Spring has arrived in Chicago.
Long anticipated warmth. The sheets of ice on Lake Michigan have finally yielded to the glistening rays of sunshine and ceased into the cold waters. The lakeshore beaches look so deliciously inviting that only reminding yourself of the consequences a jump would cause keeps you from immersing into the icy waters. People are playing with their offspring in the long neglected back yards. Beautiful bourgeoning trees adorn Lakeviews streets. Children are playing catch and basketball in the alleys. The lakeshore cycle/jogging path is crowded with Chicagoans soaking up the light, the warm air and the smell of the fresh, sweet water.
A phenomenon I have always liked about Holland and that I now like about Chicago is how incredibly thankful people are for the warm, sunny days they receive. Of course there are many more sunny, warm days here than there are in Holland (thank god, otherwise I would be seriously disappointed) but we do have the grueling, hostile winters and of course Chicago is not called the "Windy City" for nothing. So when it got warmer and sunnier about a week ago everybody wanted to enjoy the weather.
Remember the job I blogged about last time? Well, I didn't get that job - not surprisingly. But I did buy myself a bike and I did enjoy the weather, biking around Chicago. And this is why I have been absent from blogging for a while.
Whoever would have thought that getting a bike could change my outlook on life so much? I feel like I can go anywhere now. I know I could have just used public transport or drive if I finally bite the bullet and get my American drivers license but none of these ways of transportation give me the feeling that I get from biking. It makes me feel like nothing can stop me. It is kind of scary to cycle in the city I have to say and I am using a bike helmet for the first time in my life. And that - even though I learned how to cycle when I was three years old (and I should have really used a bike helmet then but it was the early 80s and people didn't use those then). I learned how to cycle this early for two reasons: My mother couldn't afford a car and even if she could, her eyes were too bad and they didn't allow her to get her drivers license (she was however allowed to ride a motorcycle. So did my grandma. I am the first woman in the family since the 1950s to not know how to ride a motorcycle but I am the first one to know how to drive a car). So when I was a kid in Vienna and my friends and their parents would drive down to Italy for the summer holidays or fly to the US to go to Disneyland my mom and I would stay in Vienna and instead take bike tours to Schloss Laxenburg or the Old Danube.
Maybe this is why cycling makes me feel so good today. Maybe I associate it with holidays and family time.
The weather hasn't been as good today. But I know it will get better again eventually. I know that I can expect a hot summer, maybe too hot for my liking. But that's ok. Because how can one not be excited about what is about to come - picnics in the park, outdoor concerts, outdoor food festivals, swimming in the lake, ...
I often hear people say that Chicago has those harsh winters to keep too many people from moving here because if it would always be as lovely as it is here in late spring, summer and fall, the city would be as expensive to live in as San Francisco.
And I can believe that.
I am pretty exited about a few things apart from the weather right now - first - one of my best friends ever is coming to visit me this Thursday - unfortunately only for a few days but I am looking forward to showing her all the Austrian and German places (she is Austrian too) and maybe even get her to fall in love with Chicago (and maybe get her to move here!).
And Saturday in a week we are going on holidays! We are driving down to Memphis and staying there for two days and then move on to New Orleans - which is where all of E's family is from. We get to stay in a fancy apartment of E's uncle in the slave quarters (doesn't that sound incredibly inviting?) which I think is in the French Quarter if I got that right. There will be a lot of family bonding time (my in-laws, my sister and brother in law and their baby are also coming down from Ohio - so I get to see my nephew again), Beignet eating (in which I will gladly participate) and seafood munching (from which I will refrain since I don't eat seafood).
Since I am kind of into the paranormal a little bit, I also want to take a ghost tour or at least see the Delphine LaLauries house. I am also interested in checking out a voodoo shop. So I am pretty excited about that! And it should be very warm there too since it is very far south.
So wherever you are - enjoy spring and if I have time - I will post live from New Orleans!