Monday, March 30, 2009

Work and Workout

The happenings of the day seem quite uneventful compared to the happenings of this evening. At the sound of the 5:00 "time to go home bell" I packed up my things, turned off my computer and headed downstairs to my new gym aka "the resort." I was feeling pretty drained, as learning can be exhausting, but I had an appointment to keep for orientation with a gym trainer. And thank goodness I kept it, for little did I know what was in store...

Before I go any further, let me backtrack for a second... One thing I've failed to mention about this glorious town in my previous posts, is all the beautiful glorious men. They are EVERYWHERE! On the street, in the elevator, in the coffee shops... and in the GYM!!! A single girls paradise! Few of them have rings, (that's the first place I look) and they are all dressed up and look shiny and new!

Okay... sorry, back on track...

After an hour of friendly health talk, lots of small talk, and a work out plan to whip me into shape, the gym membership was proving to be money well spent yet again. You see my friends, this short story has a VERY happy ending. Not only did I get a gym orientation and some cardio fun, but I also got my first Chicago date... with a fine piece of trainer.

Oh yeah, and I had a really good first day at work too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

First Snow

So... my room mates are currently gone to Indiana to watch Michigan state basketball at the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Having the whole house to myself for my first weekend in Chicago, was turning out to be a little too quiet for me and so I decided to pull out the map and venture to a cool neighborhood a little south of where I live, Lincoln Park. The weather man said there was a chance of snow today and tomorrow, but the sun was shining when I woke up, so I figured why not?!

It was especially brisk as I headed to the bus stop and although I invested in the warmest North Face jacket on the market, I failed to get a hat or gloves... (live and learn). A few strong gusts of wind, and a bus transfer or two later, I had arrived. I walked through the neighborhood, window shopped, had some lunch. I met up with a guy who befriended me over the phone during the early stages of looking for a place to live. He pointed out all the most important restaurants, bars and shopping in Lincoln Park, and then we took the train to Wrigleyville to have a drink. Time flew by, and then next thing I knew it was 9:00 and time to get home. I decided that instead of spending my money on a cab ride, which would have been the "Smart" thing to do, I would brave up and take the bus home. After two transfers, I jumped off at the stop close to my neighborhood grocery store, which I think I mentioned in a previous post is 9 blocks from home. I thought I may as well walk and be economical... it was only sprinkling, and everyone walks in the dark around here. A few minutes pass of me walking along, and quite suddenly the sprinkling turns into real rain, and then soon after... a torrential downpour whipping against my face and literally SOAKING my jeans.

It eventually let up a bit, and soon as I watched my feet so to avoid the weather in my face (remember NO HAT, no umbrella) I begin to see dust of white... that's right, SNOW. I should have known, and frankly I kind of deserved it. Here I am, some dumb girl from California, thinking that I was invincible and that the weather man in Chicago didn't know what he was talking about. Let's just say next time, I'll spring for the extra $2.50 bus ride that brings me to my door, and I will never doubt a forecast of a chance of snow again. Although it was so cool to see it snowing, next time I'll make sure to enjoy it from my window.

BTW: I considered taking pictures, and then I quickly reconsidered.

Friday, March 27, 2009

These things I know for sure... about Chicago

1. The temperature in any given day may fluctuate anywhere between 20 and 30 degrees. They don't call it the windy city for nothing.

2. Forget Starbucks... Argo Tea = love

3. The red line and the 146 bus, are my new favorite forms of transportation

4. If you don't own a North Face jacket you may as well go home.

5. Michigan Avenue is way more fun than old navy or outlets ;)

6. Thanks to my cousin (and former resident of Chi-town), my new favorite website is the CTA trip planner

7. Don't worry... my mom made a crafty little emergency contact list with phone numbers of her and my dad for my co-workers and my room mates. Gotta love protective parents ;)

8. Oprah and I will not become BFF's. She does not eat in any of the normal restaurants or walk on the streets to catch the bus... that's right... she's a billionaire, silly me. AND her show doesn't even come on until 11:00pm... what the heck?!

