Sep 1, 2009
A couple weeks ago I left my comfortable little condo in Dupont Circle and headed west with a boyfriend, two cats, and lots of stuff. Shortly thereafter I arrived in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago's West Side. As I began unloading my truck a skinny 23ish boy rode his bike up to my boyfriend and I and asked, "Do you ride?"
I looked at this scruffy hipster boy for a few seconds. First a assessed if he was trying to rob or date me. Both scenarios seemed unlikely. So with great hesitation in my voice I answered. "Yeah I ride. Ride bikes...why do you ask?"
"I just wanted to say hi. I ride too. My name's XXX I live down the street. Do you need help carrying boxes?" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I thought to myself, Where the hell am I?
It turns out I was in Chicago. Throughout my move-in people stopped by to say hi and introduce themselves. I even had one person hand me a list of take-out recommendations. Five years in the Nation's Capital made me a little hard and although DC is one of the best places on Earth... it is not the friendliest of cities. Personally I have given countless tourists directions to the National Mall by pointing to the Washington Monument and saying with intense harshness, "Walk toward that thing. You'll find it."
Chicago with it's famously terrible winters, corrupt political structure, and massive size was already a much warmer place. Of course I am going to miss my extended family in DC (they are irreplaceable) but it seems like Chicago is going to be an easy city to make my new home.