A lot has happened since my last blog post; the month of October has gone so quickly!
To begin with a group of international students went to Chicago for a long weekend at the end of September. It is such a beautiful city, it reminded me of a smaller New York. The architecture is a mix between old and new with Millennium Park adding some greenery to the city colours. Further along sits Navy pier that lines lake Michigan. The lake is a bright and vivid turquoise colour that stretches so far that you could mistake it for an ocean. Our apartment was in a very central location and had an amazing view of downtown Chicago, especially at night. We explored the city both days, visiting both the John Haddock building and the Chicago Skydeck which had spectacular 360 degree views of the city landscape. We were also able to fit in some shopping. We tried an all-American breakfast where they offered the apparently very popular ‘Chicken on chocolate waffles’ however, I wasn’t feeling quite that adventurous so I just stuck with pancakes and bacon. It was a really exciting weekend; Chicago is a place I will definitely visit again.
A few weekends later I visited Northern Minnesota where we explored several of the National Parks. The scenery was stunning. The autumn colours of the leaves on the trees against the clear blue sky were picturesque. The National Parks were surrounded by Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake. It’s so big that is stretches across Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It was a truly beautiful place, I am so glad I got to visit it. That night we drove to a small town called ‘Bayfield’ in Wisconsin. It is a little harbor town where everyone seems to know each other, with a population of only 500. You could have put it on a postcard. We stayed in a cute little Motel right by the water that night. The following day we took a boat trip around the Apostle Islands that sit on Lake Superior, they were simply beautiful. They almost looked like something tropical. It was a really special weekend; something different to the big city tourist destinations.
The past two weekends we then celebrated Homecoming and Halloween. Homecoming is an American college tradition were past students come on campus and celebrate being part of the University of Minnesota. There was a parade, a concert where Kesha preformed and a huge football game. It was a really fun weekend that evoked the university spirit. I then experienced an American style Halloween. They take it very serious here, there were some very impressive costumes! I followed the American tradition and carved a pumpkin however the final product was definitely questionable! I also experienced a ‘haunted hayride’ where you took a hayride into the woods and then had to enter a series of haunted houses. They had actors dressed up as zombies, clowns and ghosts that would jump out at you as you walked through, they could even touch and grab you. We then finished with a corn maze where were chased by zombies with chainsaws. It was probably the most terrifying experience of my life, I will never do it again! I also had several mid-terms this month which were a little stressful at first but in the end they were really fine. American exams are mostly made up of multiple choice questions and one or two essay questions to end with.
Minnesota continues to get a little colder each day and each day I continue to complain about how cold it is; to only get told in response that it isn’t cold compared to winter temperatures. So I may not be seen in the months of December, January and February. I am planning to buy my winter coat, boots and my many hundreds of layers I am going to need this week.
My time in America continues to deliver beyond my expectations. I feel so fortunate to be able to experience such a wonderful journey.