I think Chicago would do well to ease my home-sickness. It’s like Los Angeles in many ways. It’s divided into “neighborhoods” the way that LA divides into counties, and there’s definitely an east/west/north/south distinction that comes up in conversations of travel through the city. It’s nice to see one story houses with lawns again as well, even though lawns are a ridiculous waste of space. I guess what I mean is that I enjoy not feeling as claustrophobic as I did in a row house environment. Because the cityscape spreads out, it’s easier to track the sun’s movements throughout the day. I didn’t know how much I missed watching the sun go from east to west until I left the west coast. Chicago has a major international airport as well, so I hear airplanes flying above all the time. I miss that a lot! Living near LAX was an unforgettable part of my childhood. I recall playing outside and stopping to watch the airlines come in, or being in class and having to wait for one to pass before speaking. All you had to do was look to the east and instantly witness their lights glittering in the distance.
There’s also a large Latin@ population, which for obvious reasons is familiar. Having a Central American heritage and Spanish-speaking family members also makes this a comforting thing. Too bad my brother and I are my Dads’s only children who don’t speak the language. It’s not too late to learn, but there are so many things I want to learn that this will have to sit on the back burner for a while. Being in Albany was less segregated and more diverse because it was such a small city and so close to New York City, which I liked.
Here in this city there are even street and neighborhood names that remind me of home – California, Fullerton, Hermosa, Chinatown, Hyde Park, Hollywood Park, Beverly, Sacramento. And the biggest comfort is Lake Michigan. It’s so large that you can’t see the other side, which offers a beachfront with the feel of being at the start of an ocean. Chicago is just the broad booming urban environment I missed. Lots of graffiti and murals, a downtown, traffic, and a lot to explore. I want to get out to the art museums soon, and get some more time at the lakefront. The differences are interesting too, which I’ll get to know with more time. For now, it’s good to know that while expensive, the public transportation is actually effective, and the downtown has things to do, and isn’t a mere business and banking district. So, we’ll see how I feel later on about what this place is about. For now, I’m just excited about being in a new place.