Chicago Snob

That is what Meesha called me last week for a joke I tried to make about Johnson County and massage parlors. I think the not mentioning him on my goodbye post made him pay more attention to me, don’t ask me to explain how a Russian’s mind works.

Some people never move from the town they are born in. Both my wife and I ended up in other countries. It is always amazing to me that even thought we are from the same town back in Colombia and having friends in common, we just never met while we lived down there. If I would not have moved up here during my teenage years and actually gone to College down there I am sure our paths would have crossed since she went to the same University that many of my classmates went to and I would have gone to a University that some of her friends attended.

I ended up finishing high school and college here in Chicago and ended up leaving here during the years that I think shape someone’s personality. Since most of my immediate and extended family have lived here for decades, I have always had ties to Chicago even when living in Michigan and Kansas.

I used to be extremely annoying with the Chicago thing when I first moved to the tri-city area in Michigan. I was not the foodiot (another moniquer thanks to Meesha) back then, but I did enjoy going to good restaurants and I think in my time in Michigan I could count the good ones in one hand. None of them better than anything I could find in Chicago. It did not help that many people in Michigan had no pride on their state or cities and Saginaw (where I worked back then) was known as Saganasty and Bay City a place I seldom visited was Bay Shitty. I did not come up with any of those names, that was what people truly called them. I used to live in Midland which was the snob city, but it had nothing going for it either and the proximity to the chemical plant just made me nervous… people would make jokes about the color of the clouds and which ones would mean stay indoors and which meant run away.

Besides my friends there Michigan does not have anything that really interests me, sure it is beautiful but even the cheeseheads have better lakes.

When I moved to Kansas City I had no clue what I was getting into. I knew next to nothing about the city, the company that paid to move me, I left after six months. It would have been easy for Bea and I to pick up and take off to Chicago, Montreal or Colombia at that point, but we decided to stay and I was lucky enough to find a job that I thought was going to be a career. Then the blogger community embraced us and I made some awesome friends at my new job. Little by little our support system was bigger than I could have ever expected.

I have plenty of family here in Chicago. Just this weekend I got to go and play football (tackle, I am actually in pain right now but I will survive) with my cousin and their friends. Bea and I have been spending time with my sister and Mom and loving it. My friends are little by little finding out that I am back, and the schedule keeps on getting full before we even have a chance to make any plans of our own. Its a great feeling but still very bitter sweet.

Kansas City had become home, Bea and I already felt that when we used to drive back from Chicago after a weekend. Saying good bye a couple of weeks ago was tough, but we still have one more week down there of packing and it is starting to settle in my head for sure that we are not going to live down there anymore. I know some people I will see again, and hopefully I will see often. I never expected to leave Kansas City so soon, and to leave so many people who I consider family behind. We will be making trips back and hope to stay in contact with everyone, maybe twitter and facebook will make that easier, only time can tell.

Obama calls Nobel Peace Prize is ‘call to action’

As much as I don’t like talking about politics I and very excited that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

While I know that the talking heads will cheapen the significance of an international body recognizing a person for their efforts in fomenting peace, it vindicated one of the main reasons for I voted for this man.

I believed from day one that his election as president would show the world community that WE as a nation of many backgrounds had a MAYORITY of people that believed in change, that believed that we were at war with TERRORISM and not with ISLAM.

I applaud Obama’s reaction as a call to action as he works hard to get our house in order still does not forget that a world not a piece will only bring more issues back to the US.

I am proud to have voted for Obama, and even more so that the world sees that change will bring peace.

Art for the Soul

I love blogging because of the community you build with your circle. While thanks to the KC Bloggers I was able to expand my blogger circle quite a bit, reading Daniel and Will has always been a constant source of topics to expand on, agree with or disagree. One of the topics I have been wanting to discuss is art appreciation and how not everyone seems to like all types of art. It started with Dan posting poetry, which I like and appreciate, but not as much as other forms of art. Without getting into the branch of philosophy known as aesthetics and for this post’s discussion lets define forms of art as music, literature, sculpture, and paintings.

XO beat me to the punch and posted a very outspoken prose ode to poetry. Then Emawkc came back and told XO how it is and that thanks to him renouncing to his soul and turning atheist he was not able to appreciate poetry.

Funny that I happen to fall right in the middle of those two views… not quite sandwiched in, but I think they both have a point. Lets examine the following.

(Move my soul) Music – Literature – Paintings – Sculpture (I don’t get)

I admit it, sculpture do pretty much nothing for me. The most interesting thing in that genre besides some fountains is maybe just huge real life things like the shuttlecock on the lawn of the Nelson Atkins museum. Paintings also don’t transmit as much feeling into my brain as photos do. Some people see tons of stuff in a painting that are just beyond my comprehension. I could not be moved by a sculpture no matter how beautiful as I am by a melody or some well arranged words.

