I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. Well, I really grew up in three of them at the same time due to some weirdness with town boundaries, but for most purposes, I grew up in Palatine, IL. I lived there for 12 years before my mom got a new job in Denver, which forced us to move. I moved during the summer between my 5th and 6th grade, which was honestly the best time I could have moved. In Illinois, middle school starts in 7th grade, but in Colorado, it starts in 6th grade, which meant that I was moving to a new school just as everybody else was too. Even though I was technically the new kid, it didn’t feel like it because everybody was coming to a new school and didn’t know that many people. This had a very positive impact overall, as I was able to make friends quickly, many of which I am still friends with to this day.
It’s hard to say if the culture between my two homes is different, as I changed so much during the transitionary period that I’m not sure what was my changing mindset and what was actually different. One thing that stood out though, was the weather, especially during the winter. Growing up in Illinois, I loved the winter. For three to four months a year, I would bring my snow pants and boots to school and play in the snow during recess. It was my favorite time of the year and most of the strong memories I have from those days are during the winter. Once I moved to Colorado though, I practically lost the winter, kinda. Colorado *technically* has winters, but a large portion of it is sunny and warm. While it was nice to avoid the bone chilling cold, not having snow last for more than three days was extremely disappointing. At my old house, we would always make a super long sled ramp from our porch to the frozen pond in our backyard. It would last for about a month and my friends and I would play on it every day we could. If you tried to do the same thing in Colorado, the 70 degree (F) weather would melt it in a matter of hours.