Thursday, September 7, 2006

13 Things I Love About Champaign

Welcome to T13Two. Last week, I wrote my inagural T13 and listed 13 things that I missed about Minneapolis. I got so many comments from people who thought that I sounded sad. I didn't mean to sound sad; just to acknowledge that my life has changed. However, I want to point out that we are happy to be here in Illinois. There are some fun things about this state and our new city. I hope this seems more upbeat to all of you. My entries may be a bit longer this time and I apologize, but I wanted everything to be well explained. Therefore, I give you (in no particular order):
Thirteen Things I Love About Illinois:

1. Having Champs' family nearby. I love it. They've really made us a part of their lives. Champs' brothers call a couple of times a week to see how we're doing and Champs' sister, Princsiss, has been by a number of times to help and to visit. In contrast, my two brothers have not called or emailed or responded to any of my e-mails at all. I guess they really miss me, huh?

2. Having Grandma Dee and Grandma Nee nearby. Don't get me wrong; I miss my mom horribly and we'll get Grandma Bee out here hopefully by spring and then I'll have them all. In the meantime, though, these two ladies are so happy to finally have their son back in town and to have their Sweet Girl within drop-in distance. They've both already taken Sweet Girl for visits, trips, etc. I love it, and so do Champs and Sweet Girl!

3. Our new home. Although I miss my home in Minneapolis (not the rental hell we were in before we moved, but our real home), this is the nicest place you could ever expect to rent! We have three bedrooms, a kitchen with a brand new floor and refridgerator as well as a family room with a fireplace. There is a lot of space and the layout is very family friendly. Not to mention that this place rents for 200-400 less per month than it would be in Minneapolis!

4. Sweet Girl's school. When we first arrived here, she was assigned the only seat in the district at a school in a "shifty" part of town. I really didn't want her to attend that school. Well, when we ended up here, instead of the "Croach House", I applied to have her transferred to the school two blocks away. She got it! Although we want to eventually send her to a private school, right now all we can afford is public school and we're very happy that this is where she'll be.

5. Sonic! Wow. We sure didn't have Sonic in Minneapolis, and I didn't know what I was missing. The burgers are pretty normal; the sides are the same as any other fast food place. However, the drinks are crazy! My favorite is the Diet Cherry Limeade. It's all lo-cal and made with real limes and marachino cherries. YUMMY!

6. The people at my new job. Yeah, the pay stinks, but the people are great and I'm enjoying getting to know them. See, here's the thing; I worked for The Big Company in Minneapolis. Now I work as an employee of an advisor for that company. So, I know the products and lots of the processes. I know the correspondence standards and lots of tricks that they've never even seen. They are really glad to have me as an employee (I'm known as "the Home Office Gal"), but they can't begin to pay me near what I was earning as a corporate employee. Eventually I'll have to do something about this, but for now, it's allowing me to be home with Sweet Girl in the afternoons and to finally focus some of my time on the family. It's the first time since Sweet Girl was born that I've ever worked part-time!

7. Sweet Girl's new friend, Comet! (If you think about it, you'll guess her name pretty easily :-) Sweet Girl has been pining to have a friend in her neighborhood; something she has never had before. She'll never forget her best friend, Snow White, back in Minneapolis, but she wanted a friend right nearby, as well. There is a little first grade girl just down the street. She's the cutest little pixie. The girls would spend hours each day together if we let them. As it is, they do spend a lot of time together and I love having Comet show up at my door asking if Sweet Girl can come out to play. Shouldn't every child have that? Oh, and Comet has the cutest baby sister. I'll call her "Twinkle" - because she does!

8. My new friend, Star - Comet's mom, of course! Star is a stay-at-home mom who works a few evenings a week at the local library. When Comet saw Sweet Girl and told her mom that there was a new little girl in the area, Star made it a point to find me and introduce herself. Turns out we have a lot in common; we love crafts, our kids, books, and... talking! We trade off taking the girls and we both love having another mom who we can trust nearby. I take the girls to school in the morning on my way to work, and Star meets them after school. Star is exactly the right name for her; she shines and just makes you have to look!

9. Our neighborhood. This area is so calm and clean and the people are wonderful. We've met bunches of our neighbors. There is a park nearby and the homes are well-kept. It's just a very nice place to live.

10. Our "friends by association". We have had many people who know Grandma Nee Nee come and help us, or call us to see how we're doing. They've been amazing!

11. E-mail and high-speed internet! It keeps my Minnesota friends nearby. I've been so busy settling that I haven't written many emails yet, but Geekwif and I are in touch and I know I will be with others soon. I promise! (oh, and along with that high-speed internet comes cable TV. I love Alton Brown and "Good Eats"!)

12. My laundry room. OK, it's not a laundry room, it is a laundry closet with doors. However, it is in my kitchen and it makes doing the laundry so much easier! Here in IL, it is very very common to have only a slab or crawlspace foundation. There are very few basements here, which means that the laundry is always on the first level. Since we're in a rambler, that puts it in my kitchen and makes it very easy for me to keep up with the laundry. I used to do the laundry every weekend, but now I throw it in every couple of days. It's lovely!

13. Being able to get anywhere in town within 15 minutes. Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs are HUGE. That means that you can easily travel 45 minutes away for "normal" activities. If there is traffic (and there almost always is!), even a short commute can take a lot of time. That doesn't seem to be a problem here. The population of Champaign is only 39,500 and the three main cities together (Champaign, Urbana and Savoy) are probably only 15 miles square. It is simple and quick to get anywhere. There is heavier traffic during "rush hour", but it is nothing like it was in Minneapolis. I may miss the city and I may miss all the shopping options, but I don't miss the commute!

Here are some comments from this post:
N. Mallory said...
Moving long distances is always so hard. It's good that you already have things you love about your new home! I definitely empathize.

Geekwif said...
Ahhhh. Much better. I was beginning to worry about you a bit. Now I feel like you're settling in. I miss you and would love to see you come running back to MN, but since I know that's not going to happen I just want you to be happy where you are.

Tracie said...
Sounds like you are adjusting well and have lots of good things happening. Especially you and Sweet Girl already having made some friends.
Gotta love Sonic!....have you tried the strawberry limeade yet? It's even better than the cherry one!

Carol said...
Oh yes. Sonic rocks! We have one every few blocks here in Texas. We be a thirsty bunch, I guess.

Barbara H. said...
It is so hard to leave one place and get adjusted to another -- but there are things to love about each place. Glad you're finding some!

Southern Girl said...
Sonic rocks!! I'm having to stay away from it these days, but sometimes their onion rings just call to me. ;)

princssis said...
Great list! Makes me feel a little better about your move here. I'm so glad you've found Comet, Twinkle, and Star!
Now, I do have to correct you on something. According to the 'net, Champaign is not as small as you think. It's population for 2005 was about 71,500! Now, Urbana, was more like 38,500 and Savoy, 4,800. So, since they all run together, it like a population of 114,800!
Also, Champaign is 17 square miles with Urbana at 10.5 and Savoy at 1.5. All together, that's 29 square miles, nearly twice as big as you thought. So, Champaign is small, but not that small. (wink)

Courtney said...
Whoa, I was just searching TT's and see that you're in C-U! I live in Montana now, but I grew up in Chambana! Have you had a monical's pizza or Jimmy John's sub yet? I miss those!
Great list, by the way

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