Just a snowstorm?


UIC Parking Lot

Snow was falling as I drove to school today. In all of my Spanish classes today, some students asked me if the exam might be canceled tomorrow because of the snow. Of course, there would be class tomorrow! This is Chicago! This one particular student was sure that if it kept on snowing, I wouldn’t be able to get to campus and give the exam. However, in Chicago, a snowstorm not merely a meteorological event. Every snowstorm, and other major climate changes, are political events of major consequences in Chicago. You can trace this back to the snowstorm of 1979 that was improperly handled by Mayor Michael Bilandic. A few heads did roll after the snowstorm, including Bilandic’s. (I’m sure a few heads also rolled after the Chicago Fire in 1871.) Luckily, I was living in sunny, southern California at the time. I know that even we if get three feet of snow tonight, I will be able to drive from house in Beverly on the south side to UIC near downtown. Chicago will not be slowed down such insigficant snowstorm as that! Everytime meteorologists predict even the remotest possibility of snow, city workers are on standby all over the city and even salting the streets before the first snowflake has even formed. Sometimes, there is more salt on the streets and sidewalks than snow. Yes, my dear students, I will be at UIC on time tomorrow morning to give you your exam. I love Chicago, the city that works (especially at Chicago overtime rates).

Move over! Here comes the snowplow!

Cicada summer


Beverly, Chicago, Illinois

Hear that whirring in the air. The cicadas are here! I’ve seen their exoskeletons, their dead carcasses, and live cicadas in flight. I love Chicago, but I especially love my new neighborhood. I live on the south side in Beverly. (Some politically incorrect acquaintances tell me that I live in a black neighborhood, when in reality the neighborhood is actually integrated quite well. In fact, this is the best and safest neighborhood in which I have ever lived after a lifetime of living in Chicago.) So I get to experience the cicadas in full force for the first time in my life. When they surfaced 17 years ago, I merely read about the cicadas in the newspaper, but I didn’t actually see any. I lived in the famous south side neighborhood of Bridgeport where I didn’t see a single cicada because, in Bridgeport, they don’t want nobody nobody sent. So that meant no cicadas were welcome since they already have enough skeletons in their closet.

In Beverly, I’ve been seeing cicadas for the last month or so. And I’ve seen them in some compromising positions! I’ve seen them undressing by crawling out of their exoskeletons and I’ve seen them mating by backing up into each other, which looks very painful if I look at their mating from the human point of view. (The last time I backed up into a female, she slapped me.) I’ve stepped on a few cicadas while running, but not on purpose. Well, I’ll enjoy the cicadas while I can because I won’t see them again for another 17 years.

My Chicago neighborhoods


West 110th Street, Beverly, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is the greatest city on earth! It’s a microcosm of the world. Many of world’s languages are spoken in Chicago. My greatest regret in life is that I wasn’t born in Chicago. Unfortunately, I was born in a place far, far away, called Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Where my parents led, I followed. To be honest, I wasn’t in on the pre-natal decision-making process. I was conceived in Mexico, but I was born in the U.S.

I have lived in several neighborhoods in Chicago. My grandparents came to Chicago in the 1950s and lived in Pilsen. So, naturally, when my parents moved to Pilsen, so did I. We also lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. When my parents divorced, my mother, my brothers, my sister, and I moved to the Marquette Park area. My father moved back to his father’s house in Pilsen. I bought my first house in Bridgeport and lived there until I started my own family and moved to Ashburn on the southwest side. When I divorced, I bought my present house in Beverly. Some people have told me that I live in a black neighborhood, but that’s not true at all. This is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that is truly integrated! This is the best neighborhood in which I have ever lived.

We are the city with big shoulders. Boy are my arms tired!