I have lived in Phoenix, AZ all of my life. So the hot weather and the lack of snow is something I am just used to. I do enjoy to travel but in my 29 years have mostly found myself only traveling on the west coast. A few years ago I went to the east coast for the first time on a trip to Disney World. My older brother and I went together for 5 days and that is all that we did there. We had arrived between hurricanes and so we saw the wreckage of what a hurricane can do. It also meant it was very very humid. In fact we had planned to spend the 5 days at each of the 5 parks but I was being eaten so much by bugs at Animal Kingdom that we left early and went back to one of the other parks.
So when my sister was moving to the east coast the different weather and the fear of being eaten alive was what was most on my mind. Today is Friday and I arrived on Tuesday evening. The amount of humidity was pressing when I first stepped out of the plane and then again out of the airport. But I have found that, so far the humidity is manageable. Just like in Phoenix when it is over 110 degrees you just don't spend as much time outside those days or if you do you just deal with it. On Wednesday my sister had several errands registering her boys for school and a some shopping. Getting in and out of a hot car and go in and out of air conditioned buildings was difficult and sticky but you just deal with it. Yeah it sucks but I can't change the weather.
The interesting thing is when it rains here. In Phoenix it seems to always rain in the evenings. I am used to going to sleep to the rain. But here it is the opposite it rains in the morning, you wake up to it being cloudy outside. The thunder also sounded different. The one time so far that I heard thunder I was inside and half asleep so I am kind of curious to be outside to hear it. But it was more of a long...I don't know how to describe it but is different. Lets see in AZ it seems louder and like crack in the sky and this was more like a rumbling across the sky. Luckily the weather has been pretty good. I had been checking several weather sites and they had all said it would be raining all week and yet here we are with cloud coverage but no actual rain.
The bugs haven't been bad either. I was very concerned about mosquitos but haven't really seen any. There are big black ants outside that I have found crawling in my shirt at least once so far. I was also warned they just drop off the trees sometimes too so you have to be aware they could drop off onto you. My sister is having a problem with little black ants in the kitchen. I once had those in the kitchen at my condo they were a pain to get rid of. Otherwise just flies hanging around. Though I do seem to have a bug bite on my face. It is on the side of my cheek close to my ear so not too noticeable but it itches so I am trying to leave it alone to get better. Oh and no lightning bugs. I think I saw one the first night but it was alone and high in the air. I was really hoping to see many of them, that would have been cool. Oh, well.
One thing I am enjoying is the houses here. They are different then in phoenix, mostly because they have been here for over 100 years. Some look more modern than others but it is interesting to just walk through the neighborhood and see everything. I think about the history of the houses and even how the streets are lined with trees, some of the trees are just huge, how long have they been there? Never being to the east coast I could only imagine through pictures and movies. So I don't know if this is ignorant of me but I will just be honest. When I walk through the neighborhood it reminds me of movies they show in history. Like these are houses people used to live in though of course they still stand here people still live in them. Though maybe that is why I think about the history of the houses. In AZ the houses are becoming more and more cookie cutter. Even in the neighborhood I live in that is mostly trailer homes you see people just people knock down the old and put in one of the cookie cutter houses. That just isn't the same here. I will put some pictures below to show you.
The other thing that is a little weird, ok different, is not having the same number of businesses. In Phoenix there is a dozen fast food places in a square mile, gas stations and banks on every corner. It isn't that way here. Things are more seperated and randomly around town. Oh and I don't think I have seen a Mcdonalds since I got here. On Wednesday as we were doing errands I was just looking out the windows at everything around and on our way to a cluster of stores (ulta, target, best buy, etc) we passed both a corn field and a hay field. So yes they have a mall and other corporate stores I am used to but passing by a corn field on the way is a little odd.
Have I ever described where I am exactly. On the border between Iowa and Illinois there are five small cities called the Quad Cities. On the Illinois side there is Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island. On the Iowa side there is Davenport and Betttendorf. My step niece and nephew's mom lives in Moline and my sister is in Davenport. They are less than 30 min away from each other. In fact the airport I flew into was in Moline and it took about 10-15 min to drive to their house. When you think of Illinois what comes to mind? Chicago right? Then what comes to mind when you think of Iowa? Cornfields and farm land. Two different things but these 5 cities are all the same even though they are in two different states. Though as I said I did see a corn field and it was in Davenport so I don't know. Usually I tell people I was traveling to Illinois because it seems the easiest. So there is your geography lesson for the day.
Yesterday we went to the local high school to register my eldest nephew Kalvin for school, he is going to be a senior this year. We didn't confirm it but we have heard that although the gym as air conditioning the school building may not. The campus is 4 stories tall and the auditorium still has the old type of theatre seating in it. Brown/orange seats that the bottom cushion has to be pulled down before you sit. They have these rounded backs and the entire row slightly curved toward the stage. The one thing I thought of is I wonder how small the seats are. All of America is more plus sized these days and I am sure the kids here are no exception. Hmmm. The halls are all lined with lockers and they are the tall ones, maybe 4 1/2 to 5 foot. The kind you always see in the movies or tv where they are big enough to stuff someone in standing up. The middle school I didn't see much of because we just went to the front office. My sister had also heard the middle school may not of ac but I thought it was when we walked it. So maybe that has changed.
The neighborhood my sister lives in isn't the best though that means something different then in AZ. In Phoenix I live in a bad neighborhood which means that I hear gunfire at night and cops are always driving past and at least once a month a police helicopter is overhead. But here it is more like teenagers walking the streets getting into fist fights. So a bad neighborhood but I would rather have kids fist fighting instead of kids with guns. So good and bad.
Overall I am enjoying my time here with my family. The weather and bugs that I thought would make me uncomfortable and frustrated aren't really that big a deal. And it has been pretty relaxing so far. This weekend there is a street festival saturday and then my brother-in-laws extended family is having a party on Sunday. Then hopefully we will go to Chicago the following Saturday and see the Navy Pier.