As many of you may be aware, Chicago winters can be…well, difficult. Cold. Windy. Snowy. Windy and snowy at the same time, even. With this in mind, we at the Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research thought that there was no better place to go for our Winter Walk and Talk than the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s warm, gorgeous, and free year-round!
With that in mind, we gathered up a crew of nearly twenty international and multilingual writers, plus almost all of the CMWR team, and a bonus Writing Center tutor (thanks for coming, Gil!), hopped on the Green Line, and headed out to Garfield Park, on Chicago’s West Side. We were able to get a classroom to leave our things in, and then wandered about the Conservatory unhindered by books and winter coats.
One of the highlights of the trip was getting to try out the Conservatory’s themed scavenger hunts. The African American History Month scavenger hunt directed people towards African plants, while the Chinese New Year scavenger hunt sent people searching for plants that are native to China. We had some wildly successful scavenger hunters—many got 100% of the plants!—and some who preferred to wander and enjoy the beauty, rather than scouring the plantings for a specific fern. We also loved getting to see the remaining pieces of art glass from the Chihuly installation: a series of glass lily pads scattered over the pond in the Fern Room.
Once we had thoroughly explored the indoor jungle and desert, we retreated back to our classroom for dessert. We ate some of Laura’s delicious chocolate crinkle cookies, ate some thin mints and learned about the Girl Scouts, and had some great conversation. Overall, it was a fantastic trip for a winter’s day, and we had a great time getting to catch up with all of our multilingual friends.