Dear Chicago Weather...
I hate you. I'm British, and the British are pretty familiar with complaining about the weather because it seems to perpetually rain in England. The kind of fine, misty drizzle that leaves you soaked to your bone.
In England, you have to take your umbrella everywhere with you, although why you bother, you don't know. It's guaranteed the fucker will turn inside out, rendering it that useless, you may as well have gone out naked.
The good thing about when it's raining in Britain, is the summer months don't get hot enough to be able to bake cookies on the dashboard of your car. It doesn't get hot enough that you spend every morning craving a shower after being outdoors even for a minute. But most importantly, it doesn't terrorise the living bejeebers out of me when it gets too hot by casting black clouds over my head whenever I need to step out the door, then cracking the scariest thunderbolts I have ever heard right over my head.
That doesn't happen in England, but it happens here. If I had known how nerve wracking, and frequent the thunderstorms would be here, I would never have come.
When I was four, a hurricane destroyed the house I lived in with my mum, and my brother. Water poured through the light fittings; the roof of the entire block was in our garden, and my mother's bedroom collapsed into the living room below.
When I was eight, I was sat on my bed - which was positioned below my bedroom window. There was a doozy of a storm kicking it up outside, or so I thought at the time. What happened? My bedroom window shattered all over the bed I was sitting on. I have never been so frightened in my life! I have no idea to this day how I wasn't hurt. Not one piece of glass touched me, because one moment I was on my bed, and the next I was at the bottom of the (twisted) staircase hyperventilating so badly, that my mum had to slap me to get me to make sense.
Both of those storms were nothing compared to the storms here. People say to me they love thunderstorms, and they don't know what I think is so scary about them. They. Freak. Me. Out. The storms we had for six hours solid back on June 30th flooded our entire basement bedroom with shitty water - ironically right after I wrote this post about thunderstorms.
I will do whatever it takes to get out of going outdoors in a thunderstorm. On Monday, I had just arrived to collect Mini Madam from school, and was ready to ask if we could shelter there because I knew we wouldn't make it home before the skies started battle. Luckily another mom who I have come to know was there, so I asked for a ride. She took us to her house so Little Lady could play with her friend. We sat getting to know each other while the skies raged overhead, then when it was over - she kindly dropped us at home.
Yesterday, just half an hour before I was due to collect missy again, the heavens opened with an almighty roar. Why am I most terrified when I'm alone? I am so glad I swapped numbers with the other mom, because she is like an angel. I was there considering how the feck I was going to collect my daughter. I was ready to phone the school, and ask if they could hold her in the office until the storm passed. I considered calling a taxi to take me the eight blocks to collect her. I was shaking, I was that nervous about stepping out in that weather.
Then angel mom text me. She practically lives next door to the school, and she text me to ask if I wanted her to come pick me up. Of course by the time she arrived, the sky had pretty much finished doing it's thing, but I was soooo grateful! Being unable to drive sucks, sometimes but I felt blessed to have somebody think of me yesterday.
I have been here four months. I have seen snow once since I've been here. That was in May. Chicago weather, you are bloody impossible to predict. Four days before that white stuff fell, it was 30 flipping degrees celsius. That's 86 degrees in Fahrenheit (according to google). How does it go from that hot, to that cold in days?
Like I say, I've been here four months, and apparently I have just experienced one of the cooler summers. How will I cope with a real one? I haven't even tested out the Chicago winter yet, but I certainly got to read about it in the news the winter just passed. I must say the articles didn't really do much to sell it to me.
I was in several minds about being here anyway, but weather - you are doing absolutely little to encourage me to want to actually build a life here in Chicago. England might be soggy, but this crazy weather may well break the deal for me.
Chicago. I give you one winter. After that, I think it will be easier to decide what our next move will be at the end of TH's contract period, and it will be my choice.
I can't cope with thunderstorms, how the hell will I cope walking to school waist deep in snow?
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