When the mercury drops below 32F, it becomes really difficult to do much in this crazy city, unless of course you are making Chicago home, and need to live with the treacherous winter about a third of the year. To start the new year right, funsherpa sits down with Devin Kidner of Making Chicago Home to talk about her travels, interest in new people, and more importantly, why Chicago is an amazing city despite the harsh weather!
F: How did the blog come about?
D: The blog was started to put aside a certain loneliness involved with moving to a big city. I have lived and worked in a lot of big cities, and there is a paradoxical loneliness when one first moves into a big city. This blog is all about going out, meeting new people and exploring the city with no reservations.
F: How do you meet all these people?
D: Well, I originally lived in Evanston and it felt like Prison-ston where no one wanted to do anything, so I moved down to the city which makes it a lot easier to move around and meet interesting people – I am no longer limited by the operating hours of the purple line! Volunteering at the Green City market has exposed me to great people, too!
F: Do you ever get tired of meeting all these new people?
D: No not at all, for me, it is the biggest thrill in life! People have so much to offer and it is always great to learn about them and what they do.
F: Why do you move to all these different cities?
D: It started out because of my background – I’m half-English and half-American, so I wanted to make sure that I had roots in both countries. Then it evolved to learning about different cultures and experiencing life changing events. Traveling helps me learn about myself and opens my eyes to a lot of global traditions. One thing it definitely opened my eyes to is how awesome karaoke can be! If I never lived in Japan, then I would have probably never understood how unique this wonderful tradition is.
F: Do you find it hard leaving all these cities you move to?
D: Nope. I do fall in love with every place I live in, and I love it enough to let it go. Nowadays, it is very easy to stay in touch with the lasting connections I make in each city.
F: If you had an ideal city what would it look like?
D: It would definitely have the diversity and the weather of Chicago. It has to be large and have great public transportation that links people to each other.
F: Any post-Chicago plans?
D: I want to stay in Chicago for a while. I feel like it is very similar to London. It is so vast, there are so many neighborhoods and people from all over the world come here. There is so much to explore that it will make it very hard for me to leave Chicago. So the current plan is to stay here!
F: How does Chicago compare to the other cities you’ve lived in?
D: Well, it is much bigger than London and much more diverse, even though the diversity is segregated. Part of the beauty of Chicago’s diversity is that you have all these neighborhoods where you feel like you are in a totally different place. It allows for diverse cuisine, diverse chefs and so many good chefs that highlight the rich Midwestern local produce.
F: As an outsider moving to Chicago, what image did you have of the city before moving out here?
D: I imagined everyone would talk with the crazy Chicago accent that SNL portrayed in the “Da Bears” skit – well I’ve never heard anyone out here with a ridiculous Chicago accent. Before coming out here too, I only saw photos of the Bean and nothing else, so I never really had an image of the different neighborhoods in Chicago.
F: How are you liking the cold weather?
D: I love the cold and love it when it is negative 17! There was a night last year where it was so cold, that I could feel it biting through my boots. Days like that make me love the city even more because no other place is this cold!
F: What are your favorite places in Chicago?
D: Hmmm…well I really love the Local Option and the Cat Circus that came to the Gorilla Tango theatre! I haven’t really developed any favorite places yet, but I enjoy the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Joffrey Ballet, and will have to do Whirly Ball one day. I really love everything, so one Chicago thing would be really hard.