(I work here. It's much colder than in San Diego)

This January has already been a monumental month in my life. I picked up from my hometown San Diego, CA (and before you ask, yes I miss the weather!) and moved to Chicago on January 4th and started my internship here at Zapwater five days later. Luckily, I have some friends here in the city, so as soon as I landed this internship, I immediately started bugging them for advice about how to prepare for life in Chicago.

Winter clothes were bought, packing was fairly drama-free, my CTA route to the Zapwater office was already mapped out, and I already had dinner plans for the first night I arrived. With some past big city living experience under my belt, I thought I was good to go.

I was wrong.

To preface, I’ve moved quite a few times in my life, so I’m very aware that it takes time to adjust to a new city…it takes time to stop secretly using the “map” application on your phone while walking on the streets (and usually getting lost anyway) until you finally feel like you can call a city your home.

I was quickly reminded that I was still in unfamiliar territory when one of the interns here at Zapwater was in utter disbelief that I did not know what Dominicks is. In retrospect, after learning what it is, that was quite a humbling moment.

With all of that said, I present to you the list of “8 things that no one tells you before moving to Chicago”. WARNING: Some of these may seem obvious to you Chicagoans:

1. The CTA bus tracker APP is something you NEED to download, but you will end up having a love/hate relationship with, as it can be a bit inaccurate. Fine when it’s a few minutes late. Not so fine when you spot it already at the stop and must sprint down the street to catch it (with arms flailing, of course). 2. Learn how the Chicago grid system works and you’ll never be lost. NOTE: The origin point is at State and Madison …something I finally discovered on my own when I was, in fact, standing at State and Madison. 3. You may need just a jacket in the morning and a heavy puffer 5 hours later. is essentially obsolete here. 4. North Ave runs east and west…HUH? 5. Pretty much NO ONE who actually lives in Chicago calls it “Chitown”. Any one who does so, chances are they’re also wearing a fanny pack, holding a camera, and/or standing in line to go to the top of the Sears Tower...(I refuse to call it the Willis Tower). 6. It’s no secret that Chicago is a huge sports town- that much I knew. What I didn’t know was that I would need basic knowledge about the Bears, the Bulls, the Cubs, the White Sox, and the Blackhawks in order to be able to participate in even basic conversations. 7. Do not ask “where’s the ketchup?” when you eat a Chicago-style hot dog. You will hear crickets, and you may even be thrown out of the establishment. 8. Midway > O’hare

I’m so thankful to Zapwater for helping me learn and navigate the city as well. I’ve already worked an event at Vertigo Sky Lounge, seen the Sebastien Grey show room, and visited RA Sushi.

I learn something new about this city everyday, but imagine I’ll still have many more of those “I feel like a tourist” moments to come. Bring it on, Chicago.

Till next time….

Intern Andrea