9. It is exactly 9 blocks to my neighborhood grocery store, and 9 blocks back. That should be fun next winter.

10. There are only two blocks and one large park between me and the beach. Lake Michigan is more like an ocean, waves and all... I have not been brave enough to bundle up and get anywhere near that icy cold water.

11. Sales tax in Chicago is over 10.25%... that's enough to make a girl want to quit shopping. Well, maybe not.

12. There IS Chipotle in Chicago... yay!!!

13. Spring does not really start until May.

14. The Gym that I joined, FFC is like a fricken resort. I get a permanent locker, they will wash and fold my gym clothes, they have a hot yoga studio, and for your convenience and pleasure there is an in-house day spa. If that doesn't make you want to go to the gym, I don't know what does.

15. DO NOT ever take the Green Line bus, for fear you might get shot... and that's no joke. Luckily I didn't have to find out the hard way

Oh, and the last thing I know for sure so far, is that tomorrow it's going to be snowing. After talking to my friend in California who is wearing flip flops this evening, I am sure snow seams unreal to all of you.

By popular demand... Here are a few pictures of my house. Enjoy!

Third floor loft area

Second Floor loft area (right outside my bedroom)

My bedroom


living room

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A girl in the windy city


Today is my fourth day in Chicago, and the first day I am officially on my own. I arrived, excited and full of hope for all the great experiences that awaited me and the beautiful city that I was about to become a resident of. I was greeted by two friendly and welcoming room mates, Roger and Anthony, who I already feel like I've known forever. We all hit it off immediately and have over the span of four days had many good laughs and as of today a few cries too!

The first two days in my new city were spent unpacking, shopping for odds and ends, and making my new house feel like my home. My parents and I spent many hours exploring, getting comfortable with the bus and train systems and also getting a feel for the neighborhoods that I would be visiting on a regular basis. We also got a chance to go into my new office and meet my new co-workers, who became more like an instant family than anything. On a whole I was feeling surprisingly comfortable and settled.

About four hours ago, that excitement took on a whole new look. Six o'clock was quickly approaching which meant it was almost time f
or my parents to say goodbye. It seems like from the start we've all been on auto pilot. Acting calm and cool, as if this would be no big deal. So tonight as we walked to the the corner to help catch them a cab, my stomach turned and my heart was in my throat. As the cab driver loaded their bags, I stood there awkwardly, not wanting to utter the "goodbye" word. I kissed my dad first both of us trying not to make eye contact for fear of loosing it. As he got in the cab, I faced my mom and we both grabbed on tight... the tears began to flow and reality set in. The reality that this was not a vacation, and I was not going back with them to Sacramento. It felt so final. For those of you that know me, you know how tight and close I am with my parents. They are both my best friends and for the past year, my room-mates. I never went away to college, I never lived to far away. The longest time I have been away from home was little vacations, summer camp, or when I went to Italy.
As we said goodbye tonight I started to realize how much of an adjustment I was really in for. Roger my new room mate shut the door to the cab, assuring them that he would take good care of me, and then kindly walked me back to the house as I tried hard to gather myself, and hold back the sobbing. Fast forward four or five hours and a box of tissues, and
I am doing much better. Mom and Dad should be touching down in Sacramento any minute, and life will go on!
Now, I promise this was not intended to be a sad blog, nor will it be sad in the future... this story does have a happy ending, and that is this:

Many people leave home to start over, to run away or escape something... for me, I am only able to leave home because
I am running from nothing. The two people I said goodbye to tonight, have given me such a strong foundation of love and support, and have made me feel like I can conquer anything, and for that I am so thankful. Although we were sad to say goodbye to each other, I know deep down we are all more excited and looking forward to all of the adventures ahead of me.

And thus begins my journey... After four short days I already love, love, love the city of Chicago. It is big and welcoming, and full of life. I am car-less and will rely on the train, bus and a good pair of walking shoes (non stileto that is.) The building that I'll be working in is right in the heart of the city so I'll get to work in the hustle and bustle of downtown. My new house is big and clean and comfortable. Things fell into place better than I could have ever hoped for, and I'm excited to see what's in store.

More blogs and stories to come so stay tuned... but for now so long and farewell from the girl in the windy city.