Chicago is affectionately known by many names: ChiTown, the Windy City, or Second City. For our Alpamayo family, we can now call it our second home. Located just outside of the city is Northridge Preparatory School, an all-boys' day school much like Alpamayo, that has hosted our boys for the past four years.
This year, from January 25-March 2, thirteen of our Pumas became knights and attended school in this prestigious private school. As part of the program, our boys matriculate in the school and stay with host families for the duration of their stay. The arrangement allows the boys to have a full American culture immersion.
At their respective homes, the boys had to live as if they were American boys. They had to adapt to each family and take on household chores as would any other child in the family. Not only did the boys gain independence and self-awareness, they also learned how to do laundry!
At school, the boys were taught topics such as American History, Science, Math, and even Latin! In Northridge, sports are a mandatory activity, so our boys had plenty of chances to get their energy out.
Since Northridge is spiritually guided by Opus Dei, much like Alpamayo, the boys were accustomed to the chats with the school's chaplain and visits to the chapel for the rosary of the Passion of the Christ.
Mr. Hugo Chong, director of the exchange program at Northridge, supervised the visits and made sure our boys were taken care of.
On the weekend, our boys met up with the other exchange students and went on excursion activities throughout the area. They got to see landmarks like the Shedd Aquarium, the Sheed Observatory (it houses a real meteorite!), the Museum of Science and Industry, and go ice skating in downtown Chicago.
At the beginning of the trip they were all homesick, but I can assure you that by the end, especially after making their new friends, no one wanted to leave. This experience will leave an indelible mark on the lives of all of our boys.