LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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10 Reasons We Love Life in Chicago

We have been in Chicago for just over a year now and in some ways it seems like we just got here yesterday, but in other ways it feels like this has been our home for a while. The year has been a whirlwind adventure, but I wouldn’t trade this experience we’ve been able to share for the world. Although I now know way too much about Visa’s then I would ever care to know, there is nobody else in this world who I would rather be on this journey with then my amazing husband, John.

 

 

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I’ve tried to make a video about our one year in Chicago, but apparently I am not tech savvy enough to do so. Therefore, out of frustration, I have put together a list of why we love this gosh darn city so much!

Top Reasons We Love Life in Chicago:

1) Unhealthy Food! From popcorn, to deep dish pizza, to italian beef, to hot dogs… it’s paradise! Cue “paradise” song from Bachelor in Paradise…  When we first moved here, I ate like we were on vacation every weekend… turns out, my jeans weren’t stretching with the rest of me… Jerks. 

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2) The Weather! People LOVE to bitch about the weather, and although it is now May 2015 people are still complaining about the winter in 2014. One thing I’ve learnt about winters since living in Chicago… Canadians and Chicagoans measure snow very differently. We didn’t need our “real” winter gear this year at all and it is so wonderful living somewhere where there are actual Springs and Falls!

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3) The Beaches! Who knew a ginormous city could boast so many beautiful beaches off of one lake!? I love the beaches here.

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4) The architecture… also referred to as Chi-tecture. It’s something that photos don’t do justice, looking at all of the incredibly diverse buildings in an experience in itself.

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5) Free parking! Or if you have to pay for parking, it’s extremely cheap compared to what we are used to. Free parking seemed to only exist in Monopoly in Calgary…

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6) Flowers & Art! Throughout the city, there are beautiful flowers planted. And not just pansies… but hydrangeas, etc! Chicago prides itself on having amazing art sculptures, paintings, etc and you can’t help but be impressed by how beautiful the city is!

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7) Diversity: Until living in Chicago, I always lived where the people were predominantly white. I love learning about other cultures, influences, food, etc. If you choose ten random people on the street, there will be a handful of different races in that group. I love it. I was talking to my friend the other day and had mentioned Bridget Jones Diary, and he had no idea what I was talking about! That blew my mind! Things like that make me realize how ignorant I can be to just assume that my normal is somebody else’s normal. 

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8) Restaurants/Pubs/Breweries/Wineries/Cafes … need I go on?

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Cheers!

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9) Baseball games! I will never ever, ever, EVER get sick of watching a Cubs or Sox game. The whole city comes ALIVE and they are so proud of ALL of their sports teams.

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10) SO MUCH TO DO ALL THE TIME!!!! If somebody ever says that they are bored in Chicago, then the city itself is not the problem…. From Second City, to Blues music, to Jazz music, kayaking on the river, paddle boarding on the lake, to visiting the Bean, or going skating in front of the Bean in the winter! There are so many free events that happen all throughout the summer and even the winter. There are tons of museums, including the Art Institute that just won Best Museum In The World award, an incredible planetarium, the Field Museum, etc. There are AMAZING parks, the lake side goes on for miles, and miles, and miles, and it NEVER gets old. There are free fireworks over the lake every single Wednesday and Saturday night throughout the summer. There are parades, which can be really annoying when you live on the same street as the darn parade. And the shopping is absolutely ridiculous too.

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The city is just so alive and people who live here have such pride in living in Chicago. It’s amazing! There is a city of Chicago Flag, and you will see that bad boy almost anywhere you go.. from clothing, to bumper cars, to flailing in the wind, dog collars, etc…

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There is a huge sense of pride in living in such an amazing city, and there should be. We are proud to be part of the city as well.

I could go on and on about how amazing Chicago is and how much we love it, but I’ll never do the city the justice it deserves. It’s a city that needs to be experienced. So, my lovely, put Chicago on your bucket list if you’ve never been here before… the only thing you’ll regret is not coming to Chicago sooner!

Enjoy Life,
L

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Who Knew That So Much Of Your Life Could Change In Only A Matter Of 3 Months?

3 months

92 days

2,208 hours

25% of an entire year

A whole quarter of a year!

That’s how long it’s been since we left Canada and made Chicago our new home

That’s how long it’s been since we saw our one bedroom, one bathroom apartment for the very first time

That’s how long it’s been since all of struggles were really put into overdrive

That’s how long it’s been since our puppy no longer has a backyard to frolic in

That’s how long it’s been since we started this crazy journey of ours

That’s how long it’s been since the best part of our life began!

Who knew that so much of your life could change in only a matter of 3 months? I sure as hell did not! In only a matter of three months, we are living a whole new life and each day that passes, it is starting to feel more normal! We are loving this “city life” and absolutely loving living downtown in a major city.

Living downtown Chicago, you see approximately 180 differential kinds of people. People who you prejudge right away until they smile and say “hi” to you. People who you try to avoid eye contact with until they reach down and start petting your puppy and you can see their eyes light up from a love that only a puppy can provide. People who shake their cup at you and you wonder what they are going to do with any change their muster up… but then you talk to them and you hear their side of the story.

In three months, I have really enjoyed living a city that is so cultured. Living in a city where a Memorial Parade can make you tear up even though you aren’t from this country. You can feel the pride, the courage, the strength and the sadness from those whose shoulders you are rubbing against.  You can walk down a block or two and have hundreds of different cuisine offered to you. You can walk down the street and hear languages that you have never heard of before.

