Hey, GL friends! Let’s take a break from our “Trapped in Philly” web series and take a virtual trip to Chicago with our blogger friend and travel-addict, Pola Henderson. Read her interview below to find out about life as a Polish gal in Chi Town and all her adventures along the way.
Global Lipstick: How did you end up in Chicago?
Pola Henderson: I married a Chicagoan. We had met in Poland when Don was working as an English teacher in my hometown. After a while, he wanted to put his business degree to use, but wasn’t fluent in Polish. Since I spoke English, we made the decision to move to the States. It made sense for us as couple.
GL: Give us some Chicago insider tips.
Pola: Explore the neighborhoods! Downtown Chicago is beautiful and worth seeing – with its skyscrapers, Millennium Park, the Museum Campus – but we are essentially a city of neighborhoods. Many are urban villages with “main streets,” where you will find locally-owned shops and restaurants.
A few recommendations: Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square are hip areas on the northwest side; Pilsen on the south side has a strong Mexican presence and an emerging art scene; and Andersonville on the far north side is a historic district with many Swedish businesses.
Oh, don’t put ketchup on a hot dog in this city. People are serious about it.
GL: What’s the story behind Jetting Around?
The blog was born from my two passions: writing and travel. The first time I thought of combining them was during a trip to Toronto a few years back.
I was there to attend a soccer game with friends and only had a few hours to explore the city. The day was cold and rainy, but I didn’t mind. Walking from one neighborhood to another, taking photos and notes, I realized that I was in my element. But the ultimate aha-moment came when a friend suggested that I should be a travel writer… A few months later, JA was live.
(This must be my favorite question in the set since my first post was called “The story behind Jetting Around.” J )
GL: What’s different about life here vs. life in Poland?
Pola: I don’t drive stick anymore! Also, I get to practice Spanish a lot, given Chicago’s large Hispanic population. And there’s watching baseball, something I looked forward to when moving to the US.
GL: How do Americans react when they find out you’re from Poland?
Pola: Ha, I’ve gotten everything from, “My house cleaner is Polish” to “Do you have polar bears in Poland?” But generally people just want to know how I like living in the US and how often I see my family.
GL: How would you compare traveling in Europe to traveling in the US?
Pola: More train travel in Europe, more flying in the US.
GL: Other than Krakow, Poland, what city do you relate to most?
Pola: Paris. Even though my French could use some improvement, I feel comfortable there… Maybe it’s because I see a number of similarities between the two cities: they both have strong academic, literary, and art heritage, there’s great architecture and café culture, plus a sense of local pride.
GL: Anything else you want to share about life as an expat in Chicago?
Pola: If I were to move again, I’d miss Chicago – a lot. It has truly become my second home.
Pola Henderson is the founder and editor of Jetting Around, a blog dedicated to exploring cities and their culture. Her writing and photography showcases European, North American, and South American destinations. Pola grew up in Krakow, Poland, lived in North Africa, and has called Chicago home since 2002. Traveling internationally has been a part of her life since she was 3 years old. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.
Thanks, Pola! Love your journey 🙂