I have been in Chicago for almost a week now. When I arrived it was a sunny 15 C. Today it snowed. I bought a coat and a fleece jacket to wear under the coat. I have been told layers are the way to go.
I remember when I arrived in Holland 7 years ago. It rained without stopping for 2 weeks. And the weather didn't change much in the following 7 years.
So - what have we done so far? We got ourselves bank accounts. That was much easier than in Holland. People were really friendly and didn't give us any hassle. The only thing I couldn't get was a credit card because I don't have a social security number yet. I have to apply for a social security number soon as I will not be able to work before I have one.
Two days ago we got ourselves some phones. That was kind of a bummer for me. I guess there is a bigger market for cell phones in Europe than in the US. We chose the second crappiest phone they had (we had take a two year contract to get it for free) to get the "family" plan in which you get two phones and two numbers. Anyway we are paying as much as I was paying for my contract in Holland but the phone is quite a downgrade. It is definitely a downgrade to my Sony cell phone I got 1,5 years ago and which was already then kind of old for Dutch standards but I think it might even be a downgrade on the Samsung I had before the Sony. So yeah, it's a crappy phone but it's not like I ever do anything with it other than make calls. And I hope that doesn't sound whiny but I don't really have anybody but E to call me anyway at the moment. So the phone is not really an issue.
We moved into an unfurnished apartment which is partly a great opportunity because you get to chose exactly what you want for your house but partly also not much fun because the only furniture we bought so far was our bed (which will be delivered next week) and a little vanity table and we are already running low on money. All the things one needs!
We are borrowing some basic things from our neighbors who are also good friends of ours. We started with a table and two chairs, a TV, a futon and some kitchen stuff, just enough for two people. It's strange to realize that you don't have a kitchen knife or that you want to make guacamole but you don't actually have a bowl to put it in. It's been so long that I had to buy that kind of stuff. I really miss Hema. They have amazingly cute and tasteful furniture and household items here in Chicago but they are expensive. I could always find something cute and cheap at Hema.
To make the place a bit homier we bought a candle and put it in the fireplace (which is closed up so you cannot actually make a fire in it). It smells like pumpkin and it really helps to make you feel welcome.
We also painted our first room. We are planning to paint all of the big rooms. We started with the bedroom which is blue now. It looks great if you ignore the fact that it is a bit wonky at the corner were we left it white. It was our first room though. We hadn't really painted much before so even though it is much less than perfect we are happy with it. And once our friends come home from work (they are experienced painters) they might be able to explain to us how to fix this.
We also really like the street we are living in. It's a typical American street with pretty houses and back yards and sometimes front yards and trees that are just changing colors and surprisingly already since last week - a lot of Halloween decoration. We also have a pumpkin which we will try to empty and carve one of these days.
The only one in our little family who is not so happy about the move is the cat. She has been really confused and scared. I think she does not understand the time change and I wonder if she realizes how far away from her old home she is now. I have moved many times with her and she was always ok after a few days but she just kind of seems depressed. Maybe homesick? E thinks she doesn't like that the place is so empty so maybe once our furniture and our boxes with stuff arrive she will feel better. I really hope so.
Anyway, there isn't really much interesting stuff to tell right now as I just haven't been doing much except trying to get my life in order and shop for cheap furniture. I'll keep you updated anyway.
Baba (thats Austrian for Bye Bye)