Everyone here is really nicer than most other places. When I first lived in Chicagoland, straight from Texas, people didn't seem that nice. The midwestern hospitality thing seemed more fiction than fact, because I was from San Antonio then. San Antonio is the nicest place I have ever been. People are just so friendly.
But now that I am from New Jersey, Chicago appears to be everything it thought it was and I missed it before! People smile and make small talk in elevators. I am at a conference, so Chris and Camilla went out by themselves yesterday. Chris said that Camilla was constantly stopped on the street. Complete strangers stopped in their tracks to coo at her and lightly brush the top of her little hands. Camilla was in heaven. She absolutely loves being talked to. I am so grateful! I think people should always take notice of babies. In New Jersey, some people can look right through her, like she isn't there! It's nuts.
As hard as conferences are, and they are, I find I like them. This one is particularly grueling-- everyday is 8:30 - 8:30, with a two hour break for lunch and that is basically it, except for five and ten minute breathers as your instructors see fit. Yikes! But I really enjoy getting together with other people in doctoral programs to commiserate. It's heartening to see everyone struggling and making progress. I also find that the workshops, intended to instill me with a sense of purpose and calling and coherence, actually do. That is a miracle in the academy. This is miraculous. =)
Anyway, time to prep. I was supposed to be business outfitted, but none of my business outfits fit yet again, after Camilla. Bleh. Business wear is too expensive to purchase at my present size. I don't have the money. Yesterday, because I didn't nurse or pump enough, I leaked through my shirt. Everything is harder for mothers!!!
But I am still glad to be here. =)