It’s a late Saturday afternoon as I sit outside a coffee shop in downtown Evanston, feeling the cling of the humidity on my skin as the sun casts long shadows on the ground. There is a distinctly summer haze hanging about the air as the sounds of people and traffic fade in and out. Having spent my previous summers in different cities across America and abroad, I feel so grateful to be able to spend this summer in Evanston. Without the intensity of the school year as well as warmer temperatures, I’ve been able to get to know both Evanston and Chicago through various adventures that continually add to my level of understanding and appreciation for this part of America that has come to hold a very special place in my heart.

From beach days at our sailing center to late night adventures on the lakefill to body pump classes at Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, I have a newfound appreciation for the beauty of our campus and for all of the resources available. I am especially grateful for our close proximity and easy access to Chicago. One weekend I found my way to the Logan Square Arts Festival, then continued along Milwaukee Avenue to Wicker Park, walking about eight miles in total that day which was quite tiring but also extremely satisfying. Another one of my favorite memories is going to Navy Pier at night to watch the fireworks, then walking to Millennium Park. The park was mostly empty, as it was fairly late, but there was a calm and peace to the quiet that was so soothing. I remember standing in the middle of the empty Jay Pritzker Pavilion and looking up, seeing the glint of a few stars along with the red city glow.

Summers have always held a very distinctive place in my memory, and I can say without a doubt that this summer will be no different. Exploring Evanston and Chicago has challenged and inspired me in ways I never anticipated. I know that despite wherever I go in the future, this spot here on campus and the surrounding area will forever have a little piece of me.

–Connie Wang

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