Baha'i Temple


I love how I get all caught up on blogging (e.g. like last Tuesday) but then somehow seem to slink into the sludge of lagging-behindness! Don't worry. I'm going to write my heart out today!

Last Thursday we did something really super cool, but before we headed out we needed fuel for the journey, which we opted to get at Frontera Grill. It's this really hip Mexican restaurant for white people. Seriously, you know you're not getting real Mexican when there isn't single amigo to be found in the place. This was fancy, urban Mexican food for rich people who would never think of buying a $1 taco from a taco stand (even though it would probably taste better!). Of course, everything on the menu was a little too pricey for lunch (and we weren't that hungry anyway). Luckily, the menu had a section of platitos..."little plates." Brock ordered cow tongue tacos (not kidding...they tasted kind of funny, but not that different from beef!), and I ordered these little masa corn cakes topped with shredded barbacoa. And let me tell you, the menu wasn't kidding when they said these plates were little! We thought it would be like a sterotypical overpriced Mexican place with huge portions (even for "small" stuff), but oh how wrong we were. Frontera had the portions of an upscale French restaurant! But it was okay. Like I said, we weren't terribly hungry and we just wanted to try the place. Our waitress was a little curt with us (you could tell she was irritated that we didn't order anything big), so our overall impression of FG? Overrated!

After lunch we went to hop the CTA to head up to Wilmette (a suburb). I know what you're bikes?! NO! No bikes! Wilmette is like 30 miles away so we totally splurged and payed $9 for roundtrip CTA fares! CRAZY I KNOW!! We are so wild. Of course, this being the first time we've paid for CTA ever during our whole time in Chicago, we had no idea that the purple line train only ran during rush hour periods. So we paid the fares, went in the station, and had to wait around for over an hour for the first train! live, you learn!

The ride to Wilmette took about an hour, but luckily we we sat down next to the funniest group of men ever. They were all rich white guys who had just finished their working day at the Chicago Board of Trade. They told us we were guests on their "show," which happens M-F from 3:00-3:45 on the purple line :) The ringleader of the group, KGK (Kevin G. Kennedy), was a really funny guy and even offered to take Brock on a tour of the Chicago Board of Trade floor! The floor has been closed to the public since 9/11, so it was a pretty big deal...especially since Brock wanted to see it so bad. He gave Brock his business card and as it turns out, he's the COO (Cheif Operating Officer) of a securities company! What an "in!"

Anyway, the reason we went to Wilmette in the first place was to go to the Baha'i temple. There's only seven temples in the entire world, so it was really good to see! Not to mention stunning.

The temple is nonagonal...meaning it has nine sides. The symbol of Baha'i is a nine-sided star, the number 9 representing perfection. Baha'is believe that God has manifested himself in different prophets throughout the ages: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Zoraster, Buddha, Krishna, etc. This being so, all religions are tied into one with one divine purpose: to uplift mankind. Bahai' has been around since the mid-1800s, and has about 5 million members worldwide. It really is a beautiful religion the promotes unity and equality. There's much that can be learned from their outlook.

Anyway, the temple itself is magnificent. Its brightness comes from poured concrete filled with flecks of white quartz, and is covered in intricate carvings representing all the world's major religions; the Jewish star, Christian cross, Sanskrit swastika, and so on (betcha didn't know that Hitler stole his trademark symbol from Dharmic religions!). Beautiful gardens and fountains surround the temple, and inside it has a soaring ceiling that is just absolutely gorgeous. You walk in through one of the nine doors and it's all just one big chapel (over 1000 seats!), but despite how huge the room is, everything is extremely quiet. If a mouse farted, you would hear it.

I'd been wanting to go to this temple since the moment I saw it in the guidebook two months ago, and I'm so glad we were able to get out there. Wilmette is a beautiful suburb and it was so nice to be somewhere quiet for the first time in two months! No police or ambulance sirens. No cars honking. Just the windy rustling through the trees. It made me long for home! As fun as it is living in a big city, and as much as I love being so close to so many things, the suburbs have a lot going for them too :)


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