While living in the city:
(this post was totally inspired by this:http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/2011/01/domestic-enemies-of-urban-mom.html and any mom or anyone who has lived in the city will probably totally relate!)
1. How to parallel park. Supposedly you learn this when you do driver’s ed when you’re 16. Remember those orange cones you crushed as you were weaving through them while some underpaid, really angry driving instructor sat next to you? Let me tell you, you don’t really learn how to parallel park until you live in the city and you have no garage or car port to park your nice car (or golf cart…ahem, Gma!) in. I’m getting pretty darn good at judging just how small of a space I can squeeze our van in.
2. How to ride the train/bus. Not that I am very good at it. I am still afraid when we get on the metra that one of the boys (or me) is going to fall through that gap between the train and the platform. Shudder! And how can you get used to the awful smell of bus riding? Urine, cigarette smoke, overwhelming cheap cologne. It’s really an adventure. Poor Ben has to experience it every week…
3. How to drive on/merge on the highway~Chicago style. And by that I mean, you take a deep breath and gun your engine and artfully weave your way into the oncoming traffic full of crazy, very angry, agressive, and dangerous might I add, drivers and you don’t relax til you…get home, basically:) And then you drive to…I don’t know…Ohio and you start honking like crazy at the SLOOOOOOW people who try to merge going 25 mph and then you realize you have possibly a little city road rage. Possibly.
4. How to sleep through noise. I visit my mom in the country and Ben and I lay wide awake listening to the…crickets and…the wind blowing, maybe a cow mooing. And I think, “Why is it so darn quiet out here! Where are the buses, crazy people who sing and talk to themselves at all hours, the ambulances?” And then I get used to the peaceful quiet of the country only to have it become a distant pleasant memory in my mind once I come back here….and then my country family comes to visit and lies wide awake here all night wondering what happened to their happy little cricket noises. What a life.
5. How to do laundry at a laundromat. Everything the lady said in that post is true (even the being pregnant, dragging 40 lbs of laundry and your children to the laundromat. Good times.) I was terrified of laundromats before I came here. It seemed so intimidating to drag your personal belongings into this place full of rows and rows of big hulking machines that eat your quarters half the time and to have strangers stare at you while you fold your underwear! And to try to keep your children from making a game of slamming dryer doors shut as hard as they can only to watch them bounce open again. (not that mine have done that. ahem.)
6. How to meet new people. One thing about living here is that you meet new people all the time. There are people everywhere, for heavens’ sake! The sad part is, you meet great friends and they move away allllll the time. I can’t wait to settle down someday and not have new neighbors every year!
7. How to save money. You don’t know how to save money until you don’t have any! And living in the city is EXPENSIVE! I have learned so many ways to cut down our budget until I can cut no more! I want to move somewhere cheap. And by cheap I mean not paying the same amount for rent on a small apt that people are paying for mortgages on 2 story houses!
8. How to survive. It’s been tough to live here so far away from family and having to learn to do everything ourselves the hard way. But it has caused me to grow stronger and more independent and savvy. But I still want to live closer to my family:)
9. How to be tough. Now this is the hard part (no pun intended:). You have to be tough to live here with so many different (a.k.a. crazy) people! You get besieged on all sides for money and yelled at if you don’t give it, people scream at you on busses, announce ridiculous things to the world through their bullhorns downtown that make you want to give them a piece of your mind, so many calloused, hard people. And it’s so hard to find a balance between protecting yourself (and your family) and hardening yourself a bit but also maintaining compassion for people. We often find that our guard lets down automatically once we drive out of the city. Vacation, anyone?
10. How to appreciate the “someday.” Don’t get me wrong; there are some great things about living here! The awesome museums, downtown being a quick bus ride away, meeting so many different, wonderful people, learning to be savvy….But I personally am not a city girl and I know I will really really appreciate all the things I may have later in life that are on my “someday” list. Like a dishwasher, a garage, a washer and dryer, a backyard, a house, I hope. Little things and big things!
But for now….I’m a chitown mama living in a crazy city!