Chicago at One Month

We moved to the Windy City four weeks ago.

It feels much longer somehow.

Moving in was the traditional small-scale saga, starting with a farce of a landlord having no key for our bolt and ending in a beautifully crafted climax: a gaggle of family perched, in pairs, up each section of our fire escape dead-lifting the new mattress for floor to floor. Only after its arrival was it found too wide to fit up the narrow ancient stairwell, and lo, the strength of our numbers accomplished madness.

It was a sight to behold, and just the right mix of generosity, city dirt, mad-cap adventures and pokey corners to perfectly set the stage for our foray back into city life.


We live in a boxy little apartment at the top of a small old building. There are closets bigger than some rooms and a few windows that don’t quite close, but overall it’s turned into a little haven of granny-ish domesticity.

There is plenty of light bouncing around our spectacular high ceilings, and a vast array of porches and fire escapes in the back which play out a modern-day (and wholly less violent) Rear Window for my tea breaks.

Right now I’m sitting in my box-room-cum-office while the handyman installs a smoke alarm (somehow its absence was overlooked by the management at inspection…). Later I’ll probably start removing the window screens. The snap of autumn has arrived halting the invasion of summer bugs (which, by the way, are HUGE here; cicadas as big a D battery), and I’d rather have every ounce of light I can get come winter.


When we walk out our front door it’s a leafy, quiet street with the faint rumble of trains reminding us at regular intervals of the big city a few miles south. Turn left and you can see the edge of the great Lake Michigan fifteen houses down (mostly houses; with just a few apartments), calming the busy intersection with a soothing horizon of Perspective.

At the end of the street there is a park, playground and stretch of beach all but abandoned now the kids are back at school and it’s too cold for weekend kayakers. I intend to picnic lunch until it’s too bitter to even contemplate even in hat and gloves. The delicious sanctity of outdoor quietude is too precious to give up for a trifling wind.

At the weekends we wander and explore between errands and DIYs. Poking about the northern suburbs and their hideaway high streets is a particular pleasure.

Being back on an academic schedule meted out in 15-week sections makes time fleet of foot. Already the holidays feel fast approaching, and  I know these two years will blink by in quick-turning deadlines and midterm breaks.

I want to savor it. Every sticky door jamb, every quirky neighbor. Every stolen moment in farm country and every clattering subway ride. It feels alive in this shortening of days.

We’ve only just settled in and it still feels luxurious to have our own door and our own rug and our own wooden spoon. On the other side of these years we will be reborn; soon enough we’ll be headed another new place with another pile of boxes and strange new adventures.

These two years may go by in a flash but I’m stocking piling Life in my pockets and folds for the journey.


2 Responses to “Chicago at One Month”
  1. Beautifully written!


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