The Basics

WE HAVE ARRIVED!

We left Texas at 8:30am Monday morning. We arrived in Missouri at 8:30pm that evening. I drove all 12 hours. The next day we drove the 5.5 hours left to Chicago. I drove all that way, too. I can now safely say that I am glad to be taking a break from driving for the next year or so. Also, in Missouri, when we stopped for gas, I braced myself for the humid, awful, overbearing heat when I stepped out of the truck. BUT NO. IT WAS A MIRACLE. 79 degrees and quite lovely. Who knew? (I mean, I KNEW, but I had never really experienced it. I can DEFINITELY handle these summers)

The truck that I mastered. My second calling, possibly?
The truck that I mastered. My second calling, possibly?

My apartment looks great. It took a while to put together all the IKEA furniture (the complaints against could fill an entirely separate post), but it is now “home.” I have a white-with-lots-of-color theme going, with a touch of elephant here and there. Here are pictures to satisfy your curious minds. (you can click them to make them bigger)

The new, unfurnished place. Otherwise known as BEFORE
The new, unfurnished place. Otherwise known as BEFORE (yup, that’s ALL of it)
From the truck to the apartment. Cue the groans.
From the truck to the apartment. Cue the groans.
The AFTER
The AFTER. (“after” 2 days of work and many swear words and a handful of laying spread eagle on the floor thinking it was impossible)
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(the microwave still needs to be mounted under the cabinets)

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And the pano from a corner. Deceptively larger looking room.
And the pano from a corner. Deceptively larger looking room.

I’m actually really excited and pleased with how everything turned out. Every other place I’ve lived has felt temporary, or half-done. And I’ve never lived on my own before. I feel comfortable, safe, happy. I mean:

view from my bed.
view from my bed.

And I’ve already met a neighbor! She’s really nice (from the 30 seconds we talked in the hallway), and we’re probably going to get sushi soon. Because Spiro moved here with me, I hadn’t really worried about not meeting people. But even if I had worried, I’ve already set up a couple of tentative coffee/drink dates with people from my program and apartment complex. It was going to work out whether I worried or not, right? So I just saved myself a lot of stress by being positive and assuming it would work out.

Still nervous about my writing, though. I haven’t been writing much this summer (read: at all) except for an occasional journal entry. I’m worried I got too rusty. Or I’m worried I won’t find something to write about (although that’s a pretty constant worry, no matter where I am or how frequently I write). I’m hoping to find some really good writing spots around the city. Inspirational, you know. Get the creative juices flowing. [Other clichés about writing]

Before my mom and sister left this morning, we went out last night to explore Lake Shore Dr. (abbreviated LSD for future reference). The sun was making the sky a grand ole scene. I’m sure this is a common thing, but we were pretty enamored by it. And I felt stupidly lucky that I get to live here.

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And then here is a bonus picture of my mother and sister being strange and funny and themselves.

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I’m going to spend the next day or so feeling out the city, following up on job applications, and taking note of where the necessities are: hair dresser, nail salon, dry cleaners, doctor’s offices, etc. I’m looking forward for my graduate mixer at the end of the month, and for classes to start next month. For now, I’m going to make some lunch in my new kitchen and enjoy the view.

BONUS RANT: Why is IKEA furniture so difficult to assemble? Honestly, not a single word in the entire packet of instructions. And I get it. It would be expensive and difficult and print 20+ languages, sure. But not even letters? A sticker on this board, to show that THAT is the board with 4 holes, NOT this other board that looks exactly the same? I just unpacked my toaster and all I had to do was pull it out of the box, plug it in, and in 3 minutes I had a hot bagel that I could burn my fingers on. Yes, a toaster is not as complex as a desk, but still. Ok, I’m done.

Genesis

In 8 hours, I leave for the biggest adventure of my life. I know, it sounds really cheesy and unoriginal, but truly? It is.

I’ve lived in Texas my entire life. Almost 23 years. But tomorrow I’m leaving and driving 1,065 miles to the (great?) state of Illinois. Chicago, specifically. If you know anything about Texans, then you already know that we have state pride to rival the entire nation of America. So why, you ask, am I leaving? I’ll tell you.

I was accepted to the graduate school at Columbia College to study Creative Fiction Writing for 2.5 years, on a full scholarship. If you’re not the type of person to put your personal, vulnerable work out into the world for it to be judged and evaluated on a “good enough” basis (first of all, you’re probably smarter than us that do, but secondly), let me tell you that when you are accepted, the feeling is euphoric.

But you know what else comes after the euphoria? Fear.

Fear of failing. Fear of leaving. Fear of the unknown.

I am under the assumption that everyone I talk to is right, that I will have a fantastic time. That I will love it in Chicago. That I will do great things. But we’re our own worst critics, right? And creating invites the worst of the worst of ourselves. I don’t like to be negative on principle, but in my head? It’s a whole lot of growling and grumbling and doubt.

I started this blog because my friends and family wanted to keep up with my new and exciting* life in the Windy City. But I also started this because I want to chronicle these next few years. Hopefully I can document how I overcame my fear and eventually became the wonderful, talented writer that everyone seems to believe I am.

So tomorrow, it begins. Goodbye Texas, goodbye home, goodbye familiarity. Hello fear.

But you know what? Fear is a little euphoric, too.

*don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree. This is my origin story, and origin stories are always fun.