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In three simple months, my eyes have been opened. I love all of the different kinds of people who live here. The other day at a popular clothing store, a white man helping me was wearing a turban, had a piercing through the septum of his nose, was wearing a cop tank top, tight leather pants, as well as high heels. I didn’t think anything of his style choice until I was leaving and thought that if I had ever seen somebody dressed like that in Calgary, I’m sure I would have thought that he was weird or strange. But now, I applaud his confidence and courage to be who he wants to be.

Since living in Chicago, we have started to “play” tennis. We walk like we are walking to China. Hell, we have gone to China Town and to Greek Town! We go to baseball games. We try new cuisine. We are meeting new people who I have an inkling will become lifelong friends. We have gone stand up paddle boarding. We go to the beach. We go for bike rides and jogs along the lakeside. We probably eat too much gelato, but really is there such thing as too much gelato!? We are learning a new language (yeah, they speak English here but differently terminologies, learning healthcare terms, learning different sayings and pronunciations, etc)
We are vacationing in our own city and we love it! We haven’t even done 2% of the greatness that Chicago has to offer and yet we are already having the time of our life!

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I guess it’s true that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. I am so proud of us for doing all of this and for living outside of the box. We are making a lifetime of memories together and creating stories that only each other’s souls are able to hear.

I cannot wait to see what greatness unfolds in the next three months of our journey!!

Stay tuned, my lovely, stay tuned!

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Enjoy Life  (we sure are!)
L


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The Simple Life

One the major differences that we’ve enjoyed since coming to the US, is that life is sure a lot more simple now.

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When we were making the decision on whether or not to actually leave everything behind and move to another country, we did our best to imagine what life would be like. We are both very practical and realistic people and we tried to envision a life where we would only have each other.

A life without our close friends and family.
A life where we may not have somebody to watch our dog if we chose to go away for a weekend.
A life where we knew that John would not be allowed to leave the US.
A life with only one income and one pension.
A life where if we didn’t like it, we would have to put on our big boy pants and suck it up.

We knew that we would be trading in our “forever home” to rent a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. We knew that the days of opening our back door to let Ernie run around in the backyard were over. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment with two bedrooms and that our new guest room would also be the living and dining room. We knew that the brand new 60 inch TV that John just bought wouldn’t make the cut to come cross-continent with us.

With that, we also knew that we would be gaining a lot too. We would get to live right smack downtown, rather in the ‘burbs. John’s commute to work used to be a solid one hour each way (on a good day), and now he literally walks two blocks and he is at work. The longest part of his commute is the elevator ride. And it is amazing! We get so much time back just from cutting down his commute time. We get over ten hours back a week, that’s over 40 hours a month…. Imagine what you would do with an extra 40 hours a month!

Living smack downtown is amazing. I wish you could bottle up the energy and sell it. There is always so much to do! There are so many options and it is impossible to be bored here. You can get anything you could ever possibly want within a short stroll.

Speaking of strolling, we walk everywhere! The only time we ever drive now is to go grocery shopping, and that isn’t even necessary. Every single day, Ernie and I go for a walk along the lake. There are so many places to go, so much to see! Going for a walk is an adventure in itself! If John and I go for a walk in the evening, we never know where we’ll end up. And time doesn’t even seem to exist, minutes and hours can pass by without you even realizing!

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This simple life is great. This weekend, not a single load of laundry was done. The vacuum wasn’t touched. The dust continued to settle and invite it’s other dust friends to join the party. The ironing board stayed stuffed inside the closet. This weekend, we had three whole days together. Three whole days. 72 hours. Do you know how many chores could be accomplished in 72 hours? Well, I don’t because I didn’t do a single one. That’s right, you read me correctly… not a single one.

Instead, would you like to know what we did this weekend? We enjoyed each and every single moment without feeling guilty for a second about it!!! And it was amazing! And the best part was that we didn’t even have to leave the city! On Friday we celebrated July 4th like the best of them. We walked until we dropped, we ate and drank like it was our last meal, we watched the fireworks from the lakeside. On Saturday, a muffin delivery turned into an impromptu afternoon and evening of sore cheeks from laughing, stuffed stomachs from delicious homemade italian pizza, red lips from too much wine and FRIENDS (the real kind, not the TV show). On Sunday, Ernie had his play date with Bert and then the rest of the day we were full blown lazy. It was the best.

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Our pre-fireworks activity

Back home, we tried to have a ‘staycation’ for a week in the summertime. And I sucked at it. I was a terrible staycation partner. I felt like we had a week to do everything that we never had time to do before. Everything that we had previously pushed aside, suddenly had to be accomplished within that week. There was not much ‘cation’ going on in our ‘staycation.’

Since moving to Chicago, we’ve had the opportunity to hit the reset button. I’m the first to admit that I got caught up in the rat race back home. Got caught up with climbing the corporate ladder. Got caught up with buying the fancy family home when we don’t even have children yet. Got caught up in the life tornado.

The reset button has reminded us what is most important in life. What our values are. What really matters to us. It has reminded us how we want to spend the few hours in a day that we have together. The simple life gives us so much back in return, that it’s tough to imagine that we ever once thought we would be making compromises to live this life.

With this simple life, we are both healthier and happier! Both of our health has improved, our stress levels are down and at the end of the day, we are both able to give each other our best selves. We laugh more together, we smile more together and we enjoy life for what it is!

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The simple life has given us a life where we are able to truly enjoy every single day… I’m not sure it gets much better than that, my lovely.

Enjoy Life,
L