Let me just start of by saying that working 45 hours a week is a lot. I mean, you look at the schedule and think ‘oh, this is not too bad’, but then you spend a day working with 3 kids and when you get off at 8:30 you’re simply exhausted. But it’s too early to go to sleep because you want to do other things too so you stay up for a bit until you realize that you start work again at 08:30 the next morning. Pfiew, it’s tough. Especially if you want to do things after hours.
For instance, on Saturday I worked from 08:30 till 06:30 and after that I met up with another Dutch girl who works as an Au Pair in the area and finally I went to go see downtown Chicago!! It was a bit of an adventure getting there as it would be the first time taking the Train in America for me, and I would be doing it by myself. So of course, things didn’t go as planned. I was running a bit late so I had to leg it to the train station in a hurry. And then when I got there, the platform was totally empty and something that I couldn’t understand was mumbled over the speakers. So I was nervously walking back and forth, looking for some kind of information board like we have in the Netherlands, but of course there was nothing. So I was just waiting there until a woman called to me from the platform opposite me that they changed the platforms and if I wanted to go to Chicago, I needed to be at that platform. Thank you so much, anonymous stranger, you saved me a lot of grief. So I got to that platform just in time and explained to the woman and her friends that I just moved to the US from the Netherlands so I didn’t know how anything worked with the trains and everything and the woman was like “Kom je echt uit Nederland?” which is Dutch for ‘Are you really from the Netherlands?’. Seriously, what are the chances.
Anyway, I made it to Chicago no problem and I met up with J. and we walked around the town. We were supposed to go to the Lincoln Zoo Lights but as it was raining we decided not to go so she just showed me the important spots. For instance, The Bean!!
It’s so weird being there. Like you see it in films and in pictures but then suddenly you’re right there. I had that at Times Square, too. It’s a bit unreal. But it was very beautiful none the less. Even if it was sooo cold. Mind you, it was raining and windy (the windy city you know). So of course I have a major cold now. Yay. I make good choices.
But we saw a lot of things. We saw the theaters and the Macy’s Christmas windows. And we walked around Millennium Park for a while. For dinner we had a Sandwich at Panera, which was delicious. A sandwich for dinner you say? Is that enough you say? Have you seen the size of the sandwiches in the US, I say? It’s freaking huge.
Anyway, Chicago is a great city and I can’t wait to see it in the day light. One of the best things that I saw while walking around was the live recording of the news in one of the buildings. You could just look right in and watch, it was so weird. And the guy, with all the make up, almost didn’t look human. It was funny to see!
Anyway, it was a good trip and the train ride back was hilarious. While I stood by the door, waiting for the train to roll into the station there was a couple of conductors standing behind me exchanging war stories of that night. Seriously, it was hilarious. One of them told the other that he was propositioned earlier that night by a woman who didn’t have a ticket. It was a great ending of the day.
Other than that, life has been pretty good here. I’m getting used to everything and I’m starting to know my way around. Luckily the homesickness still hasn’t been too bad (knock on wood) and my stomach is finally getting used to American foods. I still need to do a lot of administration stuff that really need doing as soon as possible. But I guess it’ll have to wait until after Christmas. Pff, I need to get on that. -pressure-.
One thing I’m loving about living here is that there’s a lot of squirrels and rabbits just running around the neighborhood. And every time I see one I get a little excited while all the Americans are like ‘eugh rats with tails’. It’s like when I was in the UK and I would see foxes. It’s great. Just hop hop hopping around, not a care in the world. I love it.
Alright, it’s time for me to get into bed and get my beauty sleep. And also to get rid of this cold. My host mom gave me some NyQuil. Let’s see what that does.. ‘Night!