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As I begin work on the 7 Days @ Minimum Wage video project, I keenly remember when I first moved to the Windy City in 2003. I moved midwest on the shaky strength of a job offer that shook apart just as I was arriving. Now here I was, with an urban planning masters degree, without an apartment, and with the sinking feeling I was about to return, albeit temporarily, to the crap jobs of my college days. I wish it had been that easy.

A Public in Civility

Recently, my Korean foodie friend, (‘I don’t freaking look like Margaret Cho!’) Rozella, and I were discussing what we liked about Chicago. Unlike me, Rozella’s a native, and we both stay here for different reasons. Rozella wants to be close to her family. I’m here simply because strangers say ‘hi’ to each other. It’s a friendly way of being completely absent from my NYC hometown.

The Out-of-Towners

I suppose it’s rude to take stock of people you know in public. Luckily, I have no such reluctance. I’m from New York. And so are Vicki and Adam. Two thirtysomething New Yorkers living in Lower Manhattan, paying an obscene rent, and just maybe looking for a change of scene. Adam scored an interview with a Chicago firm a few weeks ago. Not knowing anyone in Hogtown, Adam Googled the city to get the lay of the land and found my blog.

Box of Fear

Exactly when I decided to leave New York has always been one of the biggest mysteries of my life. To this day, I still can’t identify the moment when I made or was set upon by the decision to leave behind Gotham and all of its angst and adopt the relentlessly friendly American Midwest as my home. However, a recent encounter on the roofdeck at Marina City chiseled into sharp relief for me one of the biggest reasons why I did it.