Sunday, June 21, 2009

No Longer a Teenager, Not Yet an Adult

Turning 20 in Chicago (IL) was a definite blessing. My experience during my two + month tenure as summer student at the University of Chicago was most definitely one I will never forget. I met some of the smartest, opinionated, passionate, fun, and compelling individuals that I had the privilege of interacting with. I attended Mellon Mays Summer Research Training Program between June and August in order to begin my senior (though I was only a rising junior at the time- never to early to get a head start on research) thesis research, network with fellow Mellon students, and to gain a first hand look into the careers of graduate students and professors. I met Mellon fellows from Cornell, Bowdoin, UPenn, UChicago, and Cuny, as well as building upon relationships with fellows from my home institution: Haverford College.

Research and class took up much of my time during last summer, but the time spent with new and old friends was always fun; exploring Chicago, eating out, debating ideas, and partying. My 20th birthday was a definite highlight during that summer, fantastic fun with a group of intellectuals who knew how to get down after a long day of library research. I know personally that academia is an intensely work oriented field where you have to remain focused enough to write lengthy and sometimes wordy papers filled to the brim with new ideas and provocative spins on old ideas. After reading 3- 300+ page books a week, my birthday was a very welcome reprieve. My birthday celebration was held at the Noon Hookah Lounge in Hyde Park.


This particular hookah lounge is set in a very convenient location for University of Chicago (Hyde Park) students and residents of the Hyde Park area. It is a 15 minute walk from the center of campus and is surrounded by small markets, delis, restaurants, and residential buildings. It is a cute 2 floor place, very sensual and warm decor, with welcoming and helpful staff. The selection of tobacco is plentiful though I would suggest the double apple and the mint. Upstairs they have a separate room set up for larger parties, which is were my party took place holding nine of us comfortably. I suggest that you call ahead to reserve if you are going to have a large group to make sure they have space for you.

It can be a bit pricey but definitely worth every penny. Even my surprise birthday cake (not free unfortunately) was so delicious that my group ordered another one. I have heard, though I did not have the chance to try any myself, that the food is very good and the drink are tasty, so definitely throw down a couple extra dollars and splurge. It's well worth it! It is definitely a place to check out while you in Chicago, especially in the Hyde Park area.

(A.N. There is apparently a Chicago law that only 3 people can smoke at one hookah at one time in Hookah bars. I haven't been able to find any actually evidence, though I am still looking. Just a warning, as a I experienced this myself with having to buy multiple hookahs because I had large parties with me. It can be crazy annoying to have to buy another hookah when there is a group of 4 because of this law, but the hookah bars' staff definitely enforce this.)

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