Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 24, 2017

VISIT TO USA

It was intended as a few days of holidays on our way back home from Vancouver. It turned out to be a week of intense work related to our new and exciting collaboration with the United Nations on delivering the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030.

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Above you can see one of the Marc Chagall windows in the Art Institute of Chicago – absolutely terrific!

We flew down from Vancouver via Minneapolis to Chicago O’Hare. We stayed the night at an airport hotel because I had to turn around and fly early next morning for meetings in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ingunn was picked up by our dear friend Sue Knox while I was flying south.

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Above you can see the sense of humour at the local church in Lockport, Chicago, a church we know quite well after many visits. Being a pastor myself I look into the future with hope and confidence.

Sue Knox is the widow after J. Bruce Knox. Bruce was my travel mate and work colleague and dear friends over so many years. We met first time in Oslo back in 1988 when I still worked at the National office of YMCA Norway and Bruce was the YMCA of the USA Director for Europe, working out of Cleveland, Ohio. That was the start of a life long friendship and Bruce and I were close partners in developing all those YMCAs in former communist Europe. We made more travel stories than most and had the most exciting work experiences together in Russia and Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania and all over the Central and Eastern parts of Europe.

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This is from the coffee after the service at the church, together with Evy and Sue, two good friends from Lockport.

When Bruce passed away far too early, Sue and Ingunn and I continued our friendship, and soon we were both fully included in the Knox family clan, so much that when we are going to Chicago, it is like visiting family.

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This is our favourite restaurant in Lockport, Public Landing. The name refers to the canal just outside the building, this was a landing place on the canal routes to Chicago. President Abraham Lincoln sailed past Lockport on the canal and is the most prominent person ever to have been to the Public Landing.

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Ingunn and Sue outside Public Landing.

Lockport is a typical small town mid western society and it is so interesting to dive into the culture and history of it and at the same time to participate in daily life in such a community.

 

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One morning we came too late to the station for the morning train to Chicago, and we were just staring down the empty rails. A perfectly unknown lady came over to us and asked with a smile in her face if we had lost the train? We confirmed that and then she just offered to drive us to the next station, where the train connections were richer and more frequent. Just like that – a great example of American friendliness  and generosity, in the middle of a very challenging Trump era.

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Lockport has the best Quilt shop in the world, and Ingunn loves to go to Thimbles, the Quilt shop in the main street of Lockport and do all her shopping for next year there. I have my favourite spot downtown Chicago, on the Michigan Avenue along the lake.

IMG_1340We are walking from the station down to Lake Michigan and the goal is the majestic building on Michigan Avenue, which you can see below.

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This is the Art Institute of Chicago, for me the best art gallery in the world, and I have had the privilege to see quite a few of them around the world. It has my favourite painting,  Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. It has a grand collection of American art through the centuries, including furniture and silver ware. In the basement there is a very fascinating collection of miniature models of European interiors from the 16th century through the 1930s and of American Furnishings from the 17th century to 1940. It is called the Thorne Rooms.

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Apart from the more traditional collections of paintings and sculptures and antiques there are also impressive collections from Egypt and Greece and from the Roman Empire, and also a rich collection of Asian art.

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But for me the most impressive is the grand collection of modern and contemporary art, the richest gallery I have ever visited anywhere in the world.

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Again the second window of Marc Chagall.

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Back to work. This old aircraft hangs in the airport of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I landed early one morning to be received by partners of the United Nations UNGSII foundation, one of our key partners here in Geneva.

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Robert Cipriano to my right is the founder and CEO of AllHumanity Group, a company set up to serve different humanitarian causes in a for-profit way, unlike us, being a non-profit organisation. In this way the company can function in ways we cannot, and thereby serving the NGO community in the best ways. To my left is Robert Reid, a partner of Robert from Houston.

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We spent a long time together getting to know one another and to discuss perspectives of common interest. The rest of the week was used to follow up with partners in Geneva and with my President and  staff team back home.

IMG_1307On my way back home I flew via Atlanta, Georgia, and realised that in 24 hours I had been to two countries and four states and all of a sudden felt quite hungry. At the airport in Tulsa the choice was not very diverse, in fact the only place open a late Saturday night was the Fat Guy’s Burgers Restaurant. It felt like I had entered the Anonymous Burger Eaters, but it tasted like it should!

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Another treat during a visit to the USA is an exposure to the Amish culture in Shipshewana, Indiana, with a population of 658 people. “The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology.

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The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.” The Amish people are famous for their beautiful quilts and therefore a favourite goal for a visit by Ingunn.

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Above a  typical log cabin style house. The most famous quilt pattern among Amish people is called Log Cabin.

On the below photo finally the farewell meal at Public Landing together with Sue.

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Oh Sue, Oh Sue –

you are the glue-

on friendship avenue!


Responses

  1. Wow! the artwork photos are stunning! I especially like the Marc Chagall. Wonderful to see Sue Knox here. Her late husband Bruce Knox was a dear YMCA International Div. colleague, he specialized in Europe and we shared a particular passion for the people & culture of Spain!


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