Chicago a year later

This time last year, was my last week in my New Jersey home. This was the week the movers took our stuff away and we turned our keys over to the new owners. This is the week I had one last great party with my friends before heading for I-80 West.

The predictions about what I was going to miss about New Jersey were pretty accurate. Kurt was right about pizza, Chinese food, and spring.  My daughter has been away from good bagels so long she’s finding the packaged ones at the supermarket to be acceptable, as long as they’re toasted – and smothered in cream cheese. I will admit to finding some decent tasting pizza – if only they would cut it right (who cuts a round pie in squares?) – Domino’s is now our go to delivery option. Sad.

There were a few random times I didn’t feel like pumping my own gas, but that seems to be something I’m embracing, even in winter. It’s quicker. I’ll never get used to tax on clothing or Sunday shopping (especially since I’ve been working retail). I don’t miss NYC as much as I thought I would; there’s still so much to explore in Chicago! I even ventured up to Milwaukee and Green Bay and there are neighboring states I have yet to visit.

I miss running along the Palisades, hiking the Ramapo Mountains, and keeping the New York Skyline in sight. Although over 18 miles of Lakefront Trail still lay not fully explored and the Chicago Skyline from North Avenue Beach takes my breath away. every. single. time. I miss the smell of salt air but have never lived closer to a beach.

I miss my friends. A lot. While I thought FaceBook was going to serve as an adequate platform for maintaining relationships, it comes up drastically short. I have made a couple new friends here and vow to invest a little more time in cultivating those relationships this summer. The importance of female friendships (as I’ve said before) can’t be overstated.

I will admit to spending a good part of the last year feeling lost – figuratively and literally. A small victory recently was driving my daughter to work in Logan Square, and from there getting to my job on the south side – without the use of navigation! Although, while my sense of direction and knowledge of streets and highways has improved, not having the large network I had in New Jersey is still very challenging. I’m working, but underemployed. I haven’t secured enough clients to make my business sustainable. Even my ability to do my jobs is limited because I still lack an adequate understanding of local resources.

Fleet Feet got me out of the apartment in January and interacting with more people. Working from home when I first came out here was probably not a great strategy for finding my way in a new city. I joined the Lakeview Rotary Club, the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago and the Transition Network. I’ve increased my Chicago-based LinkedIn contacts from 4 to 52. It’s a start.

Of course, being in the same city as both my boyfriend and daughter was my goal and the silver lining in all of this. I’ve had some spectacular date nights and mother-daughter time. And time to myself. I hadn’t lived alone in over 25 years. I guess that was an experience worth having – and suddenly doesn’t seem so lonely now that my daughter is home for the summer.

I am, in effect, now living in her apartment. This week, I am preparing for another move. I will be the one moving out at the end of August, and in with my boyfriend. She has a roommate moving in before school starts. Being more conscious in charting my course from here is my new goal. Having a roommate that doesn’t leave dishes in the sink will help.


4 thoughts on “Chicago a year later

  • June 28, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Mary, the forever adventurer! I am glad to see that the move to Chicago is getting better for you. If I remember correctly; it was the place you were destined to be. Although, the pizza is not what it is cooked up to be. As Frank Sinatra said, “It’s my kind of town!” You are adjusting, meeting people and starting a new journey. I am happy for you and wish you all the best. It is amazing that it has been a year. Wow!

    • July 1, 2019 at 9:34 am

      Thanks, Ed. I remember my mom told me about something she read; that you need to be in a place 3 years before you can truly evaluate it. – Like if you still don’t like it you can leave, only after 3 years. At least I know I like it here. Hope you are well.

  • July 3, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Ah, your experiences are very similar to mine. Moving to Texas I lost my contacts and my friends–FB is a very poor substitute. But Domino’s? We found Papa John’s to be the better choice until we found a local restaurant who actually make a really good pizza (and has a NYC chef).
    I did join a Jobs Network called ‘Between Jobs Ministries’ which wound up being a great resource, confidence builder and also increased my LinkedIn connections. Though I am working at H.E.B. as a cashier–which is an awesome company–employee owned & pay well–but not my chosen field, I too am making friends which is golden.
    I’m so glad that you and Kurt found each other after all these years… I’m rooting for you two whether on the race course or new adventures together! 🙂

    • July 4, 2019 at 11:52 am

      Thanks Carol! Your support much appreciated! – thanks for reading too! Big change like this, but big gains are in sight too! All the best!


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