We are moving! We are saying goodbye to Chicago! Let me explain…
For those who know the story about how Matt and I met, you might have seen this coming. Matt is from Chicago and he moved to Los Angeles for me at the beginning of our relationship. We spent 4 years in LA together. At the end of it, I was itching for a change. I wanted to do something for him in return and to have a big city experience. LA isn’t quite the same. So, we decided to pick up everything and move to Chicago to be closer to his friends and family.
Truthfully, Chicago was always a temporary plan. Before we moved, we said we’d revisit where we wanted to live after 4 years in Chicago. Over the last year and a half, the feeling that we belonged – I mean really belonged – somewhere else kept pulling us away. On our way back from Egypt, we spent our layover in the Munich airport making a list of things that were important to us. Our list ended up being almost 20 items long. It was a lot to consider! We each ranked every item from most to least important. Both our lists started with the same 3 things. Things we weren’t getting in Chicago. So, we talked through places we thought would give us those 3 things. As strategic as this process sounds when I write it down, a lot of it had to do with our hearts. Specifically, what was in my heart.
A part of me feels like I owe my Chicago girls an explanation. I’m not exactly sure why but I feel like I’ve bonded so much with my Midwest community over the past few years. We just have a thing. I don’t want to leave you girls and I won’t. I’ll still be here and I’ll still be back in Chicago regularly. Let me say that Chicago is such an amazing city and it has been an incredible experience. The people are so down to earth and genuine. There is so much to do and see although that’s most true in the warmer months. But the weather is miserable. I know, I know. Everyone warned me. And I definitely got used to it but there were still things that drove me crazy. Like zipping my hair into my puffer coat zipper every day. Or wind burn on my face during my walk to work. Taking blog photos was a nightmare for the majority of the year. It wasn’t one major thing so much as a bunch of tiny things. Although the -50 degree day last spring and snow in May really did me in… Midwesterners deserve more credit. Seriously! The lifestyle was also an adjustment on so many levels – and one that I never quite got used to. Lastly, most of our friends and family moved to the suburbs so we saw less and less of them. The list goes on but in short, I love Chicago and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s just not home. For me.
I’m not sure if you remember, but in 2018, we went to Raleigh, North Carolina. While it may have seemed like nothing at the time, we went to see if it was a place we could see ourselves living. We’d visited various cities across the Carolinas quite a few times including this trip to Asheville which we both LOVED. I love so many things about the Carolinas: the more mild winters, having both the beach and the mountains a few hours away, friends and family across both states, it’s affordable and a little slower paced. Ultimately, we went back to Chicago feeling like the Carolinas were a wonderful place to live but just not quite yet.
We spent the beginning of 2019 trying to narrow down the list of places we wanted to live. 2019 was a tough one for both of us personally and professionally. Our relationship has always been solid thankfully and got even stronger throughout the year. However, there was a lot of loss – losses of people we love and life opportunities. And then I got cancer. My skin graft didn’t take, the wound didn’t heal, and it got infected. It’s been brutal and I’m devastated I can’t use past tense when I talk about it because I’m still not in the clear. We ended the year feeling beaten and exhausted. I don’t share that for sympathy. I’m exceptionally bad at accepting it so please redirect that energy to do something for you. You deserve it. I share because this is life. I’m going through it with you and I’m here for you. Throughout the roller coaster of 2019, one thing became very clear. Chicago didn’t feel right anymore. It was time to move on…
So, we are. We are going home. To Southern California!! Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I was this happy. So happy I cry when I think about what our lives look like in the next 3 months or the next year. I can’t even believe I’m writing that because I don’t cry. I don’t feel. The last few years changed me. I’m still trying to figure it all out but I know I’m leaving Chicago a better person. I’ve always felt that experiences make us better people They shape us. And I’m ready for the next one. I think I said it when I texted Matt last week. Nothing has ever felt as right as this except for marrying him.
I know that you probably have a lot of questions about this next phase. For starters, where are we going to live? And the answer is I have no clue! We’ll be figuring that out while we lean on our friends and family in Southern California who have so graciously welcomed us home. I’m excited. We are excited. We’ve spent the last few weeks trying to nail down all of our unknowns. Things started to fall into place this week so I’m finally able to share that we are leaving Chicago! Don’t worry, my VOV family will be the first to know what’s next for us… just as soon as we know!
PS. These were some of my favorite Chicago photos from the last year! Which one was your favorite?
So excited for you Jenna, i have been following for awhile now, and I love all of your posts so much!! You have done so well this year after going through the scare of skin cancer along with the rough treatment!! hopefully everything will just get better from here on. My husband and I picked up and moved from colorado to Texas this year for work, and now i get to live 10 minutes away from my sister!!!
Diana Colgrove says
This might be my favorite blog post you’ve written! So real and honest. And of course I’m super happy to have you back in California!!!
Regina McIntire says
I cant wait to see pics from Southern California, I’ve loved following you and seeing your outdoor pics in Chicago. I live vicariously thru you in Mississippi.
Christina Chicago says
Hi Jenna, been your silent follower for a while now. It’s sad you’re moving away from Chicago but on the lighter side it is also good for you. Sometime’s we have to take another road and see what’s in there. Good luck!
Chicago House Buyer says
Some wonderful picture!! Sad that you are leaving but good luck in your continued adventure!
My question is more like are you keeping the same jobs and relocating or starting from scratch??