Friday, June 10, 2016

Post Chicago Thoughts

Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio in Oak Park

Hemmingway's birthplace also in Oak Park

Tristan's kitchen and my favorite place to sit

Architectural River Tour
Chicago surprised me.  Not with it’s densely hi-rise populated-downtown area, not with it’s numerous sculptures, not with its free zoo and gob-smacking Lakeshore Drive, no, not with these, although they are reason enough to be impressed.  I was impressed with the Chicago that is outside of the loop, to the west and to the south of the downtown area.

First, let me say that during the week that Vlad and I were in the windy city (not windy because of it’s Aeolian power, but for the wind emanating out of its’ politician’s mouths), we did not meet a single surly, sour, or cranky person.  From the personnel at the grocery markets to the Uber drivers to the neighbors living on our son’s street, we did not encounter a single solitary *ss h***.  Well, that’s not quite right. The manager at the Olive Garden where I forgot my iPad and had it subsequently stolen, didn’t even offer me a conciliatory coffee for my pain and suffering… but that’s another story. We were charmed and warmed by Chicagoans' friendliness and willingness to engage with a couple of middle-aged Canadians on a mission to settle our boy into his apartment before his Step 3 exam and the beginning of a three-year residency program at one of Chicago’s many, many hospitals.

The Chicagoans we met during our seven-day stay were authentic, kind, friendly and willing to help out in any way that we asked, be it for directions, advice on the best way to get to work, to the best place to get a delicious and economical bite to eat. We were enveloped in a warm hug of human kindness. Who would have known that this sprawling, diverse, crime-ridden city would offer up the degree of solicitousness that we encountered wherever we went?  And we went to a LOT of places…

We must have put on several hundred kilometres getting the apartment hooked up with gas, electricity, Internet, insurance, furniture and groceries. Every time we needed help, we were obliged with a friendly face, a smile and reassurance that not all big, sprawling heterogeneous cities are an unsafe place to be.

We discovered Uber, the cheapest, best way to get to downtown, the best Mexican food to be had north of the Mexican border, movie theatres with Lazy Boy-type easy chairs and neighborhood connectedness the likes of which we do not experience at home.  The people in Tristan’s neighborhood wanted to know him and were quick to include him in their daily looking-out-for type of concern.  They were congratulatory, encouraging and immediately offered the best way to…(insert just about anything here).

Thank you Chicago, for welcoming our boy into your hearts and into your community. Thank you for making us feel at home, making us feel welcome and for making us instantly feel like we are a part of your ‘hood’.

We look forward to coming back and discover more of what you have to offer.


Anonymous said...

This is on my list ... heureuse pour toi! RB

Stella said...

Merci RB. Ville qui vaut la peine de visiter mais qui coute cher quand même!