Life post-college is hard. I grew up in a town where my backyard was a cornfield and I knew nearly everyone. We had days off of school to attend the local county fair in our plaid shirts and boots (that we thought looked so cool at the time). In August, I made the move from my mid-sized college town to the beautiful windy city of Chicago.
And boy, was I unprepared for what I was getting myself into.
I hope that my complaining does not deter you in any way from picking up and making the move to a new and diverse city. As much as I nag, Chicago really is one of the coolest places I could have chosen and most exciting adventure I could have possibly endured.
In my hometown, I could easily go 65 on the backroads and get from point A to B in an instant. Well, there’s no back roads here. Everywhere is stop and go. There are cars and buses and bikes and none of them seem to know how to drive properly. I also still can’t yet comprehend why regardless of what time I leave my apartment, everyone else seems to be leaving too.
I have never had such an appreciation for garages, parking lots, and driveways. They seem non-existent here. And the ones that do exist, you better be prepared to lash out a big chunk of your paycheck to afford a spot. I quickly learned how to parallel park, but not without a few bumper scratches. But then you actually have to FIND THE SPOT to park in – and let me tell you, they are limited. Plus, in new areas, you have to look up and down the streets for signs to make sure your vehicle won’t get towed.
3. So instead, there’s public transit.
For those of you who witnessed my early attempts at the CTA, I am glad to have provided some entertainment. What are all the damn colors and numbers? What is Howard and how to I get to Wrigley? Why did the bus not stop for me? How the hell do you use this little silver V card? I’m sure I’m not the only one, but sheesh, I was an embarrassment.
4. Where are the fields and open spaces?
But actually, where’d they all go? I’ve got a taste for some fresh sweet corn and even fresher air.
5. So much to do, not enough time or cash to do it all.
I come from an area where all the local kids would go to Walmart for fun, because, well, that’s all there really was. Around here there is just SO MUCH TO DO and I want to do it all. Seems like a good problem to have, right? Wrong. Everything costs money. Everything. So instead, I either spend way too much money or just crawl to my bed weeping about how I never do anything.
6. But like…everything is just so damn expensive.
But actually. Everything from my apartment rent to a cup of Starbucks coffee costs exponentially more in this place.
7. How am I supposed to live in this tiny, little, shoebox-of-a-place?
It is like college all over again, only 5x the cost. I have enough space to live in but it’s certainly hard to call a 420 square foot apartment a “home”.
8. Any. And. All. Tourists.
There’s a lot of cool stuff around here. Professional sports arenas, museums, the Sears (Yes Sears, not Willis) Tower, a beautiful lake. I was once one of those tourists who seemingly didn’t understand anything about how to get around, or where to go, or how to act in this city. Okay, I’m definitely over exaggerating. But it’s annoying when I am trying to get home from work and all these Cubs fans are crowding up the area.
9. The constant and awful noise.
This has not been as big of an issue as I expected since I live on a relatively quiet street. Regardless, the peacefulness of a country neighborhood without the hustle and bustle of people roaming the city can certainly not be found here.
10. That smell…
I think this speaks for itself. Cities, ladies and gentlemen.