mount_oregano: Let me see (Chicago flag)
Olive oil and wine are a lot more expensive in the US than in Spain.

That’s one thing I’ve noticed after moving a month ago from Madrid to the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.

I’ve also been pleased to notice how there seems to be no dog poop on the sidewalks, unlike Madrid. How do Chicago dog owners manage to accomplish such a heroic feat? /sarcasm mode off/

However, my alley has been baited for rats. I haven’t seen a live rat yet (note the qualifier), but the upstairs neighbors say their dog (which they carefully pick up after) enjoys chasing and catching them in the back yard. Rats are said to eat dog poop. Are they the secret to poop-free sidewalks? Probably not, but Madrid: take note.

I’m still marveling at the humidity in Chicago, three times higher than Madrid. My skin is softer, but what would be a pleasantly warm day in Madrid – a mere 85º – can be a sauna here.

I’ve stopped pushing the wrong number in elevators and looking for light switches in all the wrong places, but I’m used to thinking in euros, not dollars. America seems more expensive than it is – although it is expensive.

I still miss the view from my Madrid apartment: the 7th floor with Retiro Park just up the hill, and then the wide sky. On a clear day I could even glimpse a bit of a mountain between the trees. Now I’m on the ground floor with buildings crowding in on either side and trees shading the back yard and blocking the sky. Beyond that the alley abuts the “L” train station and tracks, up on their gradient. (Yes, the trains are noisy. But conveniently close.)

I saw no Persied meteors this week, in part due to the limited view. To try to overcome that, my husband and I walked down to Lake Michigan Thursday to try to spot some, despite the city lights, advancing clouds, and early hour. We knew it was probably futile, but sitting a while at the lakefront is never a waste of time. That’s why we’re in Edgewater: to live at the edge of the water.

Finally, I’ve gathered from news reports that Chicago and Illinois governments suffer from problems with budgets, efficiency, and corruption. The Madrid municipal and regional governments face the same problems. I feel very much at home in that way, although I wouldn’t have minded a change.

— Sue Burke

September 2017

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