saw the past week, and the hope is that I can take what I learned and can spread it through my own community.

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I hope you found something inspiring at least once somewhere through this post and I hope it inspires you to give back, and see the most you can get out of people rather then labeling them poor. I know I will be trying to as well. Have a good one readers! xxoo

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Chicago Spring 2013 RECAP!

April 5th, 2013

Wow, what a great week it has been for me! This past week I spent a couple of days in Chi-Town with the family and I, and I had a blast shopping for Summer, and spending some time in this wonderful city. I am currently on Spring Break, and since we weren’t planning on anything too special considering we have a wedding to fund in the upcoming months, we still decided to splurge on the windy city and we definitely don’t regret it.

From just cruising down the highway towards the city and the sight of the skyline just made me more eager to step out of Suburbia life and jump right into city life. We got a nice view of the streets as we made our way downtown, and I haven’t been in Chicago since the few years past but I became familiar again quite quickly.

Our first stop was at Whole Foods, an organic food store, I know many West-Michiganders are envious of it’s existence elsewhere. Previously to this visit, I had never been to one and boy I was missing out. Amused by all of the food you could by, my mission was to find Guayaki Yerba Mate, a drink I have known about and have always been curious to taste. Overall this store was just pleasant.

After a little bit of shopping for treats, we checked in at the Fairfield Inn & Sweets, which I instantly loved when walking into a contemporary decorated lobby, which followed to the rooms. While our beds were a little small, it was definitely worth it considering how close we were to the Magnificent Mile.

After settling in, we made our way up Michigan Ave, window shopping and making reminders to go back and shop at the specific stores we saw. We were not in the mood to stop due to our hunger, which after the 3 hour drive was needed. We stopped at Ginos East for a slice of true Chicago Style pizza. While the food was amazing, the fact you could write on practically anything, made this restaurant even more fun!

One of my favorite stops on our short trip to the city was at Millennium Park, where we got to experience the “Cloud Gate” or many just know it as “The Bean.” This giant curved mirror basically is going to automatically propel you to take multiple pictures of yourself from every angle of the bean. I literally spent probably five minutes just staring at the curved skyline reflected off the bean. Definitely recommend you stop by even just to snap one shot on your way down there.

Overall, I had an amazing time in this city, and I am really going to try to get down there more often considering it really isn’t that long of a drive from GR. I could go on longer for how amazing these short couple days were in the city, but I decided to categorize posts “Chicago-Related” under “Best Of Chicago” so if you want to read those related posts you can find them at the right column (:

Anyways, I hope you all have enjoyed your spring break if you have had one, and I hope you all enjoy your weekends. Let me know if there is any city you have a crush on, or some place you can go repeatedly and never get sick of. 🙂