As the chill starts to settle in here in Chicago, my well-documented hatred of the cold and winter and snow is resurfacing. Chicago is not known for it's lovely and majestic winters. This city is pretty well plagued by piles upon piles of snow each year coupled with sub-zero temperatures and winds that are fond of knocking me off the sidewalk onto my ass in the middle of the street. Oh, and those winds have the magical ability to drop the temp another 10-20 degrees.
In short, I really hate the winters here.
By contrast, the summers in Chicago can't be beat. It could be a bit warmer for a bit longer, but I think the shortness of our warm season is what makes the summers here as amazing as they are. The city comes alive, people are out and about, street festivals are packed into every weekend, and the beaches are always full or sun-loving people soaking up every minute of warmth they can get. This city celebrates the warmer months like no other place I've lived.
Which just makes the winter months even more despondent. It's almost like we are forcing ourselves to have fun in the summers because we know that once December rolls around, we won't be going outside for anything less than absolute necessities for a good 5 months. Everyone shuts themselves in doors, socialization slows to a crawl and the memories of summer are all we have to keep us going.
OK, that last paragraph may be just a little melodramatic, but it does mostly convey my thoughts on the issue.
So each year around this time, the husband and I talk about moving. When we first met, he was steadfast in not wanting to leave Chicago, but over the years he's become more open to the idea. I want to live somewhere warm. Like no snow kind of warm. Where sunlight isn't a precious commodity and houses are only equipped with heaters for "just in case" moments. Where 90-degree weather isn't seen as the second sign of the apocalypse and being outside in January doesn’t involve 3 layers of clothing, 2 coats, a hat and a prayer that the wind gods won't take you as a sacrifice to their cruel sense of justice.
Of course, when he asks where I want to move, my only answer is "South." "Where South," he asks. And I say "I don't know, just not here."
Very helpful and direct.
Truth is I don’t know where I'd like to go. Atlanta has been mentioned several times, but I just have a bad impression of that city for some reason, and a strong opposition to Georgia in general. Austin and Dallas have been bandied about, but then there's the whole living in Texas thing to contend with. New Orleans sounds interesting, and we both really love that city, but that whole finding a job thing might prove difficult there.
Then there's the West Coast to consider. We're both open to pretty much any of the big West Coast cities: San Diego, San Francisco, L.A. We've even considered the northern ones like Portland and Seattle because we hear snow isn't a real issue there, although the lack of heat may still be an issue. But we've never been to any of those places, so right now they sound like these mythical places of wonder, but we have no clue what they'll really be like.
There's also this notion of starting over again socially. I have experience moving around, did it a lot as a kid and I uprooted myself to Chicago a few years back. But just because I've done it before doesn't mean it'll be easy and/or fun. I love the friends that we've made here in Chicago. It's taken a few years, but the friends we've cultivated here are really great people. We have to ask ourselves if we really want to start over again and forge new friendships.
All that said, it's just an idea. The logistics of moving all of our stuff, finding jobs and transferring schools, finances, and all the other stuff that comes with moving is a bit overwhelming. Yes, I'd love to move South and get out of these wretched winters, but I'd also like to be making 3 times my current salary and shopping for a summer home. I'm not sure how many more of these Chicago Winters I can take though. I'm guessing at some point the hatred I have for this season will finally out weigh our apprehensions about moving and we'll make it happen. But I don't think that's this year.
Meanwhile, I'll just come back here to bitch and whine about the cold.