Yasi’s fun time in Chicago

We had two weeks in Chicago. One of my favourite places in Chicago was going on Kirk’s boat – that was really fun and Kirk goes so fast on his boat. Kirk is my baba’s friend and he has a really nice boat and it’s big. We went on his boat twice. Tina is Kirk’s girl friend and Wyatt is Tina’s son
Tina and Wyatt were very nice also. Wyatt was around Emlilo and Zoi age – he came with Tina on the boat with us. When we

were at the dock the second time I made a hut with sticks leaves and some flowers, I though that it was very nice. At the dock I got to do lots of paddle boarding and kayaking.

I also liked going to Devon place in Chicago. He’s another friend of my baba’s and his wife’s name is Yvonne. Their kids’ names are Cormac, Aiefe, Ciren and Nimph. They live in a very big house with a pool at the back and really nice gardens – we had fun.
We stayed the night in the guest house. In the morning we went for a swim, played a game where we see who can jump the highest over some one and we also played Limbo. I played all these games with Aiefe.
Aiefe, Ciren and Nimph come with us to the beach where there was an ‘Air and Water Show’ – we went to the dock where Kirk leaves his boat. Kirk took us all for a ride. Devon and Yvonne come with us on the boat but they didn’t come with us to the beach.


Kathleen even visited us at the dock. It was like a party. This was our second time going on the boat. We loved it.
By Yasi


Hanging out with the Hogans – what fun!

imageWhen I was at the U of I, Kathleen was one of my neighbours and a great friend who worked at the study abroad office. She decided to take three crazy Aussies home for the Easter holidays. I was blown away when I first walked in to Mike and my room – it was so welcoming. On the beds were towels so perfectly folded and a lovely small soap and yummy chocolate. It made a big impression on me and I’ve done that for most of our visitors staying with us ever since. It was also very interesting cause her dad Jim didn’t know what we would drink so he bought us ‘Fosters’ which we had never had before – it was such a fun weekend. Sister Audrey and brothers Jim and John were always so welcoming – We didn’t need any excuses to go back and visit – it was always so much fun. I didn’t actually study with Kathleen’s good friend Sarah but she would come down to uni to lots of our parties and she stayed with us in Melbourne for a while so already knew Sandy. Such fun to hang out again. It was brilliant for the kids to meet the family and put faces to some of the stories I’ve told them. It was great for Sandy to meet Kathleen’s mum Ann and see where i got the hospitality inspiration from!

Kathleen and Audrey are my baba’s friends from university. Actually baba went to university with Kathleen and Audrey is her big sister. We also met up a lot with their other friend Sarah.

First thing we did with them was go to Audrey’s house and we found Audrey who just got home from work. She let us grab some bicycles from her brother’s nearby home a ride down to the beach where there was a park and places to ride. I haven’t been on a bike for ages so it was lots of fun. imageWe ate amazing cooked grilled chicken with salad and fruit. It was very very yummy. They were so generous that they even gave us ice cream with a bowl of sprinkles each to dip it in. Kathleen said that ‘everything tastes better and life is better with sprinkles’. Their mum and dad Jim and Ann also came for dinner to meet us. When my dad was at university here, Kathleen took him and his friends Mike (from Perth) and Steph (from Sydney) home for Easter to meet her family. They’ve been friends ever since. We had such a good time the first night that we saw them again. imageWe even met Kathleen, Audrey and Sarah downtown after work one day and they took us to an amazing place for dinner – I can’t remember what it was called but it was kind of like a grocery stall or a mall. You could just choose whatever you we liked and they just weighed it. Kathleen bought us dinner which was so nice of her. We had a dinner that’s kind of like a Buffet breakfast but dinner things instead- we could choose things and put them on a plate and they just weighed it when you pay. By the time we were eating dinner it got extremely cold and we had only summer clothes. Only Yasi had a long sleeve. So we got hot chocolates to warm us up. They were quite extraordinary. They were a normal amazing hot chocolate, then they put whipped cream on top and usually they put sprinkles on but they didn’t have any left so they put chocolate sauce on top. I drank all of mine and Kalika didn’t like hers so I drank hers as well but she had taken her lid off so it was getting colder – but it was still so good. I talked a lot with these girls. I even learnt a few things about NBA such as since Miami Heat were flogged in this year’s final their best player Labron James (who’s considered by most people to be better than Michael Jordan) has moved back to his hometown basketball team. When he originally moved to Miami the people in his hometown were so mad they were tearing up pictures of him. His contract had ended and he just wanted to go back home to play. Also I think he wanted to help his home team out.
Those girls were really fun to hang out with.
By Tobes

imageKathleen were Audrey were so fun because they gave us lots of treats and were fun to talk to. They can make a good conversation even with kids. Same with Sarah. Yasi

imageI loved playing with Audrey – she was fun. She even had a dog called Roxy. Zoi


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