This time tomorrow, I will officially be a New Yorker! It feels like it has been a long time coming, which is ironic to me because this was completely unplanned and unexpected. This summer has been amazing (especially after how awful this winter was), but I’m ready to start this new chapter.
There’s only one way to describe this week: bittersweet. I’ve loved seeing my friends and have enjoyed reminiscing about some of our favorite days and nights in Chicago and I am so sad to think that my entire life is about to change and that I won’t be able to see them everyday. At the same time, it’s SO exciting. I made a pact with myself when I made the decision to move that I wouldn’t think about New York and go there mentally until the day was upon me because I really wanted to live in the moment as long as possible. Now that it’s here though, I’m finally letting the excitement out! :)
It’s been a while since I’ve written something from the heart, so I figured today would be a good day to keep it real. A lot of you may be new readers or people who have met me more recently and may not even know how I got here. You know I’m originally from Texas, but how did I end up in Chicago? Well, let me take you back 3 years..
I was back in Dallas after several years of nonstop traveling and knew that I needed to make a change. I love Dallas (a lot), but was really wanting to move and go explore another city. I honestly didn’t care which one.. New York, Chicago, San Francisco and even somewhere in Europe were all places swirling around in my head and I just needed something in life to point me in the right direction. (Well, to be honest I didn’t think I would ever actually move to New York but I just thought about it, but I’ll get to that later.) At the time, I was figuring things out/kind of ending/generally confused about a long distance relationship I had been in for a very, very long time and he had just moved back to Dallas and we were in the same city for the first time in 5 years. It wasn’t the only reason, but it was a contributing factor as to why I was ready for a change of scenery. After a few months of being home, I found a job one night that was perfect for me. It was one of those moments where you felt like you were reading something written with you in mind. I applied that night, but then actually forgot about it for a few weeks because I was so busy at the time.
The next 2 weeks were a whirlwind – I interviewed, flew to Chicago for an afternoon, got the job and decided to move all within about 9 actual days. I couldn’t believe it! I knew it was the right next move and it gave me a peace about it happening so suddenly. Oh, and not to mention I had already planned a trip to Paris for a weekend in the following 2 weeks where I had to round up my stuff, find a place in this city I knew nothing about and get there. At the time, I didn’t know a soul who lived in Chicago. I had a friend named Francesca who I had met in New York on one of my trips and she had gone to school there so I immediately reached out to her.. HELP! I didn’t even know what the neighborhoods were. If it weren’t for Fran, I would’ve lived in the South Loop or something (no offense to anyone who does, just not for me) and probably would’ve paid way more money than I should’ve. I ended up picking out my apartment online (Google street view is amazing) and moving in before I had ever seen it in person. Lots of firsts with this move and several big leaps of faith.
Fast forward… I get to Chicago literally the first weekend of winter. If you know me, you know that I hate being cold. Actually, everyone thought I was completely nuts for moving there because they were afraid I would turn around and come home at the end of January. I had to sell my car (a huge change for me) and learn how to take public transportation (a foreign concept to us Texas folk). I will never forget, I was 45 minutes late to my own birthday brunch with new friends because I attempted to take the El there and got off at the wrong stop… oops. I ended up finding out that one of my best friends from middle school, Lauren, also lived in Chicago. Fran also connected to me to her closest group of friends in Chicago too and the rest is history. Almost everyone I met from that day forward started from one of those two groups or I met through people I worked with – crazy how everyone ends up tied together even in big cities!
When I think about the past 3 years here, it’s been quite the whirlwind. The first year here was nuts… I was just trying to make it through the days and not get lost. It was kind of a wonderful blur and the first time I had ever really lived in a city this big. The second year here was great because I actually had a handle on what was going on and was able to really enjoy exploring the city — we went to brunch and dinner almost every week and were in a very “YOLO” state of mind, so it was a blast. This past year was very different and might actually be my favorite. My roommate put it best when she said that it’s the little things that are the most memorable. More than anything, that’s what I’ll miss. I started a list of quotes from all of our friends when I first got here and we read them the other night. We were rolling with laughter and it just reminded me that my favorite nights were the silliest ones where we didn’t do anything fancy or crazy, just enjoyed good company.
I think that forcing yourself to do uncomfortable things is important — you really have to figure out what you can deal with and where your real breaking points are. I’ve learned how to get sh*t done more than ever before in my life – case and point yesterday I walked half a mile with 8 bags on my arms… when you don’t have a trunk or a backseat (read: car) you have to figure out how to make it work. I think living here has made me a more resourceful and honestly stronger person. Someone must’ve known that I needed to get some tough skin before leaving for New York :). I actually can’t believe this is happening because at one point in my life I adamantly made the claim that I would never live in New York City. I “didn’t think it was me” and that it would be a place that I would like… obviously I’m eating my words now because I couldn’t be more excited. It was a good reminder that anything can happen.
I don’t know if it’s possible or if you’ve ever felt this way about a place, but I completely fell in love with this city. Not like, not enjoyment, but love. It was not love at first sight, but every time I see the skyline I am reminded of this really special time in my life. This was a time where I made some of the best friends of my adult life, had more fun than I ever thought would be possible, and was pushed completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason — how could I not, I’m adopted after all! Just a few months ago I really thought I would be staying put for a while, but low and behold that’s not the case. Life has a funny way of teaching you to go with the flow.
Most of all, I’ve been so thankful for the support I’ve received from everyone. My entire extended family, family friends, friends old and new, people I work with, readers of my blog, and even random people I’ve only met one or two times. I am one extremely lucky girl to have this kind of support for this big adventure. To all of you, thank you from the very bottom of my heart. You have no idea how grateful I am for your little notes, e-mails, texts and calls, dinners, drinks and hugs. You’re making this move so much easier for me and there aren’t enough thank you’s in the world for that feeling. I am so excited for what the future holds and can’t wait to share the new journey with you!