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Old 10-10-2011, 08:47 PM
 
12 posts, read 18,107 times
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Hi. I have done a lot of searches here and have gleaned a lot of useful info, but I thought I'd still post my unique situation to see if anyone has advice for me.

My husband just got a job in Evanston. He's starting next week and my daughter and I will join him in December. Right now we are in CA.

He will make a good salary (around $100K) but we both have horrible credit and a lot of debt - DH has been unemployed for 1.5 years and I was unemployed for over a year. Now I am working but make barely anything. The job is a godsend but it can't clear up all of our $$ troubles right away, of course.

I have calculated that we can afford no more than $2000 a month in rent. We would ideally like to rent a single-family home in a very close-in suburb with good schools. Thinking Skokie, Morton Grove or Niles. Deerfield looks fantastic but seems too expensive and a little too far. DH doesn't want to drive more than 40 minutes to work each way.

In an ideal world we would also be in a community with a Greek Orthodox church, but none of those suburbs seem to have one.

Our daughter is 6 and I'd like to move to a neighborhood where we can stay on the long term - I don't want to move her in and out of schools.

We are also politically liberal and value diversity, which is a bit at odds with our Orthodox/Greek identity, but there you have it. I don't want to live in a place where most people are white, rich and/or conservative. Not because I have anything against whites, rich people, or conservatives per se - I just have found in the past that a community where there isn't much outside of these characteristics that is *valued* - is not a community I enjoy living in.

OTOH I like a lot of suburban things like single family homes and big box stores. And I might be liberal but I would hate to live in a place like Berkeley. DH is the same. So that's us.

By the way, the main reason I'm not really considering Evanston itself is that a SFH is out of our price range there, from what I have seen. Which is too bad b/c in many ways it's an ideal community for us. But I really really do not want to live in an apartment. Or a condo/townhouse. BTDT, over it! I want a yard and a basement.

Any advice for us?
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:10 PM
 
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Niles has a big Greek church. I only know this because they have a big Greek fest in the Summer. Glenview does as well, although Glenview will be more expensive than Niles. It does, however have excellent schools. Both suburbs will have some diversity, but obviously not as much as the city or Evanston. I am not Greek but have many Greek friends, as I live quite close to the Greek Church. There are also tons of Greek kids in our school. Lots of kids go to the Hellenic Center in Deerfield for Sun. school. Being a non-Greek it is pretty funny that I know this.

St. Haralambos is on Caldwell Ave. in Niles and St. Peter and Paul is on Lake Ave. in Glenview.
Good luck with the move and congrats on your husband's new job. Quite a feat these days, well done!
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,065,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 847mom View Post
Niles has a big Greek church. I only know this because they have a big Greek fest in the Summer. Glenview does as well, although Glenview will be more expensive than Niles. It does, however have excellent schools. Both suburbs will have some diversity, but obviously not as much as the city or Evanston. I am not Greek but have many Greek friends, as I live quite close to the Greek Church. There are also tons of Greek kids in our school. Lots of kids go to the Hellenic Center in Deerfield for Sun. school. Being a non-Greek it is pretty funny that I know this.

St. Haralambos is on Caldwell Ave. in Niles and St. Peter and Paul is on Lake Ave. in Glenview.
Good luck with the move and congrats on your husband's new job. Quite a feat these days, well done!
There is also St. John's on Dempster and I-294. I believe this is Park Ridge or Des Plaines.
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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Thanks! That is really good information to have - I wonder why the Niles church did not show up when I did a parish search on goarch.org? Huh.

Niles sounds pretty perfect for us, if we can find a decent house to rent there.

I'm scared of moving from SoCal to Chicago, especially in the winter...my daughter is going to freak, she has no idea what cold weather even is lol...

Tell me some of the great things to do with kids in this area! I need to get psyched up. I know it's a great place but I'm sad to leave where we are, I have lived in CA most of my life and I really like it here. Of course we have to go where the jobs are, and neither DH nor I have been able to find a decent-paying job here. We are ecstatic he got this opportunity in Chicago, I just kind of can't imagine actually living there, yet.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Winter is very long and cold here. I recommend buying a good quality parka for her and she will need snow pants and boots, hats and mittens. I think the saying goes something like, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes! I have lived here my whole life, and I love having four seasons. I do have family in CA and the weather is nice and the scenery great, but I have never come back from a vacation from anywhere wanting to move from the Chicago area.
Chicago and suburbs have pretty much any kid activity you could ever want, with the exception of good down-hill skiing. Obviously, in winter many things are inside. My kids enjoy various sport activities and they love going to Chicago's world class museums. There are just countless family friendly activities, so if there is something specific you are looking for, I can try to steer you there.
If this is her first real winter, I would try to embrace the seasonal activities. Go sledding, learn to skate, cross country ski etc. Make it fun and novel, and maybe she won't freak out
You will prob. take a little time to adjust, but I find that most people that move to the area end up really liking it. If you have any other questions, I will try to answer more specifically.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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I too was thinking Niles / Glenview. The area close to the Greek Orthodox churches in those towns have a nice mix of older homes that have been fixed up and some tear downs. I would not worry about it being too "traditional" as there are lots of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East...

Rental homes are not super abundant but if you shop you ought to be able find something in your price range. If you don't mind a place that has a "make available for showings" clause (as there are fair number of homes listed for sale that the owners have decided to rent out...) that will expand your shopping list.

