Friday, May 11, 2012

One Year in Chicago

I have officially been a resident of Chicago for one year and the time has flown by.  I still feel like I am new to city and just moved here from Florida into my apartment.  I definitely know a lot more about the city, can find my way around pretty well (with some help from Google maps), have a job I enjoy, have lots of great places to run, met some new people through blogs, work, and running, and have tons of great food to eat.  
I moved here because the city intrigued me and I wanted to go out on my own and try something different.  I am glad I did.  Life in Chicago is very different than what I am used to; everything from transportation to home life has taken some getting used to.  I am still trying to find my groove, but things are good right now.  

Kristin (my roommate) and I just moved into a new apartment last week.  It is SO much better than where we were before.  We found our first place on a weekend trip to the city and being new to the area had no idea what area of town we wanted to be in.  We were about an hour from downtown via the El and in a not so great neighborhood.  There really wasn't much to do around our apartment.  After about a month or two living there I was already looking forward to a getting a better place.  It worked for a first apartment, but wasn't somewhere I wanted to stay very long. 
The new dining room and kitchen.
Our new apartment is bigger and in the great neighborhood of Ravenswood.  There are cute tree line streets with apartments and houses.  We are a little closer to the city and not far from stores, shops, and cute local restaurants.  I LOVE the new place.  The building is cute and well maintained.  I am so glad we found a good place.  

Not to long ago I was juggling three jobs at once, but now I am down to one job (a spa at a nice hotel) that I really enjoy.  Everyone there is incredibly friendly and helpful.  I am grateful and happy to work at such a nice place.  I still have a few babysitting jobs, but they are just here and there.  

The running community here in Chicago is also really amazing.  Fleet Feet Chicago is very involved in the community and organizes fun runs and seminars throughout the year.  Plus everyone on staff is extremely knowledgeable about running and running gear.  I don't get to go every week, but I love the Chick's Night runs.  I was also asked to join their running club called FF Cheer.  It is essentially a group of us who love running and promote the idea that "running changes everything" through social media and at local events.  I like being apart of such a neat group and to share my love of running with others!  

There are certainly some hard things about living in Chicago though.  Being hundreds of miles away from my family is difficult and strange.  We have always been close and as we have all grown up we have moved farther away from each other.  My mom and step dad are in Florida, my dad is in South Carolina, my sister is out west as an AmeriCorp volunteer, and my brother is down south attending college.  The closest family to me is in Pennsylvania, but that is still a ways away.  This is when I wish I could apparate (you know like from Harry Potter) so I could visit them anytime.  (I seriously wish I could do this, like, all the time.  Caroline, my sister, says I talk about this often, which I do.  It would just be so amazing though, right?) 

Despite being far away from family I really like life here in Chicago.  It seems like I discover something new about the city every week which is exciting.  I love being able to run along the beautiful lakeshore or be in the middle of city or explore local shops and eat new foods.  I have made it through my first year of being on my own, having a job, paying bills, etc.  I know that I have grown a lot this year by putting myself out there more and trying new things.  At times it is scary and hard, but I don't regret anything.  I am looking forward to my next near in the beautiful city of Chicago!