There and Back Again: Six Days in ChicagoMay 29, 2015
|This is Tory, the prettiest pup around.|
Last week, my boyfriend and I had the good fortune of spending nearly a week in Chicago. Not only did we watch two lovely friends get married, but we also got to spend multiple days with a few of our best friends from college. My boyfriend has an aunt, uncle and cousins in Evanston (northern suburb of Chicago and home to our alma mater), so we also spent a delightful evening with them, eating, talking and basking in that glorious feeling of home and lots of puppy kisses.
Getting to spend so much time with friends and family really threw into relief how much I've struggled socially since leaving college. My boyfriend and I moved to Connecticut on a whim after I got my lab manager position. We packed up our tiny apartment and headed off, cheerfully and more than a bit nervously, to a place where we didn't know a soul. Two years later, I still feel like I know very few souls here. For the most part, I've made it work—it's amazing how far a wonderful partner, a goofy cat and a penchant for solitude can get you—but sometimes I have to acknowledge how lonely it can be.
|College bestie, boyfriend, me pre-wedding.|
Academic environments are transient. Everyone is always shuffling between universities, and, beyond the graduate students (who are shackled here indefinitely), most people don't hang around for more than a year or two. For someone who forms friendships as slowly as I do, it can be devastating to feel like you're finally making progress with someone only to have that person pick up and move back across the country. Two of the closest friends I've made here are leaving this very weekend for graduate school and greener pastures in California. I'm thrilled for them, but I can't help but think about the gaping hole they'll leave in my social circle. (Actually, my social circle is more like a social pentagon, and they're leaving me with a social triangle.)
I know that things, including my social life, will never be like they were in college again. For the most part, I'm happy about that; I certainly didn't love every minute of my undergraduate career, and, on the whole, I feel much more love for the person I've become since donning my cap and gown. And yet there's nothing like having friendship and community at your fingertips. All I can hope is that there's more of it out there for me, and I'll continue doing my best to call it forth.
Speaking of being in Chicago and making new friends... LOOK AT THIS PRETTY LADY. Her name is Julianne, and she runs Outlandish Lit.
|Don't kill me, Julianne.|
She took me to a bookstore called Bucket o' Blood and made me buy some China Miéville. She fed me Oreos and toast (not in a weird way). We declared our undying love for each other. I also drank way too much wine while she filmed us talking about books. The evidence might pop up sometime soon. All in all, it was a really good time, and I'm glad our weirdness is just as compatible in real life.
I didn't have a ton of time for reading during my trip, but I did get some done (including some nonfiction, thank goodness) and hope to get reviews up soon. The writer's block has been fierce as of late, but at least I've been loving my reads.
How's your week been, bookish reader? Do you have any feelings about friendship or Julianne or puppies that you'd like to share?