Saturday, May 20, 2017

Not 13, but almost 1

This morning, I got a reminder message on my phone: Today would have been my New York anniversary.  On this day thirteen years ago, I moved to NYC and started a new life there. Seems like just yesterday I made that move that forever changed my life. I was actually supposed to be there today running the Brooklyn Half Marathon (and getting my revenge for last year's race), but instead my hamstring and knee still aren't healed so I never booked the flight. Turns out though, I probably wouldn't have been able to race anyway because of my Shingles. I tried putting on a sports bra last night (in hopes of trying to workout this morning in some capacity) and nope, it hurt way too much on my rash. Plus, I still don't have much energy and don't know if 13.1 would have been possible to run today. 

But anyway, so yeah, today would have been my 13th year living in New York City. It was kind of bittersweet when I got that reminder on my phone. On one hand, I love living in Chicago and always knew I'd end up back here, but on the other hand, I do miss New York City every single day. That was my home for 12.5 years and will always be a huge part of who I am and will always be a second home to me.  Although I've been back here for nine months, it really doesn't seem like it's been that long. It flew by. (The mild winter helped too.) I love being so close to my family (and now getting to see my baby nephew all the time); however, I'm still trying to establish an adult life here. It was awesome not really working and taking some time for myself my first couple of months, but making friends has been super hard for me. When you're this old and this single, it's not that easy. Most people my age already have their groups of friends and/or are married and have kids. And as awesome as not having a real job was, it made it hard to meet new people. Now that I have a job (at least until June), it still hasn't been easy. Although that's made my transition a bit harder than expected, everything else has been pretty awesome.

Chicago has always been known as the second city, or the little brother/sister to New York City, but it has its own magic too; a lot of which I had forgotten about since I never lived here as an adult. There are a lot of things that I missed out on as an adult not living in Chicago that I have now had a chance to experience. And there are a lot of things here that I missed tremendously when I was living in NYC. Of course there's a ton I did in NYC instead that I miss now so much now that I live here. (I made comparisons between the two cities a few years ago so don't worry, that's not what I am going to do in this post.) Can't I just have homes in both places and fly back and forth whenever I want? There's obviously some pros and cons of living here versus there and obviously some things I love having here that I could never get in NYC, so why not talk about them here, right? Thirteen of them, because duh, this would have been my thirteenth anniversary.

What I love here in Chicago: 
1) The beach is so damn close to me. (I go down to the water almost once a day.)
2) The close proximity to my family.
3) There is almost no line ever at Trader Joes (to get in the store (yeah, that happens in NYC) or to pay).
4) Having a roof deck and just being able to relax up there if I want to be outside and not go anywhere to do so.
5) Pretty much everything (rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, SoulCycle, etc...) is cheaper
6) Big. Grocery. Stores (Jewel and Mariano's are the
7) Being able to attend Illini (and NU) games.
8) My TV shows are all on an hour earlier thanks to CST.
9) I can go to the zoo anytime I want.
10) Garlic Aioli is standard with french fries. (So is Merkt's cheddar.)
11) The Bean (And Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain).
12) Lou Malnati's pizza (and garlic dressing) whenever I want it (Wait, why have I gained so much wait since being back?)
13) The lakefront running path with all the different skyline views depending which direction you go.

What I miss from NYC:
1) Central Park (running there, laying out there, going for walks there, etc...)
2) The West Side Highway running path (and seeing the Statue of Liberty and Freedom Tower along the way and let's not forget the Little Red Lighthouse too).
3) Having friends.
4) The compactness of the city (it really is so small) and being able to get anywhere in the city pretty quick.
5) Seeing cool street art almost everywhere.
6) Beyoglu, Boqueria, Ess-a-Bagel, Levain, Milkbar
7) Bodegas (the convenience of them being everywhere and just being able to pop in real quick and the delicious sandwiches on a hungry (and/or hungover) morning (BEC and chopped cheese)
8) Being able to get anything delivered at any time (and free delivery for take-out).
9) Juice Press #WillRunForJuice #JPRunClub Sundays.
10) Being so close to Washington DC and Boston for quick trips.
11) Paying no tax on clothes.
12) The overall energy and hustle and bustle of the city.
13) The holiday decorations and festivities all throughout the city.

All though the cities do have their own unique style, I still get a taste of NYC when I'm out and about here. Whenever I see some crazies on the train, I feel a sense of being back in NYC that gives me comfort (even when I am legit terrified). Whenever I pass the Halal guys, Dylan's Candy Bar, SweetGreen, Shake Shack, Forty Carrots, Little Beet, Magnolia Bakery, Eataly or Luke's Lobster, I get a sense of it too. And in my neighborhood when I see a woman with way too much plastic surgery, I get a feeling of being on the Upper East Side.

Chicago is where I have made my new life and (unless something absolutely incredible comes up) is where I plan to be from here on out. Even though I've been here a while now, I am still very much trying to find my niche. Not being able to run hasn't helped my cause because there's more opportunities to meet people while active, but I do enjoy eating at new places and exploring parts of the city I haven't been to (albeit I do it all alone). I will always make my trips to NYC multiple times a year as long as time and money permit because I love it. Come August 9, it will officially be one year back in Chicago and I will start a new anniversary. This is one I am excited to celebrate and am super pumped to experience my first full #summertimechi. I can't wait to take in some Cubs games, boat rides, beach days, movies in the park, street festivals, and so much more. OMG, even typing all of it makes me happy. So even though all my NYC memories and experiences will never go away, I have new ones to make here, and for that, I feel really grateful. 

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