Chicago & Midwest Value


I had no idea how beautiful Chicago was prior to visiting the city a month ago.  The season and the perfect weather definitely helped, but besides all that, the city itself was beautiful. On a train from the airport to the city, I noticed how flat the land was and how it was covered by grass and trees. Combining the landscape and the fresh air, it immediately lightened my mood and spirit. Before checking in my hotel, I went sightseeing and took breathless photos.

Within an hour of walking the streets of Chicago, I was surprised to see how obsessed Chicago was with squares and linear shapes. Not only it was evident in buildings and windows, even the plant area had the exact square form. It was as if the old Chicago mayor had implanted it into a construction law. 

After a pizza and a beer at Giordano’s, I headed off to Millennium Park.  This park is simply amazing. The breeze, its vastness, lake view, the greens, the fountain, The Art Institute, the museums, and the soldier field were all amazing. I definitely saw myself living in Chicago. This park is what completely sold me.  If only The Bears could play better, Chicago might be the best town to be an NFL fan. The stadium location could not get better than this.

Next day was an almost a full day meeting with Horween leather. I wanted to make an improvement on the leather I have been using for past few years and they have graciously accepted the challenge. I am looking forward to the new leather and color. After the meeting ended, I ate and hang out near the park alongside Michigan Ave.

Chicago Art Institute has been a place I’ve always wanted to visit and finally, my wish came true on the last day.  My returning flight home was late in the afternoon so I had all day to fulfill my wish.


For the 1st time in my life, I saw the works of  the masters with my own eyes. Van Gogh, Dali, Monet, and Picasso and so many other masters of that time. I always had this special feeling toward Van Gogh. Of course, his work is simply breathtaking, but also the life and struggle he had to endure and because of the hardship, he had changed his style and technique throughout his life. I certainly could relate to it and somehow share his feeling of despair. I’ve seen a lot of his works through the internet and prints, but seeing his actual brush strokes and his work with my own eyes… I was overwhelmed and mesmerized.

I am not sure why, but I have always had this prejudice toward Picasso even though I knew very little about him…nor cared to know more about him. I had this belief or misinformation that he was born into a rich family and never really had a struggle in his life. There are several of Picasso’s paintings in the Art Institute, but the painting of the “Old Guitarist” really enlightened me. Not sure if you can see it through this photo, but there is a silhouette of another drawing underneath this painting. I was very confused with this so I asked a gentleman nearby and he was kind enough to explain to me that in many of Picasso’s early day paintings have that silhouette because he was also financially struggling. So in order to save money, he used the same canvas.  On my way to airport, I did a little studying of Picasso for the 1st time in my life, and I felt so embarrassed.  Embarrassed for how little I knew about him, yet I told ignorant stories about him to others.

During this trip, my goal was to better understand the Midwest Value and its people. What I had suspected was true. Coming home, I was really glad about this trip because Chicago and the Midwest Value really taught me the lesson which I hope to take to my grave, humility and discipline.

Chris Pak