It was January 2008. J had been laid off from the media department at our church. We knew there was nothing for J in his field in Oklahoma (not just Tulsa, but all of Oklahoma). The biggest possibilities were Atlanta, Chicago, and Pensacola.
Almost 2 months later, when we were flown to Chicago for our interview weekend, J and I fell in love with Chicago. And with each other again. We officially began a new chapter of our lives on Friday, April 18th, 2008 when we moved all of our belongings to Chicago.
For as long as I could remember, J and I had talked about moving to New York or L.A. one day. We wanted to live downtown in a big city. We had even looked into living in downtown Tulsa.
I'm a Toronto girl. My first memories are based in Toronto. We moved to the burbs when I was a kid. When I was old enough, I ran to Toronto. I loved living in the big city. Each time I've tried living in suburbia or small towns, it felt like parts of me shriveled up and died. The first time J took me to the woods where he grew up, I was miserable. My hair kept getting caught on tree branches and the bugs ate me alive. I realized then that I truly 'I AM a city girl'.
J has always been a big lights, big city person. We both wanted to live in lofts with brick walls for as long as we could remember. People were always shocked J was from a small town. They always saw him as a big city boy.
J's career has taken off since the move. Chicago has afforded him so many opportunities to share his work on a national and international scale. He has been published in magazines and has spoken at conferences. It's a great side effect of a big city.
We love how our children have developed a broader worldview as a result of living in Chicago. They get to go to world class museums and see original art and sculptures. They have made friends with children of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. The schools they attend are amazing and simply not available everywhere.
Moving to Chicago was like going home for me. Many of the products I had gone without in Tulsa were in Chicago. In abundance! I was only an 8-hr drive away from my family for the first time in almost 10 years. We had a huge selection in radio stations again. And a Great Lake. I had lived next to Lake Ontario for almost 30 years. World class museums and attractions. People with foreign accents and ethnic pockets throughout the city. Not only could I visit Chinatown and Greek town, but there is an actual restaurant that serves Trinidadian food. Like I said. Home.
Two years later, Chicago is still one of the very best decisions we ever made for our family.