Hello blog readers,
This week I would like to blog about a restaurant my friends, Abby, Erin, Hector, and I ate at which completely knocked our socks off! I’m sure some of you have heard of it, since it seems to be fairly popular, but nonetheless, go to Flat Top Grill (there’s one in Oak Park right near Dominican) if you love excellent stir fry!
Flat Top Grill is designed somewhat as a buffet style restaurant in which you choose your own ingredients from a buffet line, place them into a bowl, and give to the chefs for them to cook for you. Some of the ingredients include white and brown rice, noodles, veggies like peppers, broccoli, beans, peapods, and corn, homemade sauces for extra flavor, and meats like chicken, pork, or beef. Don’t be afraid of the meat when you see it; the meat is raw until they can cook it! Finally, you can add a colored stick to your bowl to add to or change your stir fry: for example, one stick can add a piece of pita bread, while another stick will allow the chefs to cook your stir fry in a wok to protect you from any allergic reactions the community grill may inflict (all stir fries are cooked on the same flat top grill!). Before you give your bowl to the chefs, you must place a wooden stick with your name on it inside so they know who to bring it to. My friends and I had fun with this by changing our names!
The inside of the restaurant is painted with a deep burgundy and is decorated with deeply colorful signs and paintings. It’s a really comfortable yet lively atmosphere, which matches its laid-back buffet style create-your-own stir fry appeal. Also, customers have a view of the chefs, because the flat top grill they work on is in an open space at the front of the restaurant: I thought this was unique and exciting!
Flat Top Grill is a franchise, so they have locations throughout the midwest, but the location Dominican students have close access to is the restaurant in Oak Park at 726 Lake street. The best part about Dominican University is its proximity to the inner city. But if students can’t make it downtown, we also have a lovely downtown Oak Park area where a ton of fun and exciting locations can be found, like Flat Top Grill. Another location my friends and I love visiting is The Brown Elephant, a resale shop where we find really nifty objects, at 217 Harrison street. If you’re interested in vintage items, visit The Brown Elephant!
I hope my readers can make it out to dinner this week, and maybe a vintage shopping trip!
Hello Blog Readers,
This week is International Week at Dominican! Have any of you visited the social hall these past few days? The ceiling is draped with flags of different nations from around the world, representing the diverse array of cultures that populate the earth.
International Week is an excellent way to expose ourselves to cultures that we may never have experienced. For example, on Monday in the social hall, students were invited to watch a performance by an African dance group; on Tuesday, an Irish dance group also performed. Today, my friends and I listened to a musical group called Grupo Poetas perform, and later in the evening, the students are invited to attend an international dance lesson. Tomorrow is the last day of International Week, so make sure you try to attend some of the events. A list of events can be found on Dominican’s website.
Experiencing a culture that is different from our own is important to understanding the human condition, because we are literally looking at life from a different perspective. It is important to understand that many different belief systems, ways of life, and cultural norms constitute the human condition. This is why I believe traveling is important, and especially why I am excited to travel to China. The cultural difference between the east and the west are huge, so directly observing a culture in the east will be interesting, and possibly eye opening!
Blog readers, have you ever considered visiting a culture that is vastly different from your own? Even if traveling isn’t an option right now, reading up on the diversity of our world’s cultures would be a great idea. I hope International Week has given Dominican’s students a decent cultural experience and has inspired some interest in looking at other cultures.
My dear blog readers, I hope this week is going smoothly and painlessly. Now that we are three weeks into the semester, everyone should be adjusted to their new schedules, courses and professors. Phew!
The other weekend, my mom and I took a trip to Texas to visit some family friends, which was exciting, because I’ve never been to Texas. In fact, I’ve only been to Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and South Carolina, so my traveling experience is very limited.
When we went to Texas, we went biking in some of Fort Worth’s biking trails and paths through wooded areas and along some riversides. The woods were beautiful, especially when the sunlight streamed through the gaps and openings of the trees. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with me, but I would have loved to take some photos of the scenery. Also, my mom’s friend Mike, who we visited, is a professional motorcyclist and took us to a track to show off his skills. The track was in more of a desert area with less woods, which made the area very vast and wide open. When I said that everything in Texas is “big,” this is what I meant! Everything seems exciting and everyone (at least everyone I met) tries to live on the edge by doing things like hitting triple digits on a motorcycle.
Overall, the trip was really fun. While it was snowing in Chicago, my mom and I enjoyed beautiful, sunny , 80 degree weather. Many of our Texan friends made fun of us for our “accents,” even though they were the ones with the accents according to my mom and me! Our friends took us on a tour of their hometown and introduced us to their favorite restaurants and stores. By the way, everything is big in Texas.
Because I have only been to a select few states in the USA (most of them confined to the midwest), I’d love to see more parts of the country, especially the east and west coasts and some of the national parks, like Yosemite. Obviously, I also want to see other parts of the world, especially Europe and Asia. I’d love to specifically see London, Paris, parts of Italy, Spain, Germany, China and Japan. I’d also love to travel to New Zealand and see all the locations that Lord of the Rings took place in (because I’m a giant nerd). In fact, I’m already planning on visiting China with Dominican’s study abroad program in May, which will be an amazing start to my travel aspirations! We’re going to see Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Tibet. So exciting!
In contrast to my Texas trip, this weekend I plan on relaxing. Apart from Superbowl Sunday, my weekend looks quite open (all the more time to get my homework done!). If anyone is looking for something fun to do, I hear that a hypnotist will be at the Priory Campus Auditorium this Friday evening. Pretty exciting!
