Chicago Part 2: The Move In

Considering that I had no money to fly out to Evanston and check out apartments, I decided that going into university-owned grad housing was safer. I knew that it would be clean and that if I needed anything repaired, they’d do it in a timely manner. Yes, it’s expensive (it comes out to roughly $1400 a month), but the price does include all utilities, internet, and cable. So not too bad, honestly.

Besides, I read reviews for the ones offering $700 a month, and I heard horror stories about rats and stuff. SO NOT dealing with that.

Anyway, when we got to my apartment building, the check-in was relatively painless. I had to call the on-duty person, since it was a Saturday and the office wasn’t open. He was nice, but he failed to mention that the building had two carts in the basement for help with moving in and large grocery ones. That REALLY would have helped for the first two trips. Thankfully, the third time we got downstairs there was a girl from New York who pointed us in the right direction. That cut down on moving time, which was great, because we were all exhausted from the drive.

I have to admit that I was disappointed by the apartment. I guess I expected less dorm-living and that is definitely not what this is. Very uncomfortable (and ugly) furniture, a shower stall barely big enough for a normal-sized person (thankfully, I’m small), and the smallest kitchen I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously, vacation resorts give you bigger kitchens than what I have. And I’m not sure what the architects were thinking, (they weren’t) because this place has low ceilings and impossibly high cupboards. I have moved one of my kitchen chairs into the kitchen so I can reach my food and things. It takes up about half my “kitchen,” but the convenience is worth it, I think.

Shower

The shower. Look at how much room my very few things take up!

Kitchen

The tiny kitchen. I am short, so the chair that takes up half of it is very necessary. For a reference, I can reach the microwave on my tiptoes. Those cabinets? Yeah, so not happening without some help.

Counter Space

This is all the counter space I have. Note: a 2-slice toaster, a coffee pot, and a stack of filters = full counter!

Living room

The ugliest match-up I have ever seen in my life. The blanket is there, because even yarn is more comfortable than whatever weird material makes up the couch.

My TV

The beautiful TV, TV cart, and DVD player my parents so nicely bought me. (Actually, they bought me a lot of things, but this is by far the coolest.) My mom put the stand together, and my dad hooked up the TV. If I didn’t mind the effort, I could actually hook up my computer to this thing.

I will not show the bedroom because it already has clothes everywhere. I would say that this problem could be helped by more drawer space, but I also had this problem at home and in Long Beach. So yeah, it’s an average bedroom. Queen-sized bed, which is WAY nice. Especially since I use about half of it to store some of my clothes. Also, while the couches suck, the bed is actually decent. I would even say it’s a step up from hotel beds.

So, there you go. My apartment. I’ve grown used to it, and even though its ugliness was kind of hard to deal with at first, I like it. It’s nice having my own place. And I’m actually becoming kind of a hermit, so hopefully going to class and meeting people in group projects *groan* will remedy that. I do want to explore the city, after all. And having fun doing that is a little hard to do without friends of some sort.

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Chicago Part 1: The Road Trip

The drive from Lancaster, CA to Evanston, IL is 2,000 miles long and takes roughly 30 hours to complete. Add to that a stop here and there to use the restroom, meals to tide us over for 8-12 hours, and car fatigue causing us to turn in early for the night at a random hotel, and you have about a 4-day trip (my dad’s estimate, and he’s the main driver, so what he says goes). We did it in three. And my god am I exhausted.

It didn’t help that I had absolutely no room in the car. I took A LOT of stuff with me, and my parents had to have room for their suitcases. To get an idea, here is the pile of stuff I had to pack in the car. This doesn’t include my purse and travel bag.

And THIS is what my dad and I weren’t able to fit in the car:

Yeah, we’re awesome that way. To be honest, I think the sacrifice was worth it. I’m already freaking out about how much of my stuff I left in Lancaster. (My books: I MISS YOU!) But there was no leg room and no way I could lounge a little bit. Here is what it looked like:

During the trip, we went through 7 different states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa. And although we didn’t drive completely through Illinois, it was close. Evanston is on the very edge, up against the lake. Luckily, most of these states are gorgeous, so the three days’ drive wasn’t too much of a chore.

The States

(Note: I didn’t take pictures of California or Nevada. I’ve lived in the desert all my life, and desert just doesn’t interest me.) Here’s a picture of Lancaster, and if you want to know what those two states looked like, that’s pretty much it. Minus the overabundance of Joshua Trees. Joshua Trees actually don’t grow in very many places, and though they grow in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, there aren’t so many of them in one place in those states, like in Mojave or Lancaster. So we’re actually pretty special in the Lancaster area. I guess. I think they’re ugly, but some people like they way they look.

Lancaster, CA

Somewhere in Arizona

Somewhere in Utah

Vail, Colorado

Somewhere in Nebraska

Somewhere in Iowa

The Mississippi River in Illinois

Notable Moments

– Though it was over too quickly to get a picture, my dad and I saw a perfect dust devil (whirlwind of dirt — see picture below) in Arizona.

– Brighton, Colorado has the biggest, CLEANEST Super Target I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve been to a lot of Targets. I seriously felt like I was in a rich people’s Target.

– Colorado lets people ride their bicycles on their freeways. We saw some idiot who wasn’t even wearing a helmet while riding his bike on the freeway. I don’t see this ever working in California. At least, not in the parts I’ve been to.