As many of you know, I am planning a big move to Chicago this spring/summer. And since it's been 6 years since I visited there, I decided to rekindle my love for the city by going in the coldest time of the year. If I can love Chicago despite it's freezing weather, I think I can always love it.
This trip left me with answers and confidence.
Received great advice and pointers from some girls I went to high school with that live there, and their love of the city makes me want to move sooner ... Led a self-guided tour through the affordable neighborhoods and fell head over heels for Lincoln Park (not the band) ... Rode the "L" train and never got lost! (that's pretty remarkable) ... Met strangers along the way and they were very pleasant and helpful, whether I needed directions or to share a two-top at a crowded cafe ... Saw a show at The Second City and took a improv class there! Since The Second City is a main reason why I am moving there, I am relieved that I really enjoyed the class and show ... Spotted lots of attractive boys, apparently the ratio is 9 guys to 1 girl (another reason to move there) ... Checked out some bakeries, since that's the sort of job I'll probably have when I first get there, and had a delicious funfetti cupcake injected with cake batter ... Ended my stay by being a tourist and visiting the neat-o sculptures at Millennium Park
This move is all so real to me now, even though I don't know the month or where or who I will be living with. I've still got some money to save, because the livin' ain't cheap (especially when you're paying for improv classes).
I've got these butterflies about it too, but the good kind, the kind you get when you know you're about to be out of your comfort zone. Out of your routine and don't have your best friends or family with you. It's easy to get comfortable and complacent with your place in life, even though you want more and are capable of achieving it. One of my favorite quotes: "Do something every day that scares you" - Eleanor Roosevelt (my first daughter will be named Eleanor, I hope my future husband is on board).
I feel like I am about to go to college all over again. Lately, my mantra has is: If I can move to Charleston, not know anyone, and end up making best friends, I can do it in Chicago too.
I can't compare the future friend groups to friend groups of the past, because they will all be vastly different, but all serve a purpose for me at that time in my life and the friendships will evolve as we age. The qualities I look for in friends, though, never waivers.
Sorry, I am now rambling...
BUT bottom line, despite the weird, slushy sheets of ice falling from the sky one day,
I confidently left Chicago knowing that this is the next step, and that good things will come of it.
From my very short stay, here are some recommendations:
Floriole Cafe and Bakery (Lincoln Park) aesthetically reminded me a lot of Tartine in San Francisco. Their menu changes daily - I had a bacon, apricot jam, arugula, and goat cheese sandwich on toasted cornbread. WOW.
Molly's Cupcakes (multiple locations in Chicago) is where I had that cake batter cupcake. All their cupcakes are filled and were so hard to choose from.
Ba Le (Washington St.) has amazing, fresh and hot Banh Mi's (I think I should write a book about Banh Mi's across America). Spicy and authentic - they also sold French Macaroons!
See a show at The Second City! You will laugh to pieces. Great stuff!