Well, it is happening. I’ve been offered a dream job in my favorite city. G and I are picking up and leaving the great state of California and moving to Chicago. Both of us have lived here for just about our entire adult lives, so this is going to be an enormous change.
But I am a Midwestern girl, and I know I’m going to love it there. G knows that it is a great town to visit, but she is stepping out on faith that I am leading both of us to a good place.
She can trust me. Chicago is AWESOME!
Things are falling into place as if this was all meant to be. I keep waiting for something to go wrong, for there to be some major glitch that would make everything just totally suck. It’s a very stressful time, don’t get me wrong. But all of the little details are so far coming off without a hitch (knock on wood…thunk).
Perhaps it has a lot to do with our search for housing. We went to Chicago and managed to find a place to live in one weekend. In the Bay Area we’re used to dealing with lots of high-priced, tiny, crumby apartments, and even though we knew Chicago is a totally different housing market, we just couldn’t let go of Bay Area expectations.
We looked at our fair share of crumby apartments, to be sure. In one place I would guess that the bath tub hadn’t been cleaned the entire time that the three male roommates had occupied the apartment. And it wasn’t just to boys who were slobs, if you think I’m being sexist. In another apartment shared by three young women, there was half-eaten food on the floor and dirty clothes strewn everywhere. What the deal with landlords in Chicago showing apartments that are not only occupied (which is actually understandable to a degree), but are occupied by slobs who are truly disgusting? I walked out of some of these places feeling like I needed to take a bath. But I digress.
We found the most beautiful apartment we could imagine (photos to come). When we walked into the place our jaws hit the gorgeous hardwood floors. We gaped at the twelve-foot ceilings, the spacious living areas, the original built-in cabinetry with leaded glass, and we mouthed to each other “Oh my God!” I whispered to G “This is the one!” We couldn’t believe it. We were sure that something had to be wrong. We couldn’t possibly afford the rent here, or there must be something wrong with the neighborhood. We will be living in the Uptown neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, which is a bit rough, but nothing that we’re not used to.
Now we’re fantasizing about growing tomatoes and herbs on our front patio, grilling in the back, setting up a yoga and meditation room, entertaining friends at many fabulous dinner parties, and simply occupying opposite sides of the apartment! We’re so used to living in small quarters and needing to occupy the same room! This will be real freedom.
Make no mistake, we are going to miss the Bay Area a lot. Probably immediately as winter sets in there. We’ll miss our friends, no doubt, we’ll miss the fantastic weather, the farmers market down the street, the bakery, the fantastic dining, our church. I have adopted Oakland as my home. I will most certainly be homesick for some time.
But when I first moved here fifteen years ago, I was homesick for Chicago. So here I go back home again.