Friday, September 05, 2008

Settling in: Chicago style

So we've been in Chicago for over a month now. It is weird, we both talk about how unreal it seems. To be honest, it seems like we don't live in any one particular city. I would say we are pretty settled in, in that most of the boxes are unpacked (the ones that aren't are totally my fault! Sorry!), R has been going to school, I have started teaching, we both have awesome automatically re-filling transit cards, we know where the grocery store is, and we recognize some of the interesting characters in our neighborhood (like the guy who bikes up the middle of the street yelling "so many white motherf***ers to kill!" but he is really harmless, don't worry!).

But still, I have no real feeling of *Chicago*, whatever that is. We keep being surprised by it. Like I go downtown to teach and see the skyline and say to myself, "wow, that's the Sears Tower! I live in Chicago!" or on the way back from Minnesota we kept saying, "huh, all the signs say to Chicago, that's where we live." I don't know why this is. I don't know if it is because being back in the midwest seems familiar to us both. I keep saying Chicago seems like what would happen if St. Louis and New York had a baby. Or maybe it is because we had both been here a number of times before, so it is not totally unknown. Or maybe it is the comparison with coming from New York City, where so many people are so *in* to it being NYC. So often people there say, "That's New York for you" or "New Yorkers are like this" or whatever, which I haven't heard as much anywhere else. I also haven't gotten out at all to meet people, so I don't talk to many people other than R and my students and faculty/staff at the schools I teach at.

I guess I feel like we're settling in, but also that there is still so much we don't know. I spend all my time in one of two neighborhoods. When I got to New York I was more into exploring, but here I am so focused on my dissertation writing and teaching, that I haven't taken the time to go look around. Also, R's school will take anywhere from 5-7 years, so we also know we are connected to here for a long time. Maybe that makes us feel less urgent to get to know it all?

I am enjoying it, though. It is nice to know friends and family are so close, even if I don't have time to visit much right now. I will one day soon. It is nice to get lettuce for HALF THE PRICE we did in New York, and tomatoes for like a third of the price. Our apartment is awesome. Our neighborhood is very nice, and I know that one day when I get out there to make new friends I will find good people to be friends with. So that is the story of settling in in Chicago.


Ellen said...

I like it!

Laura said...

I bet Chicago and crazy Cub fans would be super pissed to hear their city described as St. Louis & NYC's love child. Suck it Cubs!

(I am not even a sports fan, but I have this raging hate for the Cubs. I think it's proof I really did grow up in St. Louis).

mike said...

wjWell, since Laurie is on the southside she is required by law to be a white sox fan. Mayor Daley says so, since he is also a sox fan.

Laurie said...

It is lucky I live in White Sox territory, because I also hate the Cubs. They must give us good brainwashing in those formative St. Louis years.

AND if I cheer the White Sox it will make our house more interesting, as R's Minnesota-ness makes him like the Twins. But I have been having the Twins as my secondary team for a few years now, so it is strange to turn on them. hmm.... I just don't know what to do.

Erin said...

Speaking as a Cubs fan, you all suck. ;)