About fifteen years ago, my friend and I moved to Chicago into a sublet in Lincoln Park for the first four months. There was plenty of traffic and people walking around, as there were so many shops, restaurants and bars. The young people hustling and bustling was contagious and exciting.
So, here’s how I compared New Orleans to Chicago when I first arrived:
I tried telling people hi as I saw them on the street and the reception was not so positive. I was ignored, looked at funny and even avoided. I quickly learned to stop greeting people for no reason. But, come to find out, the people here are just as friendly as New Orleans once you know them.
Driving was strange. I was flipped off for the first time in my first week and not because I was driving poorly. I just wasn’t in a rush. People that are bad drivers in New Orleans are oblivious to it and the bad drivers in Chicago do it on purpose. I do find it very irritating when people in bumper-to-bumper traffic won’t let you merge in front of them. I think it’s either a control thing or a power thing or an entitlement thing.
My accent was either charming or a source of ridicule and throw in pronunciation like “C-ment” and it was the funniest thing to them. I’ve since lost most of the accent.
Chicago is clean and New Orleans is not so clean.
Overall, I love living in Chicago or I would’ve moved back a long time ago. Every now and then, I run into a New Orleans native and the connection is instantaneous. We can spout off locations and in many cases, people we know in common. There is one girl I met in Chicago that had eleven people in common with me and we had never met. I think I’m very lucky to have had the experiences in New Orleans as well as Chicago, two of the greatest cities in America and possibly the world (I can’t say for sure until I experience them).