About Chicago

I mentioned in my prior post, returning to Chicago is like dating an old high school flame. My personality splits when I think about this place. Day-to-day life tends to have extreme highs & lows. Here’s a running list that I hope will give folks who have never been here some idea of what it’s like.

Things I Hate About Chicago:

  1. Driving to next suburb requires three angels, two of my nine lives, and 25 minutes, 35 minutes with traffic
  2. The Bears (almost) always lose!
  3. Rampant crime: a church robbed of their holiday gifts & the priest beaten, robberies by machete, shootings on Sundays, $25K bilked from Toys For Tots; horrible madness.
  4. Bumping into old High School teacher who didn’t remember me because I wasn’t a “popular” kid like her daughter. The Breakfast Club is real.
  5. Nice people are usually strangers. People you know are mostly judgemental & clique-ish.
  6. I can’t find an Iyengar yoga class within a 10 mile radius of where I live in the South Suburbs.
  7. Crap people everywhere, every shop, post office, nursing home, train, etc.
  8. The closest Trader Joe’s is a 30 minute drive to Orland Park. Marketing/demographics can keep people down.
  9. The roaring clatter of the “El” makes it impossible to talk on your cell phone.
  10. The snow that’s fallen hasn’t stuck yet.
  11. It’s damp & chilly.
  12. The real cold hasn’t come yet.
  13. Only a brief mention of “US Cellular” Field compared to Wrigley Field at the Sears Tower SkyDeck display. Jerry Reinsdorf single-handedly demolished the history & identity of a baseball team. South Side gets hosed once again.
  14. The lackluster employees at the Sears Tower SkyDeck. Folks from all around the world visit there. Act like some kind of ambassadors, people!
  15. No wifi on the Metra trains.
  16. Several days in a row without sunshine.
  17. Soldier Field post-renovation.
  18. Besides the Loop (downtown), the layout of the Chicagoland area is so sprawling it’s difficult to walk anywhere. Cars are rampant and drivers are horrible.
  19. No matter where I go in the world, I’ll always be a Midwestern gal; I’ll always be a Chicagoan.

 

Things I Love About Chicago:

  1. Blue and orange blankets the city on gameday, banners of hope, against all odds, despite the pain, i.e. Bears’ fan loyalty.
  2. Philanthropy everywhere! Toy drives, food drives, etc. in every community
  3. Capital of “heart attack on a plate”–> hash browns, corned beef hash, Swiss cheese, 4 eggs on a skillet
  4. Anyone who walks to the beat of their own drum is politely called “eccentric”.
  5. People take their Christmas lights seriously, and still try to outdo their neighbors. Holiday traditions thrive here.
  6. News radio includes corn, soybean, wheat, pig, & cow futures in financial report. We’re City, but we always nod to Country.
  7. Nice people everywhere, every shop, post office, nursing home, train, etc.
  8. Incredible architecture juxtaposed by chipped concrete & rebar sticking out. The classiness sidled next to the decrepitude. Closest place competing in this beautiful hodge-podge was Oakland, CA.
  9. The “El” rattling across the tracks above like an ancient roaring millipede, and slowly skidding to a stop at a station.
  10. The Amtrak trains must go under several buildings, along the Chicago River, before resting inside Union Station.
  11. It’s cold. Makes me humble. Makes me hibernate in Winter. Makes me appreciate sun deeply. Makes me take Vitamin D supplements.
  12. Gorgeous old buildings built on philanthropy & ego, like Harold Washington Library , and the Van Buren St. Station. And here.
  13. Soldier Field pre-renovation.
  14. Friends who stay your friends your whole life, no matter how many years or miles come between you. No matter what.
  15. My two silly, dazzling, gloriously girly nieces!
  16. Rotund folks in the 40-60 ages with bad hair, slacks too tight & short, colloquial minds & traditions, who love to laugh, & who are the sweetest people in the whole wide world.
  17. The ethnic diversity is unparalleled. Rainbows of people are in every neighborhood, every bus, train, taxi, etc.
  18. Downtown has rugged, urban hustle-bustle atmosphere that’s more laid back than New York, but more hyper than San Francisco, with way more humbleness.
  19. No matter where I go in the world, I’ll always be a Midwestern gal; I’ll always be a Chicagoan.
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