Walking sandals, check. Selfie stick, check. Google maps, check. Okay, my day long journey of being a tourist within my own city, Chicago, was ready to begin! As we prepare ourselves to begin our program in Barcelona, students of the program were assigned to visit several symbolic locations, take ‘touristy’ selfies, and document the experience. I headed out with two other friends and a heap of uncertainty to places I THOUGHT I knew. To my surprise, I was not as acquainted with Chicago as I presumed….at least unfamiliarity will be familiar in as we continue our project in Spain! I welcome you to join me on my journey of cross cultural exploration!

Is that Jack’s magical legume? No! I am standing in front of the Cloud Gate, often known as “The Bean” at Millennium Park. While taking me selfie I reflected on how much awe a simple structure can provoke!

While circling the Buckingham Fountain, the whooshing water captivated my hearing as the sun blinded me with its brightness. Even though many of my senses were off balance, I could feel the vibrant energy of surrounding tourists as they too were amazed by the fountain!

I stood near “The Bean” preparing my selfie stick when two incredibly friendly men approached me asking to take their picture. They then offered to take a picture of my friend and I. To their surprise I proposed taking a picture with them! Was it a pleasant surprise?….I’ll leave that to the viewers discretion.

All things dull and colorless aside, this wall not made for those faint of fabulous! The Four Seasons wall represent “human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different ages”-Marc Chagall(artist). I deemed this true as I gazed at a wall of action and chaos yet felt serenity. Can anyone relate thins feeling to actual life? I sure can!

Finally! I feel like an authentic tourist visiting a location I am unfamiliar with. Miro’s Statue is so different from the other monuments as it cuddles itself between towering skyscrapers in the safety of shadows and construction fences. Interestingly enough, the artist Joan Miró was from Catalonia Spain. Spanish culture is evidently overflowing far beyond the borders of the country, spreading little bits of wonder to windy places.

BS Alert! Bronze Statue nearby! For a farm girl, standing head to head with The Bronze Cow created slight unease. Taking selfies with large animals isn’t particularly encouraged where I’m from. However, this was one of my favorite places to visit as it was a reminder that different worlds, rural and urban for myself, can happily and beautifully coexist.

This was this first time I have ever commuted 30 minutes to Wrigley Field in order to take a selfie. How did I feel attempting to balance a selfie stick, an umbrella, and my reputation? Absolutely ridiculous! However this was by far the most entertaining location, I’m sure the bystanders would agree!

As a child I never understood Picasso. Now as a 20 year old I still don’t understand Picasso. But standing near the Chicago Picasso I saw clarity. Each passing person there was different, unique and complex yet they all peacefully went about their day beneath the shadow of a sculpture few understand. We don’t have to understand things in order to respect and appreciate them.

Some species of bird have adapted by learning to fly, others by changing colors. The “Flamingo” has ditched basic pink hues for a bright vermillion color. Taking pictures here I was reminded of when I used to stand waving a baby Polish flag each May for the Constitution Day Polish Parade. Those memories and experiences have shaped my mind to be more abstract than this sculpture and have led me to this program, taking selfies with this art, in my windy city, Chicago.

I am not lion, I am not even kitten, these statues are WILD! The lions at the Art Institute bring a sense of majesticness to an already grand building. Although I frequently pass down this street, I am forever dazed by the beauty of these cats. Maybe because they don’t smell and because they are green. Sorry Kicia(my barn cat), you have competition.