School News

Haiyin and the Senior Class Visit the Chicago Art Museum

One thing that I did here that I never did in Beijing was our class art trip. We have 10 boys and 11 girls in our class. The boys went to Chicago in a school bus, and the girls went in two vans. We took pillows and sleeping bags. In Chicago we rented two apartments, one for the girls and one for the boys.

First, we went to the Chicago Art Museum. The reason we went to Chicago in the first place was for our Art History class. For that class we were supposed to do a master copy. I had chosen to do a copy of an amazing French artist, Toulouse Lautrec. At the museum I saw many masterpieces that I had seen only in textbooks. I was amazed at how different the feeling of seeing the originals was compared to seeing copies in books. The originals looked alive!

After we visited the museum, we went to the apartment. It was the first time for me to have a sleepover with a bunch of girls. We had a lot of fun. We talked and laughed a lot. For me, an only child, sleeping on the floor in the same room with 10 girls was something that had never happened before. Every class should be a big family like we are. When we woke up we got dressed together and shared our clothes and makeup. It was so much fun! In China I never had the chance to stay with a class like that. And to think that I was afraid that I wouldn’t really belong to the class!

Unfortunately for me we had an Indian lunch the next day. I don’t like Indian food as much as my American friends do. They really love it. I like samosas (potato-stuffed and fried pastries); they can have the rest, especially the Gulaab Jaamuns.

After lunch we went back to the museum and Mr. T, our art teacher, told us to find a work we liked and to make a sketch of it. I chose "Cow's Skull with Calico Roses" by Georgia O'Keefe. I had seen it the day before and had decided that if I had time I would love to do a master copy of it. I love Georgia O'Keefe. Her work always makes me feel peaceful and sweet. Lots of people love Picasso and think his work is great. But I still don’t understand why those people like him so much. I think he is harsh and aggressive.

After we worked hard on the master copy, the girls went to China Town. We had a lot of fun there. We wanted to find a restaurant to have some Chinese food, but we didn’t know which is the best. So I asked a Chinese guy who lived there. He told me some names of good restaurants. One of the names was ‘Old Beijing’; I’m from Beijing, so for sure I chose that one.

Most Chinese restaurants in America aren’t really Chinese. Most of them add too much sugar and oil. Even my cooking is way better than most of the ones I have been to. But the Old Beijing in Chicago’s China Town is the best Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois.

I had a lot of fun in Chicago. Before going home, we went to a mall, my first in America. We also drove past Lake Michigan. It was beautiful and big. And I also like this city. It is really different from Beijing. Chicago is soooo clean!
Here is something really surprising. The Chicago Art Museum is in a busy urban area. Behind the museum there is a small area with tables and chairs, and there are some trees and bushes. And there I saw a tiny bunny! I know there are a lot of animals in America, and they live really close to people. But I never expected to see a rabbit in the middle of a city!

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