Winding our Way to the Windy City

As crazy as it is to think about, we’ve been in Chicago for more than a month and a half!! It feels like we have been here a lot longer, actually. I’m settled into my job, Kyle has already gotten a few big clients and finished his first sales weekend at Randolph Street Market, and we managed to unpack in record time. I LOVE our new house – we actually have some elbow room, there’s a park and beautiful old cemetery right across the street, and it’s just cozy and wonderful.

The move itself really only happened thanks to our awesome friends, who helped us pack our entire apartment into a truck in just a few hours. It was basically a giant game of Tetris, since we were trying to leave enough room in the back for the tools Kyle bought from a guy in Michigan that we picked up along the way. I forgot how many tolls there are coming across the Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, especially with a moving truck, so we ended up spending waaaaay more on the move than I anticipated. Abigail was an amazing road trip buddy; she rode in the back of the car with me, and was confused every time we got out at a rest stop (they all look exactly the same!) She also stuck her head out the window at every toll booth, though her cute face didn’t get us any discounts.

I started my new job two days after we moved in. Weirdly enough, I am the only Rotarian on my team, but as Kyle says I now work at the Mothership. My cube has an amazing view of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, and I really like all of my coworkers. I didn’t really realize until I started my new job how overworked I had been previously. I have a lot more autonomy and trust from my supervisor (who, to be fair, doesn’t have ridiculous demands coming down at her from our donor/s), and there’s much more of an emphasis on my own professional and personal development in addition to taking on tasks independently to add new features to the program. It also doesn’t hurt that we have consistent, stable, private funding, so there’s not the constant and looming worry that my job will be eliminated on a whim by Congress. It’s hard to explain the difference between Chicago and DC, except to say that everyone has a life outside their work. People have hobbies to talk about (that aren’t politics), and I don’t feel defined by my job title. Even though it’s only been a few weeks, I feel like a huge mental weight has been lifted and can see myself staying here for a long time.

My non-work hours have so far been consumed just by settling in. I haven’t had too much time to explore yet, but we have been trying to visit things in our new neighborhood. We live in between Andersonville and Ravenswood, which both have adorable shops and delicious restaurants. We found an amazing Vietnamese place right up the street, and one of the owners happens to be from the Balkans; once he found out we had lived in Macedonia, he insisted on having a shot of rakija with us! There are actually a ton of Balkan people in our neighborhood, and we found amazing, authentic kebapi and burek close by (made by a Serbian woman, it was fun to be able to read the menu and talk to her a bit). There’s also a brewery called Half Acre Brewing about a five minute walk from our house, and once it gets warm we will be taking Abi to hang out on their patio all the time. On the days when it has been nice enough, we’ve taken Abi to the beach on Lake Michigan. There’s a fenced dog beach, and I think she had more fun there than she’s ever had in her little life; she passed out on the floor when we got home at 5 pm, and slept all the way until the next morning!

We had our first snow a few weeks ago, and while I’m fully prepared for it to get much colder, I think I’m ready for it. Although if you’re wondering what I want for Christmas, the answer is a heated mattress pad, or anything lined in fleece.

Now that I’m back in routine again, I’m going to try to get back to a post a week. My laptop died in the middle of our move, so blogging takes a bit more effort now, but I’ve realized that I love reading back through my old posts (like the first time we visited Chicago together) so it’s totally worth it.

And, since it’s appropriate this week, I am eternally thankful for my supportive, wonderful, loving family and friends. Whenever I doubt myself, you’re always there to remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last few months without you. ❤



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