Two years ago today I packed up my stuff and moved to Chicago. I waved goodbye to my uncle as he watched from the second-floor window of his family’s house in Columbus and hit the road, the first time I’d ever made that long a drive by myself. I had left equipped with over a dozen mix CDs made by friends and family and stopped only twice: once to get gas and lunch at a KFC, and once to get lost in Gary, Indiana due to a road closure.
I spent the next two weeks living with my aunt’s mother in the suburbs, commuting via Metra to Union Station every day to essentially job hunt from Starbucks downtown rather than from a Caribou Coffee in Glenview because, well, I don’t know why. I think I just liked being downtown and trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I’d actually moved there.
I was feeling nostalgic this morning, so I re-read some blog posts from the first few weeks of living here. It made me remember how badly I wanted to be here in the first place, and how earnest I was about a big life change. I’m afraid I’m a little jaded now and maybe I take living here a little for-granted at this point, but reading these entries made me re-examine how hard, yet how emboldening, it really was to actually pick up and leave for something completely unknown. I’m so glad I did it.
Whether you read them two years ago following my journey here or you’re a Chicago friend who missed out on these, consider looking back on how scared, homesick, and completely, stupidly brave I was just two years ago.
A re-cap of my first day downtown, an unnaturally windy day in October. I got lost and was unprepared for job-hunting.
Meeting Christina. Re-reading this entry, written the day after we met, I am surprised at how correct our first impressions of each other were. Clearly we are both excellent judges of character.
My first Chicago Halloween, a.k.a., six days after I moved here. It’s so funny to read how excited I was to go to an OSU bar in Lincoln Park. I must have been extremely homesick if being near Buckeyes fans sounded endearing.
Somewhat depressing thoughts on moving, but also some hopeful ones. I’d started at Macy’s by then and had finally learned it’s okay to take yourself to a movie, especially when you know literally three people in the city in which you reside. Homesickness hit hard at this point, so it was lucky my dad came to visit the first time shortly after.
Looking back, I was almost permanently stressed out before getting my current full-time job. My aunt will remember me having a nervous breakdown in her car that January after three months of unemployment. But, even though I was terrified and living on ramen noodles, I’d do it again.
…Okay, not really. I never, ever again plan on quitting my job, moving to a new city without one, and living off savings for an unforeseeable amount of time. But I’m still glad I did it the one time. As I’ve said, if I’d thought about it too much at the time, I never would have done it. So here’s to not thinking things through.
Happy anniversary, Chicago!