300th post + my 1st post from Chicago

This city is made up of neighborhoods like The Loop where all of the L trains meet downtown, like Lakeview that is made up of greystones and gets the breeze off the lake, and Wicker Park where there's never a shortage of great restaurants, bars, and shops. I'm excited to see these trees in fall! 
Mordechai agrees, moving is exhausting.
Our first night in Chicago, we ordered pizza from Piece and opened up a bottle of Bordeaux that I brought back from Paris a few months ago. Also, we drank them in our longitude and latitude wine glasses, feeling very sentimental. 
Brunch is big here. Every Saturday and Sunday, brunch is happening. I'm personally taking the french toast tour of Chicago. I've had french toast at Lula's Cafe in Logan Square, Bite Cafe in Ukrainian Village, and Barley and Brass in Wicker Park. Each one has been delicious because, hello egg-y bread, but I think Bite Cafe is taking the lead!

I have to say, it's a little fitting that my 300th post is one of importance because it's my first official blog post from Chicago. I started writing my Orlando Favorites blog post while I was in Orlando those last few weeks, thinking about the places that I was going to miss. So here, in my little office in our new apartment, I'm writing my first post from what will be my home for a long time to come. I think I've found my roots, but it's still too early to tell. 

After moving 1,000 miles away and working out all of the logistics that come with it, I feel like I can do anything. Although it was stressful and emotional, it was so worth it once we got here. The most stressful times were the few days right before moving day. There were boxes surrounding us, everyone wanted to get together and I wanted to see everyone, and I felt like there wasn't enough time in the day to accomplish everything I needed to. The two-day drive was less stressful. I would listen to podcasts in the car the whole way, with Mort asleep in the backseat. We would stop at gas stations and grab some fast food, which is a rare treat for us. It was a little calm after the storm.

So, how is Chicago? I'm two weeks in and I'm in awe of what an incredible city this is. I love all of the restaurants and the bars that we've been to with friends. I love all of the community events taking place every week and every day. I love taking the elevated train and seeing the city, admiring the skyscrapers downtown, and walking the tree-lined streets of the neighborhoods. I drive to work and although everyone said the traffic here is horrible, it really isn't so bad. What's horrible is that on my drive home I take a road called Congress Parkway that weaves under buildings and at one point along my route, there's this old flickering traffic report sign that tallies the number of traffic deaths in Chicago, year to date. Every day I see this old sign and what I began to call "the death toll" increasing digit by digit. It's very eerie and dystopian. Apart from that, driving in the city is not all that bad. Our first experience with the shoddy Chicago interstates was with our 24-foot moving truck. After navigating that through the city, we can handle Chicago traffic. Oh and it only took me 4 days of driving to work to not get off on the wrong exit, and it only took 3 days to not get lost on my way to the HR office. Yay, small victories! 

When we arrived, our landlord was putting the finishing touches on the paint that we requested. And, they left us two bottles of wine from a nearby winery. The wines were so good (especially compared to "local" Florida wine) that I let my landlord know how nice it was. Week two, a floral vendor that I was introduced to sent me an arrangement welcoming me to Chicago. That same day, I came home to find two more bottles of wine on my stairs from my landlord. Seriously, people were not kidding about mid-westerners being nice. 

The first week, we unpacked the necessities (cough, the kitchen), and hung up a few of our favorite pieces of art, like the Pollock-inspired painting my dad and I made together. By this second week, most of our boxes are unpacked and what's left is mostly stored items like extra pillows, endless books, office stuff. Now, most of our paintings, shelves, and insects are on the walls. Once those things started going up, it started feeling very much like home. I'm finding that it's not where the roots are planted that make it home, it's the roots themselves. Our couch is the familiar softness, our radios have their familiar hum, and our paintings have their familiar glares. It's all comfort and it's all subjective. S and Mordechai are the real pieces that make a place feel like home. The first day Mort would follow us around, hoping that we wouldn't forget to take him with us when we went back "home." And within a day or two, he was back to being himself, cuddling on a couch or sneaking himself under our covers in our bed. It was a physical representation of my own comfort journey. The first day I woke up here, it took a moment to sink in where I was. The next few days, just like Mort, I figured out our routine and felt right at home. 

Lastly, Samantha won the Firmoo glasses giveaway! I wish you could all win, and I hope to have another giveaway for all of you soon. 


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  1. Chicago meetup? :)

    1. yes please! email me at tenderrootsblog(@)gmail.com - i would love to be friends in real life! coffee? boba tea? coffee flavored boba tea?

  2. I love the painting (saw it in the back post) would love something like that in my home. We had a rescued greyhound for years, she was a wonderful pet. Your brindle is lovely!

    1. thanks marie! the painting was easy to make - the hardest part was stretching the canvas on the wooden frame (which my dad did).

      i love all greyhounds! i wish i could adopt them all!


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