First Week in Chicago… and getting here!

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So, I’ve been in Chicago for over a week… and haven’t posted once.

I know, I know… I don’t have friends yet, I don’t have a job yet, what’s my excuse? Yadda, yadda.

It’s been completely wild and new so far, and incredibly hard to put into words. But overall, it’s been good and exciting, with a healthy dose of “uncomfortable” that always is par for the course when one is doing something new and different and out of their comfort zone.

I will attempt to “catch up” in this post, in my best attempt at writing “readers digest style”….which is never my style…. Hahaha!

Leaving & Goodbyes

My last two days in New Orleans were probably the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve been through, apart from the deaths of family members. It was REALLY intense y’all… From now on, I have a rule…. No waiting 29 years to move somewhere EVER again… way too hard, you are way too attached.  The tears started on my last day of internship, and the ‘water works’ didn’t shut down until the Mississippi state line on Sunday. To say the least, I was kind of a mess.

I got weepy and all sentimental before, during, and after Mass at Mater Delarosa, where I cantored on Saturday afternoon… but I was so glad to sing my “last mass” in New Orleans there, the church I cantored my first Mass at in college.

Saturday night, I knew I had the hardest goodbyes left. I had spent the afternoon packing and hanging with one of my best friends and housemates, and planned at that point “going out” was not an option. I don’t do “the public cry” and at this point, it was clear to both of us that me+tears was an unavoidable combo for the evening…. So, we bought a few bottles of Prosecco, and my nearest and dearest came over to hang out.

I was strangely surprised and proud of myself when I opened the door and held it together… and actually had a fun time hanging out- it was like a regular Saturday night, chillin’ at home with friends. Then, it got to be late, and it was time to say goodbye. Let’s just say the common thread was 2 people standing and hugging, one being me, both people sob, one says “I’m so excited for you!” through tears while I say, “I’m so excited too!” through tears. It was like a convention of emotional schizophrenics. LOL!

Turns out, one of my housemates is even more emotionally avoidant than I am, and he insisted, “Oh, let’s not say ‘bye’ now, I’ll wake you up in the morning before I go to work. HAHA! Perfection… morning me, pre-diet coke… Fantastic. He woke me up with a diet coke, we chatted like nothing was weird or unusual about this for about 2 minutes, and then both lost it.

Luckily, my housemates had work, so I was able to pull it together, pack the last few things, and hit the road by about 10:30am. A few tears, but the hysterics were over…. I thought. Then, my mom calls just as I’m leaving the city. She cries, I cry.

The whole last week was full of “goodbyes”. I HATE GOODBYES. But, as a good friend pointed out, “This would be so much worse if no one liked you and no one gave a shit that you were leaving.”  

Touche`.

It’s good to be loved. But, for the record, saying “hello” is much easier, and much more fun than saying goodbye… I’m just gonna throw that out there, k?

I am thankful. …and even more thankful that those same people have kept in touch, texting and calling to see how things are going and how I’m doing so far. I learned I can move, but I don’t lose them. I just gain an opportunity to grow and let new people in my circle. Certainly, things are different, but I haven’t ‘lost’ anyone.

…But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I miss my krewe like crazy. I’m totally looking forward to going back to New Orleans at the end of the month for a few days.

The Trip Up

The trip up here was AMAZING, and quite flawless, honestly. It was a route to Chicago I had never taken, via I-65 through Birmingham, Nashville, Louisville, and Indianapolis. I really haven’t travelled too much in the continental U.S., particularly by car. I have to say, it’s a beautiful country. I saw things that looked like mountains to me, and I was literally trying to snap pictures with iPhone as I flew down the highway!

No wrecks, no flat tires, no tickets. (Generally, at last one of those occurs when I drive 1,000 mi. or so…)

I stopped in Birmingham, and spent some lovely time with the Vath Clan. They have two of the most charming and low-maintenance children I have ever seen! I spent the night in Nashville with the Ranseen Family, meeting my Aunt Danette’s two children, who were smart, funny, and engaging. They could have kept me up til 2am, thoroughly entertained, with no problem!

