As of December 3, 2011, I’ve officially been a Chicagoan for one year. And boy has a lot changed in a year. I came to Chicago last December having just (literally, that same day) left a job I loved, a city I loved, friends and family to move to a new place and start a new life with my (then boyfriend, later fiance and now…) husband. I was excited, but scared as well. What would the future bring? Would I find friends? Would I like the city? Would Twitter Husband and I grow closer because we were each other’s only friend or apart?
Here are the answers:
- The future brought a long time period of fear and struggle, eventually capped by a job that I love (most of the time) and am fulfilled by. It brought confidence in my ability to build a network quickly, and a strong believe in myself and a sense of who I am separate of what I do.
- I found friends – phenomenal friends. Through my participation in Step Up Women’s Network and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago, I met women who first were contacts, then became my personal network, and many of them eventually became dear friends. I found a friend I can go to mass with when I need a Catholic Church pick-me-up. I found friends I can down bottles and bottles of red wine with when the days get long. I found friends I could run with, if I ever actually decided to train for anything. And I found friends who say, “How are you?” when they see you and really want to know the answer. And then, I found friends at work – something I now know is necessity in my job.
- I do like the city. It’s big and sometimes a concrete jungle, but it’s fast and full of life, too. I love the food, I love the theater, I love the shopping. It’s all here to be had, and I’m so grateful we’ve chosen to live downtown and experience it all day in and day out.
- And finally, the question of Twitter Guy – now Twitter Husband. I thought myself mad at the time. I was moving to a new city, with a man I wasn’t married to, and hoping it would work out. And though I knew I loved him then, I never knew how much more I could love him today. His support and willingness to trust my instincts about jobs, homes, etc. has been inspiring. We’ve grown closer than I could ever imagine and have complete faith that someday, when we make this “move to a new city on a whim” jump again, we will be there to catch each other once again as well.
So there you have it. One year in Chicago. Challenging, yes. But it also was filled with amazing experiences – and I’ll never forget that in the middle of my unemployment/sabbatical/seeing movies in the middle of the day and crying in the dark time there was the happiest day of my life this year. Marriage, a new home, a new job. It all happened in 2011. And I am grateful for this year in Chicago. My god, what will next year bring??