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
I hope the Dominican community began the semester with a successful first week of classes. Thus far, I feel that some of my classes will be stimulating and thought provoking, while others have the potential to be arduous and challenging (and some will be a combination of the two!). I’d like to remind my readers that beginning with semester with a focused attitude is the best way to ensure a successful semester. A lackadaisical attitude likely will not improve throughout the term and will only result in stress.
I’m sure everyone has received the emails concerning Dominican’s success workshops and tutoring schedule. “Active Note Taking and Tackling Texts” takes place today, “Tracking Your Time for Success” takes place March 27th and 28th, and “Improving Your Performance on Exams” takes place April 17th and 18th. Each workshop meets at 2:30 in the Lewis Lounge. Finally, an extensive list of tutoring schedules for several subjects can be found on the Academic Enrichment Center’s webpage:
. I encourage the Dominican Community to take advantage of these workshops and tutoring sessions.
To wrap up this week’s blog, I also want to encourage my readers to do something fun and exciting as a way to balance schoolwork. Admission into the Art Institute of Chicago is free every weekday until February 10th; discount days for the Field Museum are January 19th-20th, 24th, 26th-27th, and 31st; finally, Brookfield Zoo, which is about a 20 minute drive from Dominican, offers free days every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday through February! Take these opportunities to do something fun.
I wish everyone a fabulous week!
Winter break is at an end, and now is the time to continue our scholarly endeavors; although, I feel as though we’ve just returned from Spring break because of this deceptive weather. I love this unusually balmy climate, but I can not help but feel unsettled! Why am I not bundled in a winter coat and scarf, or dreading the chilly trek to Parmer?
I enjoyed my time at home, but somehow the three weeks of break flew by so incredibly quickly. I feel as though December never happened, and Christmas is almost a blur. Although break thundered past me unwaveringly, I had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and thoroughly reveled in my time away from classes and schoolwork. In particular, my family and I had one of the best Christmases in years. Every year my grandparents have a family party on Christmas Eve: my grandpa cooks dinner (in accordance with traditional British culture, he cooks a goose) then we exchange gifts amongst my aunts, uncles, and cousins. In the evening, we go home so that my younger cousins can watch the skies in hopes to see Santa and his reindeer, despite their parents’ insistence that they try to sleep. I’m fortunate to have an amazing family to share Christmas with, and I wish the same for the rest of Dominican’s students!
Now that break is over, I hope all of Dominican’s students can stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. Mine is to stay focused on school; last semester was tough, and I had several urges to give up. In the end, perseverance pays off. Whatever your New Year’s Resolution is, do not give up on it!
I hope everyone has an incredible start to their semester. Welcome back, Dominican!
With roughly two weeks left of this semester, I find myself scrambling to finish all of my last minute papers, projects, and study guides. I have to devote every waking minute to work, but I suppose that’s my reward for procrastinating! I know the majority of you can sympathize with my woes. Although these two weeks will be difficult and stressful, the result will be weeks of relaxation and a lack of school work. Keep that in mind.
My Thanksgiving break was wonderful. I saw some friends I haven’t seen in a very long time, and time with my family was much needed. I have heard it said that some unfortunate people dread the holidays, because they are thrown into a situation they cannot seem to bear: being with their family. One thing I am immensely grateful for is that I am not one of those people! I love my family more than anything, and I hope the rest of the Dominican community had as marvelous a Thanksgiving as I did. Now I await winter break! It can’t come soon enough.
Speaking of winter break, one thing I am not looking forward too is winter itself. I hear this winter is going to be brutal, so make sure you’re prepared! Yes, the weather has been a little strange (60 degrees in November, what?!), but be prepared for a frigid and blustery winter.
Last Thursday Sammie Hopper, Abby Pick, Erin Van Buskirk, and I hit the road — we traveled the three and a half hours to Greencastle, IN to see Mexican Cinema, Javier Carmona’s photography exhibition (Javier is a photography professor and chair of the Art Department at Dominican).
In order to catch Javier’s opening speech introducing Mexican Cinema at 4:00 p.m., we planned to leave at 11 due to the three and a half hour travel time and one hour time difference. The ride was surprisingly smooth sailing despite the stormy weather, allowing us to arrive a half hour earlier than expected! Although there was nothing to see out the window except miles upon miles upon miles of farm land, during which our car sandwiched itself between several semi trucks, we ended up having a really great time (it’s a good idea to travel long distances with good friends)!
We arrived at around 3:30 p.m., stretched and recuperated, then found our seats in Depauw University’s auditorium. Javier’s talk lasted about 45 minutes, followed by about 10 minutes of questions from the audience. He largely discussed his inspirations behind the project, which, on a basic level, displays Mexico through eyes different than those of an American (“These images, associated by a common geography, echo an inability to perceive this Mexican space as it is mediated by others. The immigrant narrative invariably heightens one’s sensitivity to any fluctuating environment”). After his talk, we headed to the gallery to see his exhibition, which honestly blew the four of us away.
To balance the excitement of Thursday, the rest of my weekend became relatively average. I went home to attend the “November Birthdays” on Saturday (we have several people with November birthdays in my family, so we celebrate all of them in one big party), then I spent Sunday working on several assignments. Speaking of homework, I feel as though I’m in a rut, and there is very little motivation here. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about: with only five weeks left of the semester, many students tend to feel burned out, yearning for winter break. Finding a balance between school work and leisure time really does help. If I can’t seem to find the energy for school work, I’ll watch a movie or chat with friends for a few hours, and afterwards I usually find the motivation to read, write, study, etc. Lack of motivation stems from an over-saturation of work. Balance is key.
On a parting note, I hear the artwork in the O’Connor Art Gallery on the fourth floor of Lewis is breathtaking. Check it out!