Sunday, October 4, 2009


I have been here for a little more then a week. Chicago is a really cool city. The drivers are super assertive which I love (and is a nice change from Seattle) and the people are very friendly overall. The pizza is awesome, and there are thunderstorms. Really loud ones that kind of freak me out while simultaneously being super awesome. I started work on Thursday and it is pretty overwhelming. Being a minority is something I have experienced in my life in several different contexts, but I feel like I have much more awareness even after the past five days of how difficult constantly being the minority is; particularly when it is both ethnic and religious.

I am working in the inner-city with a great Muslim organization. The first days at a new job are always hard and overwhelming, and I am trying to think about how I can be an asset to the organization and do my job effectively in an environment where I dont feel like I have much to offer currently and I think my main job should be listening to everyone else. I just don't know what life is like as an African American Muslim in inner city Chicago. I think I will learn a lot, and fast. I am so grateful for how patient people are being with me, and I am excited to meet more people, and get involved with different faith communities here. Our work on the ground with malaria awareness will be a challenge in this context, but Rebecca (my work partner) and I are creative and I am sure we will do well. We are helping at a health fair in a few weeks, and planning a blood drive that will include malaria education later in the fall.

In other news, I decided with Rebecca to take a spontaneous trip to Wisconsin yesterday. I had never been there before. We visited a Jelly Belly factory and got a free tour that included free samples (including 7-up flavored jelly beans) and tasted some famous wisconsin cheese from a local market on the side of the road on the way back. I found a great donut place here (those of you who know me well know how important that is) that has awesome apple fritters. And my yellow car sticks out like a sore thumb everywhere I go. I have now been pulled over twice by different friendly Chicago cops simply to ask if I was lost because of my California license plates. I appreciate the gesture, but I keep thinking I am getting a ticket. Its not good for my nerves. :)


Tim Brauhn said...


Keep up the good work.

We are proud of you.

Nadeem said...

I cant wait to see all the cool stuff your going to do ...