Continuing with the Chicago theme…
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Chicago. I think a lot of people do. There is a scene in The West Wing where President Bartlet asks Leo, “What is it with people from Chicago that they are always really proud to be from Chicago but when I see them they are anywhere BUT Chicago?” Leo just responds, “You wouldn’t understand. It’s a Chicago thing.” Many times Josh and I have discussed the paradox wherein we can be so ready to leave and yet so grateful for where we are. Even when I bring this up with my Dad, he says, “I know. Chicago is a strange place–the weather, the politics, the (as he loves to put it) ‘topographical wasteland apart from the lake’. But somehow, I was always happy there.”
On the one hand, Chicago is far from an ideal place to live. Spring usually refuses to start until May, the people keep voting crooks into office, and the potholes can swallow your car if you’re not careful. If you want to go shopping downtown, be prepared to pay a 12% sales tax. If you want to get out of the city, just give up because there is nowhere that interesting to go within a few hours drive, and certainly no hills to climb. If you want to go east and west in the city, brace yourself to wait for a bus for an hour in negative temperatures or, if you have a car, brace yourself to sit in traffic behind EVERY red light on your route. Come to expect that, whenever you see the word “Chicagoland” in the national news, it’s never a good thing.
Despite these setbacks, it is still very strange to think of leaving Chicago for a new home. My brother, a San Francisco resident, recently surprised me by saying he preferred Chicago to San Francisco. “Why?” I asked, incredulously. He said that people were nicer, the vibe was more chill, and the food is hard to beat. All of these things are definitely true. I have made such excellent friends in this city. So much of what you need is at your fingertips, so you don’t get stressed about finding ingredients for a recipe or getting the right book from the library. And the food. Oh the food. In Chicago, the food IS the entertainment. Josh already did a search for Ethiopian restaurants in Nashville. There is one. It better be good.
Chicago can also dress up nice for pictures.