Meet Chicagoland's Immigrants: Onicia Muller (country of origin: The Netherlands)

While Chicago has one of the richest immigration histories among American cities, something seems to be changing. I would like you to meet some of the immigrants that are still living in Chicagoland. They'll tell you some things about themselves and about the area they live in.

Interview with Onicia Muller

Could you please introduce yourself to us?

Created on St Maarten. Based in Chicago. Onicia writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. You can read her weekly column, Just Be Funny in The Daily Herald's Weekender or on her blog. She pays her bills as a creative project manager. Find her online at OniciaMuller.com or as @OniciaMuller

What’s your favorite spot in Chicagoland? Why?

Wherever I live, my favorite ‘spot’ or activity is riding the public transportation. When the weather is nice and it’s not too crowded, I like to ride and listen to music. You get to study the people and see different neighborhoods. I like watching how the architecture changes.

I donated to local comedian, Ben Larrison’s ‘The Chicago Transit Project’. His goal was to place humorous facts to make CTA commutes more enjoyable. This is one of his ‘Squirrel Truths’ ads on the Red Line.

I donated to local comedian, Ben Larrison’s ‘The Chicago Transit Project’. His goal was to place humorous facts to make CTA commutes more enjoyable. This is one of his ‘Squirrel Truths’ ads on the Red Line.

Which museum in Chicagoland do you enjoy best? Why that one?

Adler Planetarium! I might be a bit biased because I used to work there. As a visitor, I like that the museum is interactive. You can touch and play with almost everything. There are activities both inside and outside of the building. And when the weather is nice, you can take a break from science and chill near the lake.

Why did you decide to move to Chicagoland?

I moved to Evanston for grad school. Looking back I realize I didn’t put too much thought into my decision. I liked the colors on the university’s website and though ‘campus by the lake’ meant it would be the same as going to school near a beach. I was wrong! Chicago is the Windy City and a lake can never compare to a Caribbean beach. No worries. I survived the winters.

My dad and I during my first day of grad school orientation. We arrived just two days earlier.

My dad and I during my first day of grad school orientation. We arrived just two days earlier.

Is there a charity you support with your time in Chicagoland? Why that charity?

Here in Chicago, I’m happy to be a regular supporter of The Healing Corner. Founded by Arielle Maldonado and Krystal Robledo, The Healing Corner goes to street corners known for gun violence and passes out free food and free hugs, while building relationships with the community.

Volunteering with The Healing Corner.

Volunteering with The Healing Corner.

Which habits from home are you still honoring?

I only cook breakfast foods and I’m not too great at remembering holidays. I think the only ‘from home’ is remembering to call my parents on the weekend and reading my local newspaper.

Wearing my 37 Square Miles t-shirt while drinking fresh mango juice. They are my favorite brand from Sint Maarten.

Wearing my 37 Square Miles t-shirt while drinking fresh mango juice. They are my favorite brand from Sint Maarten.

What do you like better in Chicagoland compared to your home country? Why that?

I love that art is abundant and accessible. I enjoy the small, black box theaters because you get to be close to the talent and feel the audience’s reaction more.

Attending a Woosung Alice Concert. I really like her music.

Attending a Woosung Alice Concert. I really like her music.

What do you not like about (living in) Chicagoland? Why?

You can’t leave home without spending money. In the Caribbean, all you have to do is step outside your door and free adventure is waiting for you. I was so surprised that Chicago charges visitors to use the beaches.

Would you recommend moving to Chicagoland? Why (not)?

Home is where your people are. I don’t recommend living where you can’t make friends. I’m thankful for my Chicago family. Not counting Sint Maarten, Chicago is the second friendliest place I’ve lived.

What’s your opinion about the friendliness of the people living in Chicagoland? Please describe some examples.

I always smile when the cashier gives me the inside scope on a store deal. Americans are generous when it comes to sharing a good sale.

Which typical Chicago dish can you recommend? Where do you get it or how do you make it yourself?

I love Pequod's deep dish. It’s the best deep dish pizza! I also enjoy Chicago-style hotdogs. Shhh, don’t tell the locals I add ketchup.

Onicia, thank you for taking part in my series! You showed me some sides from Chicago, I didn't know about yet. I love your volunteering job, what a great cause! And yet another restaurant in Chicago I can add to my list.

To read more posts in this series, take a look here.

 

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