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November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Filed under: The American Adventure — admin @ 4:30 pm

DSC06871Well Sap and I experienced a fantastic thanksgiving yesterday — Mandy’s parents (Wayne and Pat) and her sister (Allison) came over for the day and we all had a fabulous time eating, drinking and being very merry. We took a lot of photos which we’ll post soon.

Today is Black Friday — equivalent to the Boxing Day sales in the UK. Shops generally open early at around 6am, including the local Target. Which is where Sap and I stood in line at 5:50am this morning. We got a great deal on a vacuum (was $49, we paid $30) and bought a load of other bits and pieces for our new home.

We’re just off downtown to attempt to browse Bed, Bath and Beyond. Wish me luck!

November 26, 2008

Beginning Week Two

Filed under: The American Adventure — admin @ 3:55 am

Well I can’t quite believe we’ve been here a week already — it seems like it’s been much longer yet it also feels like it’s flown by. It’s a strange feeling. Does it feel like home yet? Difficult to say, mainly because we’re not in our own place yet. However…

We’ve got a home!

DSC06628I got a call at my desk on Thursday (20th) saying our apartment was vacated, cleaned and ready for us to move in. Very exciting! We have a move date of this coming Saturday (29th) so Sap and I are getting things ready for the move. We’ve bought some inflatable mattresses in case our bed doesn’t arrive on time — we’re attempting to hire a van to get to Ikea instead of paying their extortionate delivery charges (over $200 on over $1000 worth of stuff) so we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, we took a peek at our apartment last Saturday and fell in love all over again! It was fantastic and the views across the city are just amazing — check out the view (above)!

Trekking to Ikea

In order to furnish our lovely new place we took a trip to the ‘local’ Ikea to browse for furniture. We kind of knew what we wanted but needed to test out the different mattresses.

It turned out to be a bit of a trek — no simple jaunt down the M4 in the US! Not having a car proved to be a bit of a pain in the arse this time! We basically had to get the Blue CTA line for about an hour then Bill kindly drove us for another 20 minutes or so to the Ikea in Schaumberg. Getting there was OK — getting back was a pain!

We had to take a cab from Ikea to the nearest Blue CTA line — at a cost of $40 — with all our purchases. Admittedly they only amounted to 32 coat hangers and a pillow each but we still had fun on the train lugging it all around! Then we got a bus from Logan’s Square to Ben & Mandy’s. Phew! So we hope to have an easier journey when we hire our U-Haul!

So, we’ve got a home, plans to furnish it and things are looking good!

Tune in next time to see if John can convince Sap to let him buy $300 worth of Global knives…

November 20, 2008

Leaving Reading Behind

Filed under: The American Adventure — admin @ 9:44 pm

DSC06454Of course, the first part of our journey to Chicago involved leaving Reading — and friends, family and loved ones — behind.

To celebrate we threw a party at Zero Degrees. This is when the reality of our move dawned on us — we may never see some of these people again for a very long time!

Having said that, everyone was keen to come and visit so I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of friends throughout this year.

Be sure to check out the photos on Flickr!

November 19, 2008

Our First Few Days In Chicago

Filed under: The American Adventure — admin @ 5:21 pm

DSC06572Well we finally landed in Chicago on Saturday after an 8 hour transatlantic flight. Once we were through customs & immigration we hauled our five suitcases (!) out into the cold — welcome to Chicago! Ben & Mandy kindly borrowed a friend’s Jeep to come and pick us up and we did a great job of filling it with luggage. A short drive to their apartment just off Diversey and there we were — proper Chicago-ians!

The hunt for an apartment began in earnest on Sunday where we had an appointment at the Left Bank at Kinzie apartment block. Sap had been looking at these apartments for weeks and we were all very excited to see them. We had a look around and fell in love with it — I was all ready to book it there and then but Sap and Mandy tempered my enthusiasm saying we should look at some more.

DSC06586So Sap booked some appointments for Monday whilst I went to my new workplace and met my new colleagues — more on that later. Sap did find some really nice apartments with fantastic views — the one below was a lovely apartment that offered a view of the Hancock Tower out of one window and Sears out of the other!

We ultimately decided against this apartment as it was around $200 per month more than Left Bank and it had a landlord — as opposed to a leasing agent. That would mean we’d need to deal directly with the landlord if anything happened (leaky taps, broken refrigerator etc.) which we were slightly uncomfortable with. So we decided to go with our first love and arrange to live in an apartment in the Left Bank complex.

We went along yesterday lunchtime and signed all the paperwork — once the apartment’s been vacated, cleaned & painted we’re in! We can’t wait.

This photo shows us in front of our new home. It’s on the 35th floor and promises to offer stunning views across the city & river. Even better is that it’s only a 5 minute walk from my office! Speaking of which….

John Gets A Spanky New Desk

DSC06603I arrived for my first day in the US office very excited — I knew Bill but hadn’t met any of the other members of Team America. I was made to feel very welcome and we went out for a celebratory burger at lunch — it was awesome.

I have a massive desk and am struggling to fill it! My new Apple keyboard and mouse should be here today and I’ll likely go get a Cinema Display as well. Then I’ll be set! The best thing though? A free Starbucks machine. It’s so good I had to go get a mug capable of holding all that lovely free caffeine!

So our first few days in Chicago have been very exciting — a new home, new desk and a new coat (for me). Although that’s going back to the shop as it creates too much static electricity each time I put it on! But man is it warm!

We’re looking forward to moving into our new home and furnishing it — the post-Thanksgiving sales start next Friday so we’re going to go armed and ready!

November 18, 2008

A flurry of F1

Filed under: Formula One — admin @ 3:50 pm

Well, we’ve finally landed in Chicago and lots of exciting things are happening.

First off is the crazy new that Bernie wants to award medals rather than points. “The whole point will be, when they get to Melbourne for the first race, the guys will want to leave there with a gold medal” said the wee one. Not sure I agree with that.

On a more fantastic note, Martin Brundle has confirmed that he will be working with the BBC next year. And not a mention of James ‘The Cock’ Allen — fantastic.

The new-for-2009 rules make for some pig ugly cars. Christian Klien agrees. Reminds me of the cars of the early 90s — remember Damon Hill’s Brabham that looked like it was held together with fishing line?

In other news, de la Rosa is testing for Force India (presumably as part of that team’s recent technical deal with McLaren) and Sato just topped the testing times. After months out of the cockpit. In a Toro Rosso.

Right, back to me Starbucks.

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