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Archive for July, 2014

Summer in Chicago

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Lakefront trail

Lakefront trail

Summer is always my most favorite season in Chicago. Besides all the outdoor concerts, sports venues, and other events, what I like to do most is biking along the lakefront trail or swimming in the Lake.

Biking always starts earlier. This year, I was out on the trail since late April when the air was still chilly and patches of snow were still blocking some segments of the trail. In less than a month, I watched the trees turn color, the leaves emerge, and all of a sudden, the budding flowers cover the entire trees with brilliant yellow, red, white, or pink. The long trail was filled with a sweet, intoxicating fragrance. Depending on the weather, I either rode my Trek hybrid, which has thicker tires, or my Cannondale road bike, light and fast.

Flowers in early spring

Flowers in early spring

I started noticing swimmers with wetsuits in the Lake in early June, at a stretch between Grand and Chicago Avenue. Despite the extra protection, I bet their exposed limbs and face would feel the bite of the icy water, like being stung by jellyfish. I admired and envied them, but stayed away. Then one day in mid June, I saw two men swimming in their regular swim trunks. “Yeah!” I hailed as I sped by on my bike.

I didn’t plunge in until late June. To my pleasant surprise, the water was not as cold as I expected, and I was able to swim for 45 minutes. I felt like kicking myself for not getting into the water earlier. But the warm water didn’t stay for long. The next day when I went back, I felt the change of temperature the moment I stepped in. It must be below 60 degrees. I managed to swim for 30 minutes and rushed back to take a long, hot shower. But I went to swim in the lake every day, enjoying the amazing energy the live water was able to give me. It is definitely worth the challenge of the cold.

For those of you who haven’t tried swimming in the lake, I strongly recommend taking a plunge. It’s magically refreshing and energizing. I hope you’ll love the experience as much as I. So blessed to have the vast lake nearby.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. The film was on national PBS in May, 2014.

 

A Visit to the Museum of Science and Industry

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Underside of U-505 at the Chicago Museum of Sc...

Underside of U-505 at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I visited the Museum of Science and Industry on my birthday last week. It’s been quite a few years since I was there. Probably because it is close by and I feel I can go there anytime I want to, the visit keeps getting postponed. I took the visit as a treat that day.

I must say I was totally impressed. A treat indeed.

There were many children in the museum that day since schools are off during the summer. Different from the Field Museum I had visited the day before, the atmosphere here was so lively and dynamic, as many people, especially the young, were so engaged in various interactive activities.

It was my first time to visit the Exhibit U-505 Submarine. I was taken back by its enormous size, all housed in door, and the bravery of U.S. heroes who risked their lives capturing it during the WWII.

The Museum of Science and Industry building on...

The Museum of Science and Industry building once housed the Field Museum of Natural History. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also watched the film “D-Day Normandy: 1944″ at the theater. The large dome made the experience almost felt like three-dimensional. The entire theatre was packed, and the applause was long and loud at the end of the show. (The film will be shown till May 2015. Strongly recommend it.)

There are a number of other exhibits and films at the museum. I browsed a few more sections, including the exhibit of bicycles, the Transportation Gallery, and You! The Experience. All amazingly done. I left the museum three hours later, wowing for a return sometime very soon.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. The film was broadcast on national PBS in May 2014.