The other day I realized I have been in Chicago now for over a year! PartyDog and I moved here on July 15, 2011 which means we have been here a year and a few months. Basically that means I’m an expert on all things Chicago. Anyway, as I was thinking back on the move and the year we’ve been here I was surprised to realize that moving halfway across the country wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. When we first decided to take the plunge and move to Chicago I thought I was making the worst decision of my life and would be back in D.C. before I knew it. So here is what I learned from the big ole move.
1. Start saving money the second you know you are going to move.
I’m not even joking, the second PartyDog and I even toyed with the idea of moving to Chicago we began putting money aside from each paycheck specifically for the move. Moving is much more expensive then you ever budget for so always budget for more than you think. Moving truck, supplies, furniture, gas and all the other miscellaneous things that go along with moving add up. Especially when you’re making a big move you don’t realize all the costs that are about to come your way.
2. Plan ahead of time what apartments you want to look at.
Thankfully we had some friends that let us crash in their place when we came to look at apartments. We had 2.5 days to see as many places as we possibly could. We knew nothing about the neighborhoods so we figured downtown was at least safe so we chose to only look at apartments downtown. I made a spreadsheet of different places and set up appointments to see each place on the days we would be in town. Had we of just went on a whim to look at apartments we walked by, it would have been a mess and I probably would have strangled PartyDog or he would have stapled my mouth shut during the trip.
3. Rely on your parents.
Oh yes, my parents were a very magical part in my move. JT drove the moving truck all 12 hours from Maryland to Chicago and he didn’t complain once and my mother had everything out of the boxes and put away within two hours of moving in. I may be an adult but that doesn’t mean I don’t want me parents to do 99% of everything for me…
4. Spend all day every day job searching.
I think some people don’t get that job searching is a job within itself. PartyDog thankfully works from home so he at least had a job when we moved. I on the other hand was unemployed for the first time in years. I woke up everyday, got dressed and job searched from 7AM-8PM. I customized cover letters, my resume and made myself familiar with every single job I applied to before I hit submit on my application. My time and effort paid off-I was offered two jobs on the same day within three weeks of moving here.
5. You’re going to get homesick-get over it.
This is something I still deal with. I’m very close to my family and living so far at times can be really tough. There are times when I’m a nightmare to be around because I miss my family so much. But I always try to remember that I’m young, I love adventures and my family is so happy for me that I made this move. For me the homesickness hit after we had been here a while. When we first moved it was like a honeymoon period-I couldn’t get enough of Chicago and was mad we didn’t move here sooner. After I got into a routine with my job, the gym and cooking I started to miss my family with every ounce of me. The only thing you can do is just deal with it…
6. Making friends is really hard.
Seriously, when you’re an adult making friends is SO HARD. Especially if you’re not able to make them at work it’s impossible. For me that’s where blogging came in. I started this blog, connected with other local bloggers and now have some really awesome friends here in the city I love. Starting a friendship is honestly just like dating-you have to get to know each other, see if you click and make an effort to go on ‘dates.’ If you make the effort though, friends are easier to come by then you think.
Phew, I’m tired after reading all that. I think PartyDog and I have done pretty well this first year of moving here. I’m excited to see what adventures lay ahead! Basically the thing I learned from moving halfway across the country was: It’s easier than you think. Yeah there’s a lot of planning, time and money spent and a lot of headaches you’re sure to get along the way but it’s way easier than you think it’s going to be. After we moved in and I got a job and we were settled I said these exact words to Max: that’s it? Because it is, you move, create a new exciting life, learn to be happy in a new place!