8.01.2012

Two Years in Chicago

On August 1, 2010, a confused and somewhat terrified 27 year old girl boarded a plane at LAX and landed at MDW. She had no idea what she was in for. She walked away from an eight year relationship and could not begin to anticipate how much her life would change. She was a creature of habit with a terrible fear of flying. A girl who played it safe by going to college 1.5 hours away from home. She was afraid of change but knew it had to happen. And moving to Chicago was so out of character for her, but she did it.

Gorgeous Chicago skyline

It's been two years. Two incredible, scary, fun, happy, sometimes-lonely-but-wonderful years. There are still days it doesn't feel real. I look out the window and don't know how I ended up here. But I smile every single time I see that gorgeous skyline. This is exactly where I am supposed to be, and I am so grateful for every single moment that I've spent here. I grew in ways I never thought I would.

In many ways I am still that same girl that I used to be. Same values. Same heart. Same awesome personality (ha). Same sense of humor. But I am so much more open than I used to be. Moving to a new city where I knew no one forced me to put myself out there. I have become less neurotic. I have learned a thing or two. I have a good sense of who I am and what I want out of life. And while it hasn't always been easy (it still isn't easy), this move is the greatest thing that I have ever done for myself.

My first blizzard. View from my old apartment that I was too afraid to share because it pinpointed my exact location.

I survived a blizzard, went boating on Lake Michigan, have made some truly wonderful friends, and of course, launched The Everygirl with my business-partner-turned-best-friend Alaina. For the first time in my 20s, I have found and stuck to a workout routine with CrossFit. I cannot imagine where I'd be had I not made this move. Every time I see the skyline or go for a walk by the lake, I am blown away by how beautiful this city is. I live here. People regularly ask why I chose Chicago and I always say the same thing – it seemed like a nice city and my car lease was up. I did not move for a job. There wasn't really a reason that I settled on Chicago other than I knew I needed a change, and it just felt right.

My first Chicago apartment.

Thank you to my friends for making this city feel like home. I may live by myself, but I am definitely not alone. And to this beautiful city that I now call home. Happy two years, Chicago.

Here are a few posts I've written about my move to Chicago:
Journey to Chicago (It's LONG but is one of my favorite posts)
The best thing I ever did
One year in Chicago

And go Bears!


31 comments:

  1. i think chicago looks like a fantastic city to live in.glad you are enjoying it!

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  2. I had the hugest/little bit teary smile on the whole time while reading this. so happy you made the move and that I've gotten to know you :). You being here made MY decision to stay that much easier.

    yippee kiyay!

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  3. OK, I now wanna move to Chicago. Allowed?!

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  4. this is an amazing post -- you are very inspirational! xx

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  5. I can't believe it's been two years! It seems like just yesterday we made the drive up to Chicago and you fell in love with the city. :)

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  6. what a cute little pup! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  7. I am in Chicago right now for work and it is my first time here!! I am LOVING it so far!! =)
    Happy 2 years here!

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  8. I made the scary move to FL and am now moving to London....its exciting but scary and I think it sounds so exciting for you!!!!!! Happy 2 years.

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  9. Chicago's lucky to have you Danielle! I'm so glad that you love it here!, I think it's just the best!

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  10. Chicago's lucky to have you Danielle! I'm so glad that you love it here!, I think it's just the best!

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  11. Happy 2 years!! It sounds like you made the right move at the right time! I recently moved across the country but I had one person (my fiancee) I knew in my new city, so I cannot imagine how hard it was for you to move to a new place all alone. You are so brave! (and it payed off!!) Congrats :)

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  12. This post touched me so much--I'm making a big change like this in May and am still not sure where I'm going to go, but this gives me so much hope that sometimes you just have to BE BRAVE and go for it! Happy 2 years in Chicago, Danielle! So happy that it worked out so beautifully for you :)

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  13. I miss Chicago so much! I did a very similar thing when I was 18. I decided to go to college in Chicago, even though I'd never been there to visit and no one in my family had left the state of Texas. So one day in August (August 26, 2000 to be exact) I packed as much as I could into my three suitcases, boarded a Southwest flight, and headed off to the Windy City. I ended up staying for 7 years and it was the best decision ever. Glad to hear Chicago came through for you, too! :)

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  14. Congratulations! When I grow up, I want to be like that, fearless and ready for anything!

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  15. Reading through your move and following the amazing journey you've taken in following your dreams is so, so inspiring. I'll definitely be rereading all of your Chicago posts when I make my own big move (somewhere, who knows!) next summer!

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  16. Can we just start by talking about how much I feel like I can relate to your post? I just recently graduated college and although I LOVE the city that I'm living in right now, I know that there is absolutely no way I can stay here very much longer. I am a better person and I operate better when I am in a new place and feeling slightly uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable (but inspired) keeps me moving forward and growing. Does that make any sense?

    Anyway, these past few months I have been feeling like Chicago is the next place for me to go. It is such a beautiful, vibrant city and reading your posts makes me want to go there even more! Here's to Chicago, and thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  17. Congrats on your two-year anniversary! That is such a brave thing to do!

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  18. Gorgeous post! I adore Chicago :)

    Your story is truly inspiring! xo

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  19. Awesome post Danielle. Thanks for letting us in on this. You were pretty brave to take that jump and it's so great that you followed your intuition.
    I actually saw an astrologer this year and she let me know about this thing called "Saturn Return". It happens usually around your 27th Birthday. Major changes happen and you find yourself. Hmmm crazy!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_return

    Next year is mine - let's hope for big exciting changes :)
    -Michelle

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  20. You truly are the Everygirl! Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us!

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  21. I love that you let us follow along on your journey. Thank you! It's such an inspiration to see what a bit of courage can do :)

    Go Bears!

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  22. chicago is so lovely! everytime i go back, it's hard to leave again. looks like it has turned into quite a home for you!

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  23. I grew up just outside Chicago my whole life, and this post just made me SO nostalgic to go home.

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  24. Awesome post! You should be extremely proud of yourself, it takes courage to do what you have done and continue to do. God bless!

    xo, Londa
    www.designroundup.blogspot.com

    PS, I go to Chicago every Summer & love it. Maybe next time we can hang out and do some shopping at the Magnificient Mile :-)

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  25. Usually the best things come out of making scary changes. But so hard to do! Congratulations and you have been such an inspiration to us "every girls". Keep on trucking!

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  26. I moved from LA to Boston -- sight unseen -- 24 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Hooray for being brave!

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  27. what a lovely post. i'm glad chicago feels like home to you!!

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  28. i love that tree and your awesome headboard! and buddy is so darling!

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  29. i love that tree and your awesome headboard! and buddy is so darling!

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