Monday, July 13.
That’s officially the day my dad and I will take off in a packed, blue Cavalier and head out on I-90 for a few days straight. We’ll take our time, stretching between four and five days on the road — a big change from the one other time I drove across the country with Liz and Eileen, from Columbus, Ohio to San Diego, in a mere two-and-a-half. I’m so glad Dad is willing to make this long trip with me, and I’m really looking forward to it.
This set date means I have 10 weeks left in Chicago: 70 days, and technically one-fifth of a year, but it’s also only 10 more Saturday nights, and nine more roller derby practices. I go back and forth between wanting to speed this time up and slow it down. This weekend has been a great one, and one in which I’ve felt both ways, back and forth. It was gorgeous all weekend, and I saw a ton of my friends. I was outside a lot, I got the season’s first real sunburn, and I saw a roller derby bout. I also looked at openings in Portland group houses on Craigslist.
Last weekend, I moved what few belongings I still own from the place Adele and I had in Albany Park to Christina and John’s house in Avondale. It took maybe two hours, and I “unpacked” in 30 minutes. Most of my stuff is still in taped-up boxes, awaiting their fate of either being shipped to Portland via Amtrack, or being mailed to me at a later date. Aside from clothes and a one-cup coffee maker, there’s not much out in the open in my room. Not owning things feels freeing. It will be a pain to replace stuff in Portland, but for now I feel very light.
It’s my old room, the one I lived in when I first moved to Chicago, before I started at Groupon, and before I knew hardly anyone. It feels familiar and comforting, albeit a little surreal. The bird and tree wall decals I put up back then are still there, right where I’d left them. I woke up my first morning there and had a strange feeling of someone who’d moved back in with their family after graduating from college. While I can’t help but think about who I was and what was important to me five years ago, this sensation has mostly passed.
Last week I found out about a new Chicago music festival called Mamby On The Beach. My much-cooler friend Brittany posted about it on Facebook, and I messaged her about it. Headliners are Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit, and others include Phantogram, Cut/Copy, and Tanlines — among tons of others. My heart sank when I saw the dates of the festival: July 11 and 12, the two days before I move. Still, it seemed like a big way to go out, so I asked Liz if she wanted to go. She seemed like the best person to ask, since she likes those bands too, and is a person would be willing to pay to go to Lolla were it not such a shit show. She said yes immediately, because she is awesome and spontaneous. I thought about it later and realized it was kind of perfect that Liz is the person I’ll spend most of my last Chicago weekend with; When I moved to Chicago, she was living in Evanston and was, at the time, the only person I knew in the area. Halloween was five days after I moved here, and she took me out to a bar in Lincoln Park to make me feel welcome.
Speaking of bars — another friend (forgive me for not remembering who) was joking recently about how I should hold a farewell tour for myself instead of one big going away party. I know they were kidding, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. If I have a handful of opportunities to see people, no one will feel insanely pressured to come to one big, final hurrah. And if I know there are still future chances to see people, it will never really feel like goodbye. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
These dates are tentative, but here’s what I’m shooting for. If you’re in Chicago, come on by:
- Friday, June 12: Square Bar after work
- Saturday, June 20: Small Bar in the afternoon
- Thursday, June 25: Bar on Buena after work
- Friday, June 26: The Grafton after work
- Stef’s Choice of Date, TBA: Orbit Room
If you can’t make it to these, I still have a Chicago bucket list of mostly (burger) restaurants, so let’s grab dinner.