I am sure XO appreciates art in some level, and something has to get to his non existent soul once in a while. Now the question is, using this little scale I use give us your order… I wonder if it is purely a senses type of thing, or if culture plays into it. So lets see your answers.

Listen to the Universe

Destiny is a funny thing. Many people have used the phrase, “it was meant to be,” and in a way acknowledging the existence of a higher power or force that moves the chess pieces of the game of life.

Amongst the eclectic group comprises my friend circle I many are either complete atheists or agnostics. What is amazing to me is that they are people that I would consider very spiritual even if the concept of an all powerful sentient being pulling strings is just foreign to them.

We live in a world where religion is all around us. As a Christian I experience things for a little different perspective, and I honestly do not feel any superiority because of what I believe nor any inferiority because of it either. Some of the atheist I know are almost as militant as the bible thumpers in letting people know that “their” truth is out there. I don’t feel the need to push my religion on anyone, but I am more than happy to share it with those that want to learn more about it.

Things are falling into place for the next steps on this chapter or my life. My wife completed one of the corners of the puzzle I was building and now it seems like more and more pieces are falling into place. Its funny how the job that I thought was the biggest factor is almost dwarfed by the fact that we might have found the perferct place to live. I was super excited to show Bea the condo because I felt it was a gift for the both of us to go into a place that we might get to truly call home.

Sacrifice is a word that is overused. I wish people would use the language a lot more without making the people that use vocabulary feel like they are being elitist trying to use “big” words. Leaving Kansas City was not easy decisions because we built our life together there; many people were not just a part of it but key players that helped us make the rope of our relationship that much stronger. I hope that we get to see our friends often and that the distance only makes them stronger.

The way I found the place where we might have you guys over was all a matter of chance. I had a realtor setting up showings for me and he just happened to send me the wrong address to a place that I let him add to the list but did not meet my criteria. Then the owner of the place we might be getting who lives in Denver happened to be in town and was willing to show me his place before going on a work trip. I got a text message for both the guy from the realty and the owner of the condo within minutes and I almost thought the cell company messed up somehow.

The address was the same for both. I met the realtor and called the owner to tell him I was a little early for our appointment. I saw two condos in the same property but after talking to the owner of one of them I was pretty much sold. The units are almost identical but I knew Bea would love the open kitchen and the fact that the back deck looks at a small river and a Catholic church. I saw the place and I could not wait until she saw it… now she has and liked it too and we should be signing papers next weekend.

The fact that we are less than a block from Church is awesome, but also that it has so many little things that I know will make my wife smile is icing on the cake. Higher power or not I feel pretty lucky that after only a week of looking we might have stumbled into the perfect place for us to continuing to write the story of our lives.

Driving

Everyone in this country thinks that X city has the worst drivers, and from first hand experience they have never driven in Cali, Colombia. I am sure that the reason that people don’t care about traffic signals or speed limits is that there is little consequence beyond getting on a wreck or taking someone’s life… that happens quite often and I lost my best friend to a car crash down there years ago. In the US the fear of getting stopped by the police and given a fine keeps most people driving within reason, but we have all seen people driving like maniacs in an interstate if they think its “clear” and then slow down as soon as there is a cop.

There is a little anecdote I hear about someone that got a chance to move and work in Switzerland. Someone from the company he was working for was driving him to work every morning and he noticed that he parked very far away from the entrance in a very limited parking lot. The person’s curiosity was eventually too much and they asked why did he park so far since they obviously got there early and were there first. The driver explain it in very simple logic, “When we arrive earlier, we have more time to walk to the door. Someone that come in later might need the walk time to actually arrive in time.” To some this might seem dumb, in our society we always want to be rewarded for doing something, we want self gratification so if we get somewhere early we want the “best” parking spot. Thinking of others is not something I see in many parking lots here. Something very small, almost trivial, but it illustrates a lot about how being thoughtful can be applied even to where you park in the morning. If you take that last parking spot right next closer to the door are you making someone running late, even later? Is that just their problem for not getting to their destination with more time?

This morning I wrestled the Chicago traffic once again and it solidifed my view that I need to find a place close to the office because with snow the commute could turn into a two hour mess quicker than you can say Chitown. There are new things here since the last time I lived in the area. A lot intersections now have cameras that will politely request money from you via mail. The highways don’t have the virtual cops and people are just as nasty as I remember. There was a dude in a red mustang that was cutting people off just to get a spot ahead in stop and go traffic.

I am not sure where that shift in the brain happens, that waking up 30 minutes earlier to drive at normal speeds and without stress is just not acceptable compromise. The pace of life here is quicker, but does it really have to be? Can I keep some of that slower pace from Kansas City in here? I guess we will have to wait and see.

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