So far, being a volunteer in the United States of America has been an incredible experience: the people I work with are friendly, I am provided with good food and a beautiful apartment and I love my job. In Chicago’s Selfhelp Home I take care of Jewish seniors: We play games together, listen to lectures and exercise our bodies and brains. All of the seniors have valuable stories to tell, the majority had to face antisemitism throughout their lives and a few of them are Holocaust survivors. The work of ARSP and the Selfhelp Home is utterly important to the residents, especially to those who were confronted with the National Socialism in Germany.
Naturally, I sometimes need to unwind after talking to and working with our residents the whole day and Chicago has a lot of activities to offer for a person who is deeply interested in the arts and culture. For example, I subscribed to a movie theater and am able to see three movies a week for free. So far I’ve seen a few very recommendable films: Harriet, Jojo Rabbit and The Good Liar impressed me the most. But I also try to see plays and just recently went to a modern and humorous production of Romeo and Juliet on the beautiful Navy Pier. A few organizations offer half-price tickets for many shows in the Chicago area which is why I also was able to see Verdi’s opera Luisa Miller in the Lyric Opera. The opera is based on a German novel I had to read in High School and the building is just impressive.
Last but not least, I also was lucky to see two of my favorite artists live during the short time I’ve lived in the states. Rachel Bloom, a Jewish comedian and musician, performed extremely funny songs in the famous Chicago theatre and Lizzo gave a colorful and inspiring concert just a few minutes away from the Selfhelp Home. Aragorn Ballroom, where the concert took place, already hosted stars like The Doors and Duke Ellington before. Further, I take acting lessons twice a month and was invited to see an exciting cabaret show by one of my father’s friends.
Still, there is a lot I want and have to explore in 2020: I want to visit the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium and the Fields Museum and need to go on an Architectural Boat Tour.
Luckily, my mother visited in December and I was able to learn much more about Chicago while showing her the gigantic and magnificent city I now call my home.