I arrived in Chicago Wednesday night. After braving the tollway (which I still don’t quite agree with) and rolling down the length of Devon (Pronounced Deh-vahhn, not Dev-in as I’d previously tried to say) I have to say I was really excited to be here. I’m not saying I’m no longer excited to be here or that the luster has worn off at all, because I know I have a TON to look forward to and I’m still super stoked. That being said. Basically I’m homeless for the next few days until the lease on my apartment is finalized and I have somewhere to put my stuff.
As I rolled down Devon, past the Jews, Arabs, Indians and Mexicans, I came to realize, SF has NOTHING on Chicago diversity. Like, no seriously, before you try and say ANYTHING against that, STFU, cause it’s true. The Bay Area may have a very diverse population as a whole, but it’s not like you can go from one block seeing Kosher Deli to the next block with Halal grocers. The cool thing was, it was SO neighborhoody. Like people pulled over in their cars and chit chatting with their friends on the sidewalk. Kids playing on the sidewalk and in the road, all under this fresh summer heat with a bit of humidity that makes you want to get out and walk around in shorts and flip flops.
So far, I love it here. Before you start commenting on “How harsh the winters are here” I’d like to say, STFU. I don’t want to hear it…for the millionth time. What I’ve come to learn is, Chicagoans are fiercely proud of how harsh the winters are here. Like, bragging rights, throw it in anyone new’s face and it is not a small talk conversation. Oh no, it’ is a full on discussion and point of interest for many in this city. Apparently they think the west coast is nothing but pretty sunny and LA weather 24/7. I get it, Chicago gets cold. Please all STOP trying to explain the cold to me because you were in it for 3 days while you were here for work. I’ll figure it out for myself and stop rolling your eyes and arching your eyebrows and muttering “whatever” to yourself. It’s rude.
At the moment, I’m in Starbucks. Waiting for what looks like it should be a thunderstorm to roll in from the west. Meanwhile, it’s warm and humid outside, and I love it. Know what else this city is? It’s clean! I’ve only seen one homeless person and the lack of trash and human fecal matter on the sidewalk is astounding. And it’s awesome. Everything here is normal sized, not compact SF sized. Also, you can pay with your credit card for everything; parking, falafel, coffee even your El ticket. I realize you can now do that for MUNI in SF, but really, how long and how much fighting did it take before that happened. Aside from the fact that I still don’t have an apartment, stuff just happens here. Someone thinks your attractive and they want to get to know you, they ask you out for a drink, or lunch. There is no beating around the bush, back and forth emails for days, trying to schedule 15 minutes between Bikrim Yoga and shopping for organic free range cashmere while bitching about tourists at Macy’s.
Yes, the longer away from SF, the more I realized I needed to get out and made it just in the nick of time. No, I don’t know Chicago well yet. Yes, it’s going to take a while before I do. But I’m determined to get to know it and make it my own.