Reflections on Chicago, Real Estate, and Life!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

First Entry!

Thinking of moving to the suburbs? Check this out! The article discusses the 25 most affordable suburbs in the U.S., but of course I still recommend city living, see commentary below!

I lived in the west suburbs most of my life, and now I live in the city, so I am able to draw several comparisons between the two. For example, when I moved from Naperville to Lincoln Park, my first thought was that I would move back to Naperville as soon as I was married. Then I would be able to purchase a house with a yard, send my kids to the best public schools, and be able to park my car in the driveway, etc. However, it didn't take long for me to change my mind!

My first summer in Chicago, I went to a few of the many neighborhood street festivals and came across several novelty t-shirts, which said " I will never move to Naperville, Oakbrook, Hinsdale, Downer's Grove, ...." I thought to myself, how could people say that about the most coveted west suburbs, the most desirable place to live in Illinois, the best place to raise a family,etc. However, after about two months of city living, I realized that my viewpoint was somewhat skewed and biased. I began to appreciate all that Chicago had to offer, I learned my way around, I also developed a strong hatred for the numbers 290, and 90/94, which kept me bound by the city limits with visions of two hour traffic jams in my head. Therefore, I was forced to explore not only the sheltered area of Lincoln Park, but also several surrounding neighborhoods. I fell in love with being able to walk anywhere that I wanted to go, the El taking me downtown in 10 minutes, shopping on Armitage, fantastic restaurants on every corner, and not having to drive 30 miles to a friend's house. I was hooked, and I haven't had thoughts of moving back to Naperville since!

Furthermore, I have already found ways of ensuring that I can be a life long Chicago resident. Friends from Warrenville assume that I will move back when I "grow up" and start a family, practically insisting that I do so with comments such as , "Well, you can't send your kids to Chicago public school and private schools cost way too much money." Luckily, I have that all figured out. Therefore, I usually respond politely by saying, "Yes, I can send my kids to Chicago public schools, I have friends that work in them, I know people that went to some, and there are good ones, and there are magnet schools as well." I also frequently hear my "wheatonite" friends say things like, "How can you raise a family without a backyard, or sidewalks that they can just ride their bikes down to get to a neighbor's house or the park." OK, they may have a point there, but I still have a rebuttal for that one also! First of all, in our day in age kids no longer ride their bikes alone anywhere, and as far as a backyard; In Chicago that's called the park, or your wealthy neighbor's fenced in backyard. I also inform them of these great things called play dates, and places like "Gymboree" where the kids can play indoors and they even have parking!
Looking back on this, I don't see much of the naive Naperville/Warrenville girl that moved to the big city three years ago, I just see me, a Chicagoan for life!