Good Luck!

(btw Glenview has a wonderful Children's Museum and terrific Park District. There are indoor pools, all kinds of opportunities to learn to skate indoors & out, organized gymnastics and huge range of art centered options. Believe me , with even a little effort you can schedule your family to completely appreciate the any "indoor but active" events that help the winter months pass...)
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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The Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum, the Nature Museum, plus the Children's Museum on Navy Pier can provide tons of winter fun for the family.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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Why not live in Evanston if he is working there. The Greek Orthodox Churches are not so far that you could not get to them from Evanston itself and Evanston has tons of things to do for kids as well as easy access to the city. When we lived in Evanston some time ago, my dd's girl scout troop had a diversity of kids including one who was Greek Orthodox.

The public schools are good. Don't let the people give you wrong information. Evanston is diverse and some people don't get that kind of thing, but my kids had great experiences in the schools and while the high school is changing things up, I don't think it is going to be a big problem.

St. Andrews is not far
ST. ANDREW’S GREEK ORTODOX CHURCH IN CHICAGO

St. Demetrios is not far either
home - Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church

Evanston has the Lakefront parks. My kids loved to feed the ducks at Northwestern's lagoon. The beaches and parks were great for biking and walking.
Soccer leaques through the park district are good at this young age.
There is a fully accessible playground for everyone at Lawson Park near the lake.
The park district also offers Ice Skating at Robert Crown Center as well as other activities at Robert Crown. The Wilmette Ice Center is also available (my dd took classes and was in an ice show there).
You can go sledding at Lovelace Park on the hill and in James Park (but only on the intermediate hill from what they said and it's a bit riskier). There are also outdoor ice skating rinks set up in several parks.

Noyes Cultural Art Center has classes (my dd took art classes there and there was dance and ballet offered as well) and Chandler-Newburger Center has lots of classes (open gym and different sports - my ds went to sports camp there in the summer). If she likes nature, there is the ecology center with classes and just a neat path to explore. We also went to lots of Shakespeare in the Park when my kids were younger. There are local theater productions not far as well if she enjoys theater. Northwestern offers lots of fun things too. Parks and Rec has gymnastic classes, art classes, music classes, etc. The Evanston Art Center offers classes and it is near the Lighthouse at the Central Street Beach area. You can tour the Lighthouse and Maritime Museum (limited hours, but interesting). Northwestern's Block Museum of Art offers free admission. Fleetwood-Jordain has theater programs. There are tons of summer programs, but there are many in the fall and winter - just indoors. You can always take in the Museum of Science and Industry or the Shedd Aquarium or the Field Museum (check out the bug exhibits - my dd worked on setting those up one year).

The summer art fests are also great in Evanston from Custer's Last Stand in the main street area, to the Juried art show in Downtown, to the Lakefront Ethnic Arts fair. Ravinia is not far and is accessible by Metra train during the concert season.

From Evanston, the *el* can take you to the Lincoln Park Zoo (the Christmas Caroling to the animals is always fun). The Children's Museum in Navy Pier is accessible though you have to take a train and a bus (I think) or drive. You can also drive to the Kohl's Children's Museum which is not far. If you like sports, you can take in Cubs games via *el* also. The Skokie Exploratorium is not far and while the fee is higher for non-residents, it is not expensive. The Skokie Library and the Evanston Library also have many activities for kids. The Evanston Children's theater has productions and kids from 8 to 14 can audition for them.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Welcome to The Museum of Science and Industry
Shedd Aquarium - Chicago | Home
Welcome to The Field Museum | The Field Museum
Garfield Park Conservatory

I could go on and on. We LOVED living in Evanston with kids.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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Wow, what a wealth of info! I am going to print this thread out for future reference.

Nana, Evanston sounds *great*, don't get me wrong - my concern is that we will not be able to afford to rent a house there. I'm kind of set on having 3 bedrooms and at least 1.5 bathrooms and a yard. That's what we have now in CA (about 1600 sq. ft.) and it is perfect and I don't want less space especially since we will be inside more in the winter.

We used to live in a condo, and before that an apartment (when dd was a baby) and while it was OK when she was a tiny kid, it wouldn't suit me now. Our neighbors in the condo complex about drove me crazy and I vowed NEVER to live with shared walls again!!

So anyway, when I look at Craigslist, 95% of what is listed in Evanston is apartments, and $2000 does not look like it goes very far. Skokie seems much cheaper and Morton Grove/Niles about the same as Skokie. Glenview and Deerfield look more expensive. But this is all from my very unscientific attempts to find rental homes online. If anyone wants to correct my perceptions, PLEASE do!!
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:48 PM
 
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Your daughter will do just fine in Chicago winters. In fact, she will love it. My niece (also 6) is from California. And she LOVES to come to visit us in the winter. Making snowmen, throwing snow balls, sledding, hot chocolate afterwards... these are great memories for kids. As long as they are bundled, they are good to go!

It is YOU that will have a harder time. You might start to like the change of seasons. That can be novel for awhile. You begin to really appreciate when the weather is good (like now - fall is the best time of the year, in my opinion). The winters will feel long. Make sure you get sunlight exposure time in so you don't get depressed.

What is kind of a drag, is that you will probably need to buy quite a few new clothes. When I lived in California, I could literally wear the same clothes all year long. Not so in Chicago.
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