The year to read

These months in Chicago have come and gone. It now gets dark around 4:15pm and I have learned that it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get anywhere. This means I Chicago Public Library card is put to great use!

Beside from reading on the trains and buses, my weekends typically allow lots of time for exploration and reading. I am now a self claimed “urban backpacker” because every morning I leave the house I definitely look like I’m hitting the trails. Not only do I look the part, but I always have snacks, extra layers for warmth, and a full Nalgene.

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The color palette of my neighborhood.

Headphones in and podcast playing, I’ll take CTA to a new bookstores where I read their lists of recommendations and order them from the library. So here’s whats I’ve read.

  • Trouble I’ve Seen, Dr. Drew G. I. Hartimagesdownload
  • Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
  • Wild, Cheryl Strayed
  • South Side, Natalie Moore
  • Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Road Back to You, Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile 
  • The Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa
  • There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan

What I’m currently reading:

  • Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
  • Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, andthe Foundations of a Movement, Angela Davis
  • Home, Marilynne Robinson

Send me all your recommendations. Peace be with you and me and all in between.

“Hi, my name is Madison…”

“Hi, my name is Madison…”

The basics

12 sticky name tags now line the inside of my journal. Some with my first and last name, some with my hometown in small print, and others with my preferred pronouns. But as I have introduced myself time and time again, I’ve begun to wonderful who I am. I am no longer a student of the classroom (…which is a huge identity changer) I am no longer a resident of Pennsylvania. I am no longer known by people in a faith community, hometown, or college campus.

With great power of anonymity, comes great responsibility. As I know a total of 9 people in the great city of Chicago, I am learning how to build relationships with my housemates, strangers, and myself. Stay tuned because I have a feeling it’s going to be a very growing year.

The work flow

This year I am serving as the Engagement Specialist at New Moms (check it out!). New Moms has many wheels turning, including a two-year transitional home for young moms and their children, paid work training programs, a social enterprise, parents support groups, and a plethora of social services. Here I act as a liaison between recruiting volunteers to assist in running our programming, find work projects for large volunteer or corporate groups, and create opportunities for furthering support for our mission. As with many nonprofits, everyone wears multiple hats beyond their job descriptions. I have already learned more about development, communications, and professionalism within the nonprofit world!

The fall is loaded with chaos, so it felt “normal” jumping in. Two weeks in my coworker/housemate/wonderful human being and I were assisting in the Toss for Tots fundraiser at the Columbia Yatch Club (a place I recognize I will never find myself at again). Last weekend there was the annual Austin 5K run/walk in the neighborhood where New Moms is placed (Austin, Chicago is a neighborhood, I do not commute to TX). And next Friday is our annual Gala!

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Mary and I at the Columbia Yatch Club!!
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Austin 5K with coworkers and friends!!


The hot gossip

Basically, I’m just eating really well. Even though we are a on a really tight food budget, we have tapped into the local foods of the city to be transformed. Dip dish has changed me, hot dogs are life changing, falafel reminds of Spring 2015, bubble tea from Chinatown is the worth the trip across the city, and we are blocks away from Little Village. (All pictured below!!)

Stay tuned for more updates, more pictures of food and buildings as I try to figure out this grid system in Chicago. Finally, thank to all who have reached out, written letters, answered Facebook messages/phone calls, and given virtual and in-person hugs as I begin to discern who I am in the context of her and now. Thank you.