Hello again! Yes I’m actually back and trying extra hard to maintain this blogging habit. I truly missed this little old internet space of mine. So let’s just jump right into it, shall we? Chicago. Yes hello I live here now. My studio is perfection and I cannot imagine having to move out of this dream apartment anytime soon. I mean…check out this view:
Yup, it’s magical and makes me happy daily. The studio is huge too, at least twice as big as my Manhattan one. Here’s a photo of the living space:
The hallway (not pictured) extends quite far back, the kitchen is fully updated, the bathroom is great, and there is so much closet space. My building even has a gym (yessssssss) and a pool. And to top it all off, the rent is significantly cheaper than what it was in NYC, even here in the Gold Coast (for those who don’t know, it’s a neighborhood in Chicago). What is this magical midwestern city with cheap rent and fancy yet affordable buildings in upscale neighborhoods?!?
I’ve been on the go since moving back in early December. Suddenly there is so much to do and so many people to see and I love every moment of it. I attended some holiday event a few days after moving in and savored the fact that I now live downtown and my travel time to meet up with my ladies is a few short minutes.
I magically saw the holiday train the same week I moved back:
And it was just as cool as expected.
The best part is that I no longer have to feel major FOMO when I see my friends all getting together because I can now join in on all the fun!
One of my friends threw a Christmas/holiday party and it was basically a reunion of our India crew, plus the parents.
Ah I can’t believe my trip to India was a year ago, how is that possible?! It’s still one of the best trips I’ve ever taken and I hope to make it back there at some point in the near future.
Anyway, let’s see what else… I got to reunite with two of my old college roommates! Here’s a classic polaroid of me, my sophomore/junior year roomie, and her friend:
New Year’s Eve was surprisingly fun, despite my hatred for it. We bought tickets to a bar in Lakeview that hosted a wig party. Apparently they later cancelled the wig theme of the event, but we all chose to embrace it.
Now I’m dying to dye my hair red (pun totally intended) because I felt like a bombshell that night.
My closest high school friends and I did our annual Secret Santa gift exchange a few days into the new year.
Our menu featured a homemade Italian potluck followed by adventures out and about in the city.
Another highlight has been my official return to running! I took exactly 2 months off after the NYC Marathon, mainly from fear and subtle/lingering foot pain that never really went away, but I knew I couldn’t stay away forever.
This was my first run back at the start of this month, and it felt surprisingly great! I thought I would be completely out of shape and unable to run even 1 mile, but my fitness has been excellent. I’m slowly (key word SLOWLY) building up my mileage and running around 2 miles, 3 times per week. I’ve finally added strength training into my routine, as well as basic exercises for runners to keep my hips/knees/ankles healthy (squats with weights, one-legged squats, clamshells, plank, etc.). I’m not sure if it’s the added strength training or just my excitement to be back pounding the pavement (or treadmill, whatever), but I’ve been knocking out paces in the high 8’s low 9’s without too much trouble.
My first outdoor run took place in 55-degree weather (in Chicago, in January, yup), and I ran 2 miles with a 8:37 min/mile pace. This view probably helped:
This past Sunday I ran 3 miles, my longest distance yet, with a 8:24 min/mile pace and it was awesome. I’m really hoping to finally focus on my speed this year, and this feels quite encouraging.
Ok I got a bit off topic because I love running so much. Before I end this random extra-long blog post I wanted to show you these pretty photos from two weeks ago. A few of my old coworkers from Spain and Argentina were in town and I reunited with one of them, who just so happens to also be a close friend. We spent an entire day playing tourist and eventually made our way to the Millennium Park ice rink:
We also went up to Cindy’s Rooftop for (pricey) drinks and incredible views:
You must go there if you’re in Chicago!
These are just some of the wonderful adventures I’ve had since moving back to Chicago. Even the most casual happenings have made me exceptionally happy lately – cozy visits home to see my parents and cat, weekly Monday night Bachelor viewings, last-minute happy hours and dinners with friends, impromptu movie nights turned Cards Against Humanity marathons – the list goes on and on. Damn, it feels good to be back.