I empathize with ya, Chicago

Part of me wants to stray away from writing this post, but I don’t want to withhold my nagging questions just because I’m a former Chicagoan. So many Seattleites have me snickering when I hear them lament about how frigid it is here. Makes me want to mutter back, “You have no idea!” Oh no, it’s in the upper 30’s or 40’s in Seattle – that’s nearly summer compared with what I’m typically accustomed to this time of the winter.

  • Are any of you former Chicagoans or Midwesterners who simply revel in the warmth in Seattle?
  • What are your thoughts on Seattle winters vs. Chicago winters? I love Chicago in so many respects, but the weather is extreme – times 10 in the winter.

My parents’ poor puppy back home can barely place her paws outside it’s so brutally cold, and so I’m trying to convince them they need to to fly somewhere tropical to thaw out since they are no spring chickens and I shudder the thought of them shoveling snow in such wicked conditions. 

Not sure how I survived so many winters there.  Take care, Chicago!

32 thoughts on “I empathize with ya, Chicago

  1. Hi Karen,

    While it’s cold here (for us!) in Seattle now…the weather man says that the midwest and the east coast are truly COLD! Brrrrrrrr! I can’t even imagine how it must be like to live and cope with day to day activities in such cold.

    Although eventualy most people probably do adjust. When I moved to Seattle from Southern California, I bought a heavy coat, gloves, and boots because I wanted to make sure I did not freeze! Oh, and several umbrellas LOL! 🙂

    Well, now I am used to it and just add an extra layer to what I normally wear year round. Sometimes at night I’ll add a coat, but I have become acclimated!

    I feel for the animals and pets a lot in cold weather, especially the ones who live outside. I don’t know how something as small as a bird (roosting on a tree branch) survives the bitter cold. Today I bought more suet for the birds who visit my yard to forage.

    Karen, I hope your parents and their puppy will be okay, as well as everyone dealing with the bitter cold.

  2. Karen,
    Can I relate with you, being from MI and this being my first full winter VA.

    I feel very out of place when I am the one with no coat or in T-Shirts.

    While it gets a little chilly here, is nothing like what is the norm for me. So will just keep braving the strange looks. 🙂

  3. Thanks Deborah! Yes I worry about the animals in that bitter cold! The Midwest is almost not fit for humans when it gets that cold in the winter.

    I’m sure I will adapt so the ‘colder’ temperatures here affect me more, but hopefully not too much :).

  4. First year after I moved here from Illinois, I biked everywhere in shorts and a t-shirt all winter long. Bloody balmy, I said. A car isn’t even necessary.

    Then I acclimated. I bought a car after that second winter.

    I did ride in today, but 4 layers are now necessary, now that I’ve become Seattle-Soft.

  5. LOL, Russ. You are so right. Chicago does only have two seasons – summer & winter. My parents are lamenting that this is the coldest winter that they have had to endure in years. Guess I moved away at the perfect time!


    If anyone can give me tips on what I should be sure to bring with me when going to the DOL (Dept. of Licensing) with all of my out-of-state paperwork, I would surely appreciate it. Have not gotten my Wash. State license simply because I don’t need to: I’m a student so technically I can keep my IL plates/license, but now I really need to change those 😉

  6. Karen, You don’t need to go to Chicago to find real cold. You just have to pop over to the “other” side of the Cascades to experience some frigid temperatures in Wenatchee (and surrounding areas).

  7. I’m from Boise and when most people hear Idaho, they think of the mountains and snow. But Boise is High Desert, and generally very mild. Well last year I got married and am now hunkered down in South Dakota. I am experiencing a whole new definition of cold. When I was back in Boise over Christmas, it felt like spring. I hardly buttoned up my coat. Whereas now I’ve experienced that unique sensation of freezing eyelashes.

    It’s all relative. But generally we don’t understand cold in Boise. We get our weather from the Pacific, not Canada.


  8. Carol,
    You are so right. I must admit I’m harboring a bit of dis-ease, if you will, about re-entering the bitter cold temps reminiscent of Chicago. Perhaps next winter I’ll head up to the Cascades. In spite of the cold, it’s no doubt gorgeous!

  9. Don’t rub it in…by 8am tomorrow it will feel like -19 degrees in Chicago! I would give anything for your 29 degrees. My kids even said that even though they love the snow, they can’t wait for spring. I’m with them!

  10. Hey Kate,
    Congrats on getting married, that’s so exciting! I hear ya when it comes to the bitter temps. In fact, my former co-worker in CHI lived in SD for years and said it was brutal, especially since you getso much snow.

    I’ve only been to Mitchell, when I was driving out here. It was the dead of summer, yet it was cold and rainy there! I just remember packing all shorts and it being so cold!

    Stay warm in SD! Hopefully, spring hits fast!

  11. I think it’s amazing that you up and moved to Seattle from halfway across the country.
    Right now I’m looking into doing the same. I live near St Louis( the IL side) and I’ve had enough of the midwest.
    And for some reason, I seem to think that Seattle is the place for me.
    I’m looking for a job now–I have my bachelor’s degree in marketing, so I guess I’m looking for a marketing job 🙂
    Once I cross that bridge I’ll find a roommate.
    I think I can do these things, it will just take time and endurance.
    What I’m really worried about is my ability to adjust. Was it hard to make friends? Do you really feel like you fit in now?
    Do you have any advice for the months leading up?
    Also, as a young female, do you feel safe in the city? Do you go places alone at night? I guess I’m scared that I won’t know anyone, but i’ll be afraid to go places alone. And if I don’t go places alone, I’ll never meet anyone. And the cycle will only perpetuate.
    I’m 23, I’m single, and I don’t know a soul in Seattle.
    Any words of wisdom are surely appreciated 🙂

  12. Hey Jessica!
    Thanks for reading my blog.
    You wll do fabulous! The weather here (compared with the Midwest) is so
    much LESS depressing and less messy – no salt, rarely snow and no
    negative temperatures. I know it seems crazy that I up and moved, and I
    think my friends and family thought I was insane, but if you plan well and
    are not too impulsive, its all doable.

    I feel very safe in the city as a single female and like the size as
    well. I haven’t put in a ton of effort @ making friends, but being a part
    time student helps. I do really feel like I fit in and am lucky to
    have found an awesome roommate.

    One caveat, it will be tough to find a job before you move out here,
    employers are very skeptical of the distance, even if you mention you are
    moving there soon (like I did). You are unlikely to find a co. Who
    will fly you out, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I gave into the risk of
    moving without a job (after trying for half a year and even flying out here
    for interviews on my own dime) because I had the savings and
    persistence. I obviously found one and things have worked out.

    I was done with the depressing weather in the Midwest and basically
    just needed a life overhaul. Let me know if you come out here even if It’s
    just to visit and I can show you around, I’m sure you will like it;) I
    realize I made the best decision by moving out here.

    Email me anytime, Jessica, and keep me posted on how your situation
    unfurls, take care – kirrk@seattleu.edu

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