University of Illinois and Chicago musings

imageThe University of Illinois changed me life in so many ways. Not only leaving home at 19 years of age but moving to another country was pretty big for my ‘quiet’ Greek family in Melbourne. I didn’t realise just how big the world was out there and I just made some of the best friends. We all studied (a little), travelled, partied and grew together. imageKirk was one of the first people I met at the University of Illinois through the study abroad office. A group of them took the ‘new Aussies’ out the first night we arrived and the rest is history. His family were kind of my adopted family in America and I spent much time at there house over Thanksgiving and other holidays.image Kirk’s parents, Vicky and Ron have now become my kids adoptive grandparents – it’s pretty cool.
It’s always a treat to come back to Chicago and see my amazing friends.
We didn’t really follow the tourist trail while in Chicago but we got to hang out in some amazing places with great friends.

Here are some of the kids’ thoughts:

imageKirk was awesome – he has an awesome boat that can sleep 6 people happily. We hanged out with him a lot and we also played with his girlfriend Tina and her son Wyatt.
In Chicago we stayed at Kirk’s parent’s place. They had so many stuffed toys that we loved to sleep with them. Even Toby and Yasi did. Kirk’s parents who are Ron and Vicky, told us lots of stories and Kirk’s mother showed us lots about rocks and she also gave us some. It was so nice of her to give us lots of rocks. She was a very very nice person. imageRon named us some new names so that it was easy to remember our names. I was Matilda, Yasi was Agnes, Zoi was Chip, Toby was Isaac and Emlio named himself Vicky Branch. We named Ron – Bob – even mummy calls him Bob now. Vicky was called Vicky. One night Bob took us to an awesome ice cream shop called ‘Hole in the wall’ cause it is a hole in the wall. I had vanilla soft serve with chocolate coating on top – they dipped it in chocolate. It was really really awesome.
By Kiki

imageKirk is our friend and he is fun to play with and he has a boat and he took us on it. I played with Wyatt on the boat and it was a pretty big one – there was a downstairs and it was really cool cause you could sleep in it and there was a couch and you could even watch TV – there was table, a kitchen, an oven and a fridge. It was the smallest boat that could fit so much stuff in it. I liked playing with Wyatt – he’s his kid. By Mooch

imageBob and Vicky were so nice and they had lots of teddies and stuffed toys and a television and they were so nice and let us watch movies and told us lots of stories. imageI sat next to Bob while we watched a movie and he cuddled me. He was so nice to us. Vicky taught us about rocks and they had a very big house. They let us mess up a bit but we packed it up. I liked their place. The upstairs was pretty cool but we played in the basement a lot of the time. I did some homeschooling at their house and I finished my Maths book because I’m very good at maths and doing plusing. I liked it when Vicky gave us some rocks – it was so good. By Zoi

This is Chicago style pizza - so yum

This is Chicago style pizza – so yum

We stayed with my dad’s best friend Kirk’s parents when we were in Chicago, which was about 2 weeks. It was fun staying there and we learnt a lot about American history and rocks cause Kirk’s mum Vicky is very into that stuff. Ron who is Kirk’s dad is very funny and made up names for us. He would also makes us laugh. He was a Jokey man. They were very kind, and talkative.
By Yasi

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