But, over the past 6 months, I have been asked quite a few times, "How are you liking Cleveland?"
So to better answer this question, I think I will do a Pro's and Con's list about living here. Here we go:
- People park ON THE ROAD. Like we will be driving down a 2 lane street, then all of a sudden BAM....there's a car right in your way so you need to ninja dodge to the other lane then make your way back, but then BAM..theres another one. So I just keep it safe and try to stay in the left lane as much as I can.
- The Traffic Lights. Did you know the street light was invented in Cleveland?? Yup. Therefore, there are 3x's as many lights just to show them off! I swear....one on EVERY block. And a ton of them are on YOUR side of the intersection (not across), so I have to lean forward and look so far up just to see when the light turns green, or else I would never know.
- The Intersections. The CRAZIEST intersections I haver EVER seen. I remember when Becca and I first got there, we went through this one intersection and I screamed through it because I thought I was going to get hit. It has about 8 roads going in and out of it. And the traffic lights are all intertwined facing all the different roads so you know when its your turn. They are sooooo crazy you guys.
- Road Maintenance. Basically the only roads you will find without holes and cracks are the ones on the outside with the 'really rich' homes. Our van takes a beating every time we go somewhere.
- School System. From what I hear, it's not good. Obviously I will get a better idea once Ben goes to school I think. Education is very very important to me so I hope it all goes well.
- We are far from family and friends. Obviously it's hard being away from our families, and the kids not seeing their cousins and grandparents. But it's also kind of nice being on our own doing our own thing so far away.
- The Panhandlers. I'm not sure if this is a Big City thing, or just a Cleveland thing. I've never lived in a big city before. But the amount of time's myself and Maikal have been approached by people for money is crazy. And a lot of them dont even look poor or look like they 'need' it. This one time I was just grocery shopping and this guy comes up to me (he had his wife and kid and a cart of groceries already) and asked me for money to by his groceries........I dunno I thought that was weird. And that happens quite often. So I just say no now lol. If I have a granola bar I give them that instead.
- The Crime. If you don't know this already, Cleveland is in the top 10 most Crime ridden Cities in the USA. We hear sirens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT before we go to bed. We also get reports of crime ALL the time. People getting mugged, killed, children being stolen, our bank was robbed twice in 1 month at gun point. Last month or so, I got an email a few hours after the fact, this girl was dragged down her own driveway by two men and they tried to take her. She fought back and won. But this happened 5 houses down. If I was watching out my front door, I could have seen the whole thing. I went to bed crying that night. That could have been me coming home from an activity late or coming back from picking up groceries. So the next day I bought pepper spray haha. I never go out after dark, and I am always feeling the need to look over my shoulder.
The Crime is what gets me the most. I think about my babies safety all the time. I hear these stories of child abductors and break in's.....and my stomach will turn for days. Growing up, these things weren't really around me. I felt safe enough to leave my house and car unlocked most of the time! I would walk at countless hours at night and not think twice about 'bad people' lurking around the corner. So it's just A LOT all at once. My paranoia is getting better though haha. Just gotta keep on my toes! I swear my anxiety and paranoia levels went up 1000% now that I have a little family.
- The Old-ness. OK you guys the houses and old churches and buildings........are AMAZING!!!!! Like think 'old rich United Kingdom in the Country'. Lots of the houses are huge and look like small castles. And they are wicked cheap. We were looking into buying a house, but with us not being USA citizens, it made it basically impossible.
- With Cleveland being a big city, there seems to be a lot of stuff to do. Museums, libraries, parks, nature walks, zoo, farms, restaurants, etc. And of course Lake Erie is right there! They have a nice beach, and you know how much I love my beaches! And we are super close to Canada so if im ever craving some 'real chocolate' (Sorry USA but your choc is nasty) then I can go get some (4 hour trip but whatever, choc is always worth it).
- The people. Even though half the time Im worried that this stranger is going to take my kid, they actually end up smiling and giving me the biggest compliments and basically being the sweetest human beings ever. And of course I have made some pretty awesome friends, and so have my kids! Which has been such a blessing.
- The Dental School. CASE has been highly ranked for years and Maikal is getting such an amazing education. And yes he is loving it! Although he feels like he's going to fail all the time. But he's a smarty pants so I know he will rock it!
- The weather!!! Our friends and family who lived over in this area told us that the winters were going to be so bad and that the humidity would make the cold cut straight through our clothes......ya that didn't happen at all. I felt like its been spring for the past 4 months. It's awesome cuz we hate the cold! A soon as I moved here, it felt exactly like Hawaii weather again, and it was glorious. I loooove it.
SO, there's a small list. We are Happy and things are going very well here. We found our groove and I cant wait for more adventures to come.