Weekly Gratitude: My Foodie Parents

Last weekend my parents came to visit me in Chicago for the first time since I moved up here one month ago today. The time has flown by but that didn’t make me miss them any less. The time I spent with them was incredible as usual but very very different. We didn’t have my siblings with us and the fact that they were simply visiting was a weird feeling. We went shopping, went to a beautiful church, and did a lot of typical Kleck things. If you know my family even a little, you know we love our food. I would even go as far as calling us major foodies. We are constantly trying new restaurants and eating all types of different cuisine. From a young age my parents always somewhat forced us to eat everything, just to try it. To give you a visual, my brother was chowing down on some octopus at age four, and he loved it. I am so happy that they instilled that in us from so early on (not eating octopus but trying foods from all cultures lol). So what did we do last weekend you may ask? Well, we ate. We ate often. We ate incredible food. We ate a lot. Keep in mind they were here for a day and a half so we had at least lunch, dinner, and breakfast.

The first place we went was Eataly. This place was not only really yummy but such a cool idea. This place was huge. A giant two story mixture of a market place selling anything and everything Italian and then the restaurant part where we ate. When we go out the Kleck fam goes tapas style so we can get a little sample of everything. My dad usually orders for the table what he thinks we would like. It’s perfect for us.

Okay so wow, don’t even know where to start with this next one. My parents were so excited about taking me to The Loyalist, which just opened in August. The atmosphere of this place was so fun. It was underground and super industrial. We sat at a communal table and ordered some pretty outstanding dishes. Highly recommend 10/10.

Lou Mitchell’s may have been one of the cutest breakfast spots that I’ve been to. Open since 1923, this place just radiates charm and hospitality. We were instantly greeted at the door with the most adorable older woman handing out donut holes in a giant wicker basket. Right then, I was already sold.

Shoutout to my parents for being the best of the best. Thanks for always teaching me to explore and do whatever it takes to become the best version of myself. Love you endlessly. You rock.


Being Your Own Advocate

Growing up, this concept was drilled into my brain and boy am I thankful for that. My parents have always taught me that you are the only person who can change your life if you aren’t happy with it. If you want something, you have to ask for it and go get it. The worst they can say is no. And you can’t be scared of the possibilities of the no because it could end up a yes.

This has really become apparent to me since I have started my college journey. I will always have my family and friends to lean on, but it’s really up to me at this point. I am in charge of my future and this kind of independence has only heightened that drive inside me. It’s a terrifying and liberating feeling all at the same time. It’s a pressure, but a good pressure because it’s all in my hands and I can mold it into anything I want it to be.

I have always been someone who has lived in fear. Fear of what people thought of me, fear I would mess up, fear I would make the wrong choices. I was in a constant state of worry, and to some extent I still am. I have very high standards for my life and how it will turn out. I put a lot of pressure on myself to live up to those expectations I have worked so hard to establish. I have a plan and why stray from the goal, right?

I have made a lot of changes in my life in the last few months, all for the better. These changes weren’t always easy, but they caused me to grow up and look at things with a different perspective. I had to remind myself that you have to demand the best because you deserve the best. You have to be your own best friend. You know what is best for you and what you want. Just take it one day at a time and set small goals for yourself. Work up to the bigger ones. There are so many possibilities for you and you can’t wait around for things to happen. Go make things happen, experience different places, cultures, and meet all types of people. Trust in God’s plan, practice self-love, and make yourself proud.


Life in the Big City

My first official week in Chi town has come to a close. So far I have met some pretty spectacular people, started classes, used my shiny new CTA pass to get downtown, found some yummy places to eat, and even more importantly where not to eat (some of the dining halls). I have seen beautiful sunsets on the lake and the city lights brighten up the sky at night. This has basically been everything I was hoping for and more.

Move in day was completely stress free thanks to my amazing parents. We got everything unpacked in just a couple of hours and were able to make me feel right at home. My bed is honestly comfier than my one at home thanks to the many many layers of mattress pads I am so happy my lovely mother insisted on. I have countless pictures of my best friends around, reminding me to have fun and take care of business here, and I will always have them when I get back.

My first week here I made it my mission to be the ultimate tourist. I went on a trolley tour, took pictures in front of the bean, went to world-famous restaurants like the Billy Goat Tavern and Ghirardelli Chocolate, did plenty of damage shopping, and soaked in as much of this new home of mine before my classes really start to pick up. I have been downtown the last three days in a row and man let me tell you, that is physically exhausting. My feet and back kill from walking so much but it was worth it because *cue cheesy line here* I’m making unforgettable memories with all my new buds.

I already had visitors my first official weekend here too! My amazing friend and her parents decided to come up to celebrate her birthday and kindly picked me up on the way to spend the day with them. The day started off with a lovely room tour (which I had to make sure was spotless upon their arrival) where I showed them around my dorm and introduced them to my roommate and some of my friends. We spent the rest of the day shopping and finished our busy day in Greek Town at Greek Islands Restaurant where we enjoyed some super yummy dishes where I basically felt like I was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It was so kind of them to take me in for a few hours and spend the day with them.


When we weren’t going crazy in the city for 5+ hours at a time, we were being typical college kids, already making brownies in the lounge and having movie nights. This is the stuff I enjoy the most. I am so excited for what is to come and to really get started in all of my classes in the upcoming weeks. I know Chicago is where I am supposed to be right now, and that’s a really good feeling. I think I’m going to like it here.