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I'm having the experience of a lifetime here in Chicago, attending art school and learning the city.

Everyone warned me about the cold, brutal winters to come, so I waited and waited for it to come. I did experience single digit weather and some very cold days, but there was lots of sunlight and many of the coffee house and restaurants have cozy fire places to snuggle up to. fter experiencing Seattle’s chilly, cloudy, dark and rainy winters, I could handle the cold leavened with blue-sky sunshine.

Your home is very important in winter in the Midwest, and Chicagoans spend lots of time and energy bunkering down for the long cold winter days. I've learned so many new customs, like remembering to remove your shoes and your boots before entering a home (not getting inside and then remembering). And like taking a jar of jam to your host’s home, so they can enjoy a cozy tea or coffee.

When the weather is frightful Chicagoans enjoy visiting museums, attending concerts, going to sporting and recreational events (ice skating is always fun) and having a good time.

Food is very important and you can get foods from around the world without leaving the city. The Holiday Season provides a jolt of energy from the Magnificent Mile, and each of the neighborhoods provides its own tastes, flavors and atmosphere.

Besides school and learning the city, I have been painting. I live near the lake, and I am calling my new series “Lakeview”.

Lakeview is a neighborhood, but it’s also a state of mind. Lake Michigan is magnificent, and unlike New York, where you get only peek-a-boo glimpses of water, you can walk or run or bike or skate lakeside for as long as your legs will allow you, and there’s always more just ahead. The lake’s moods change with the weather, and the microclimates that swirl around the lakeshore can catch your breath: the wind, the colors, the beauty and the fury.

Lakeview, just west of the lake, recalls New York’s Upper East Side, with its elegant mansions and trendy restaurants. Walk a few blocks further west, and you feel like you’ve crossed Central Park you’re reached the Upper West Side. 

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