Blogging From Barnard: Connections


This post is part of an ongoing series of blog entries by Anjie D (FG3), a freshman at Barnard College writing about her college experiences on the blog Uptown Girl. Here's an excerpt of her latest musings.

The past couple of weeks have been all about connections: making them, finding them, missing them.

A couple staff members at First Graduate have a mission for me; from here on out I will call it Mission Networking Skills. They want me to get writing (more professionally than this blog), and they want me to make connections in the writing world. Mission Networking Skills started off well with a chat with a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. I have a future chat date as well, this time with a successful writer (married to another successful writer), when I go home after this week-long trip to Chicago.

You heard right: Chicago! I'm keeping a friend company while her parents take a vacation. I am sitting in a 16th floor kitchen that has a great view of all these other cool, tall apartment buildings in the neighborhood. If you smoosh your head against the kitchen window the right way, you can even see Lake Michigan which I have waded in and biked along and picnicked next to.

Chicago is strange. Don't get me wrong it's a great city and all but it's strange, too. Soaring poles of steel cage over an outdoor concert venue in Millennium Park. Cicadas buzz in the trees like little tiny lumberjacks. It seems like everyone owns a Schwinn bike - I even saw one in the Columbia colors of white and light blue. The subway doesn't run underground beyond a few points downtown-it goes overground like BART into these neighborhoods that are definitely populated but eerily quiet. And I have a nickname for it: Flatland City, Flatlands.

Everything is funded by major American corporations.  Boeing, McCormick, McDonald's and they all have their names on public plazas and popular tourist areas. There's even a BP Bridge, which I hope won't rupture any time soon.

A connection: At the Museum of Science and Industry, the farm technology exhibit, which shows off a John Deere tractor and stocks fake Oreo's in a fake pantry, makes corn feed for cows seem normal and natural. Michael Pollan would have a stroke in that exhibit-not just because all the food is fattened up so it reaches slaughter weight faster, but because everything is wrong in the exhibit. Everything is wrong about it.

I definitely prefer both San Francisco and New York to Chicago. But you know what, Three Happiness Restaurant has way better Cantonese food than what I've had in either of the other two large cities. So, nice job, Chicago.


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