Chicago, baby!

Downtown Chicago. The Wrigley Building and the Tribune tower.

Downtown Chicago. The Wrigley Building and the Tribune tower.

I’m finally here! I’m in the United States, the country I’ve dreamed of since I was a little boy. I’m in Chicago, a lovely midwestern city with friendly people, a city I’m fortunate enough to call home.

Oh yeah, I’m home.

First impressions? Well, I live on the 27th floor of a downtown building with views more magnificent I could’ve ever imagined—albeit for three more weeks. As this is only a temporary apartment, we will have to soon find a place of our own. I’ve been house hunting with a realtor and there are quite a few excellent apartments in beautiful neighborhoods we still have to check out.

'Merica! American flags waving over Macy's.

‘Merica! American flags waving over Macy’s.

Oh yes, I said “neighborhood” (as opposed to “neighbourhood”). I’m an American now. Trying to adopt the midwestern accent I used to have before moving to London, and using the American spelling of the English language. I’m an American.

What else? It’s rather cold here, but it’s going to be even colder in a few months. And I can handle that; I lived in Estonia for the first 27 years of my life and survived -30°C (-22°F), so Chicago’s -11°C (+12°F) isn’t really scary. Ah, yes, I’m still not used to Fahrenheit really—I know 61°F is 16°C (a nice coincidence), but that’s pretty much it. Got to work on that.

Yesterday was Halloween, a holiday I yet have to come to appreciate. When walking around downtown yesterday we saw quite a few people in costumes and masks, and in residential neighborhoods many houses are decorated in cobwebs, plastic spiders, ghost statues etc. Looks like Halloween is taken rather seriously here.

A nice view from a 27th floor apartment.

A nice view from a 27th floor apartment.

Everything is a lot cheaper here than in London. Groceries, eating out, clothes for starters. Transport and fuel, too. However, one thing we have to get used to is tipping. Nobody really tips in Europe; here it’s an integral part of life.

Another thing different from Europe is, you have to sign when you pay by card. In Europe, everyone uses PIN codes; here there are no microchips on bank cards, so you either sign on the receipt or on a terminal in store.

Chicago pizza. The best pizza... in the world.

Chicago pizza. The best pizza… in the world.

Of course, everything is bigger in America. Streets, cars, houses… food! The smallest stuffed pizza at Giordano’s is enough for three, and even then you might have to take some home with you. On the other hand, one thing that is smaller here is the pint. When the imperial pint is 568 ml, the American one is 473. And beer is mostly sold by 12 fluid ounce bottles (355 ml) anyway. Although, today I noticed 24 fl oz cans in my local grocery store and that’s quite a proper, man-size beer. Oh, and whoever said American beer was crap, well, the joke’s on you. I’ve had some of the best-tasting beers here and I haven’t even tasted a small fraction of beers they have here.

Okay then, I’m going back experiencing new things now. We’ll be in touch.

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