I really ‘felt the love’ throughout the trip, rarely going for more than an hour or two without someone calling to check in and see how the drive was going. 🙂

I approached Chicago from the southwest, right on schedule, and had an incredible view of/tour through the city along Lakeshore Drive as I came in. Life really felt charmed.

Getting Started in Chicago

I arrived at my friends’ apartment (which is precious!) and quickly settled in. I successfully battled the local parking situation, and fell in love with her place. There was even lots of closet space for all the clothes I brought!

My first night in town, one of my good friends came and hung out for a while, which was fantastic. Let’s face it, who wants to hang out by themselves first night in a new place, right?

I spent the next day or two getting adjusted and beginning to familiarize myself with the area, as it is an area of Chicago I hadn’t been in before. People have been so nice & welcoming and just generally friendly & fun.

Another fun perk is that a good friend of mine from New Orleans also just moved here a few weeks ago, and is literally like a mile from where I am, so it’s been great to have a fellow nola girl to hang out with, chat with, do things with, and freak about not having a job with! Tomorrow we’re gonna go play tourist and do the Architecture boat tour downtown. 🙂

Running along the lake is beautiful, and is something I have done (most) every day since I’ve been here. I was thrilled to find a Pilates studio I liked on my first try as well! I can walk to everything- whole foods, the lake, the grocery, stores, restaurants, the el, ANYTHING! Honestly, the biggest practical challenge is parking, especially during Cubs night games, since I’m about 5 blocks from Wrigley Field.

It’s been fun to meet up with old friends and to network with new ones… I even went to my first-ever alumni event for Loyola! I also began the process of auditioning for choirs up here. I’ve explored Evanston & Wilmette with friends, and ate at lots of delicious places, too.

I’ve been sending out lots of resumes, and scouring the internet for jobs that look interesting. It’s the first and last thing that I do every day.

OH! …And I found an apartment!

I spent a few afternoons with various apartment hunters…. First day, I was HORRIFIED! Second and third days out looking were MUCH better, and I found a place that I think is perfect! I put down a deposit & will set a move-in date on Monday afternoon. Very exciting! I joked with my dad that I think it’s funny that I had to move 1,000 mi. north to have beachfront living! (His response: “Well, actually you could have just moved 200 mi. to the east in Pensacola…” LOL!)  The view is fantastic, and if you knock on my door and I’m not there, I’m probably at Foster’s Beach, just sayin’.

Speaking of beaches, I also booked a ticket to spend a few days with family in Cayman in mid-August- it’s my absolute most favorite place in the world to be, and it’ll do me a world of good, I think! Can’t wait!

As I write all of this, it makes me think, “Geez, I guess I’ve done more than I thought!” But certainly, this is a HUGE change for me. I feel like I’m literally doing NOTHING, and I had no idea how not being at work would freak me out so much. It’s been a week, but it feels like I’ve been unemployed for a small eternity. There are times when I go absolutely stir-crazy in my apartment, or I just go walk around the neighborhood because I need to do SOMETHING. It’s hard to fall asleep, and I even wake up by 9:30 most mornings! It’s stressful not having a job!!!

…So, clearly, I’m going through an adjustment.

As always, my friends are great about reminding me to chill out, relax, remember it’s only been a week, and to let this time of transition be whatever it is that it’s supposed to be. Most the time, I’m doing that, and loving it. The moments of panic and freaking out are short lived. I’m learning (yet again) to be patient with myself and with the pace of the universe… and to trust that somewhere out there, there’s a grand plan, and it will all work out ok (most likely).

Favorite quote of the week:

“Every child (so every person) has known God- not the god of names, not the god of don’ts, not the god who never does anything weird- but the god who knows only 4 words and keeps repeating them, saying: ‘Come dance with me’.” – Hafiz

So, that’s what’s happening around here!

Fingers crossed that my phone and e-mail starts exploding with recruiters and prospective employers soon!

Thanks to all of you- in NOLA, in Chicago, and all over the place for your words of encouragement and support in my new adventure here! I cannot begin to tell you how much all that means to me!

-T.

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