Moving to Chicago was scary, but as I like to say, high risk high reward.
Photography by @MichelleCoxPhoto
First of all, how cute is this wrap dress! I found the wrap dresses are the most flattering on my figure (ahem athletic-bodied girls who need to fake a waist but disguise a large bootay). The fabric is super light and the colors are just lovely! AAAnd it is only $20. Hellooooo. My shoes are sold out (you last saw them in this post where I lamented about Instagram) but I linked a couple more options that I love. I’m simply DYING for a pair of Castañer espadrilles.
ADVICE ON MOVING TO A NEW CITY
Our move to Chicago wasn’t my first rodeo. In the fall of 2015 we moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Washington, DC. I always considered myself a city-girl, even though I had never lived in a big city. Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion. Our DC move was my chance to finally live the urban life I always dreamed of.
But moving to a new city for your own dreams comes at a cost. I left my family, lots of good friends, and all of what I knew was familiar behind. I’m not just talking about the big things like the apartment, the people, and the street names. There are the small things that you didn’t notice you would miss, like your favorite nook in the grocery store, knowing about all the best happy hours, people’s familiar accents, and knowing which lights stay green the longest.
So I was suddenly thrown into a bustling new city with public transportation, a list of restaurants and new cuisines I’d never tried, and the hottest new (fill in the blank…beauty treatments, foods, fashions, art exhibits) at my fingertips. I was constantly surrounded by bazillions of people, but I found myself with no idea on how to kindle friendships, let alone find my way across town.
Enter October 2017 when we moved back to the good ol’ midwest, to yet another big bustling city. Except this time, I had even less friends to latch onto. So as someone who has been through the lonely times, here is my best advice on moving to a new city with grace and positivity.
1. Enjoy some alone time to get to know yourself again
We often grow and change but never take the time to fully appreciate our new selves. And a move is probably one of the best opportunities to reinvent yourself and/or make some changes. Taking time to reevaluate and set some goals for yourself is such a valuable exercise. For instance: “in my new space I want to be neater, I want to be a morning person, I freaking hate that old teapot so I’m getting a new one that I love.” And take action. I personally always crave a time when I don’t have to be running around doing things. A bit of time in your own head will remind you how to be comfortable in your own skin and give you a heightened purpose.
2. Think quality, not quantity
This one is in relation to both amount of friends AND in the amount of things you do. Don’t book yourself silly seeing a different museum, store, restaurant every day of the week. I speak from experience, in that when you go nuts trying to cram everything in, you almost feel like you’re on a trip and not really enjoying the fact that you live here now.
And let’s be real – this isn’t college anymore where you needed a sorority full of girlfriends. Find a couple of really good ones and hold on to them. Like I recalled in this post about what a wise pastor said, cherish your relationships.
3.Work with the connections you have
When I moved to Chicago, my friend Catherine said “you need to meet this girl I know in Chicago; she’s awesome and you guys would really get along.” I was a little wierded out by a blind date friendship, but I had trust in Catherine’s judgement. And guess what…she was totally right. She and I bonded immediately and we text almost every day. Chances are that if your friend likes you, and your friend also likes someone else, that you will like that someone else too. See what I did with the transitive property right there 😉
4. Solo Exploration
There is something exhilarating about emerging from the subway/metro/whatever they call it and not knowing exactly where you are. You whip out your google maps and start walking in what you think is the right direction, but you end up being that doofus who is walking back and forth while the people in the Walgreens you passed three times are starting to feel troubled. It is okay to get lost as you’re learning your new city. I promise that you will look back and wonder how you ever thought the new streets were confusing.
I’m not sure how you perceive me through the blog veil, but I’m not always a social creature. I love my alone time, and wandering around a city by myself is when I love to gather inspiration. I like to explore by taking a different way to work to see what shops are on what corners, using a different bus line, and sometimes I get legitimately lost.
So once I got on the 124 bus going in the wrong direction, but I didn’t realize how far away I was until I looked up from my phone. I was in the total ghetto south side of Chicago, and the bus driver kicked me off at the end of the line when it was dark and scary. Immediately, I ran across the street to a children’s hospital and called an Uber. I felt super stupid, but since then I make sure to get my directions right and my head up, haha!
5. Say Yes
To your parents and friends coming to visit, to the event you know nothing about, and to the networking thing you’re not even that interested in. You might meet your new best friend, or at the least, you’re exploring a new place that you haven’t been before. I know this is a little counter to point 1, but they both need to happen at some point. You’ll never feel like a local if you sit at home and lament that you’re not getting invited to anything.
I’ve gotten so lucky to live in some great cities in my life, and know first hand that moving to a new city is a positive experience! If you’re still worried or have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on my recent Instagram post!
Currently Sipping: H2O