After a few whirlwind days of packing, goodbyes and a final gyro at Missini, we are officially back in Chicagoland!
Here’s what our last week looked like:
Bonnie and Rob drove all the way from Iowa to help us pack, build bookshelves, clean and generally maintain our sanity. I have never seen two people work so hard. We accomplished in one day what would have taken Drew and I a week of meandering, podcast-listening days.
And, because we finished early (!) we got to take them out for a tour of Greektown. These first two photos are of us at our favorite tea shop, Tsaa.
Saturday morning the guys took off for the truck (conveniently located clear on the other side of the city) while Bonnie and I packed the last bits and tried to get organized. I wish I had a photo of what our “storage room” looked like before we started loading. Imagine a sea of boxes, about 5 feet high.
So many good friends stopped by to help. My sweet friend Jeannie and her adorable little man biked over bright and early to help with the organizing and cleaning. Here’s Josh and Matt doing some heavy lifting (I probably shouldn’t mention that after everyone left we decided to leave this for the next tenants. Sorry guys.)
And the rest of the gang! Carol, Jill and I worked very hard. (but really!)
stopping for a pizza lunch in the nearly empty living/kitchen/dining room
done! (and depressing)
Seeing our old place totally bare brought me back to our first nights in Toronto. The wave of emotions, feeling totally alone, too broke to even venture out by bus or for a cup of coffee, Drew off to classes and a new community. It was an intense season, these two years. I’m so glad they’re over but so amazed to have emerged on the other side still married (!) and with a greater sense of friendship and joy with my philosophizing man. It has been a beautiful taste of the Kingdom, being supported by so many wonderful friends who have been more than friends in this faraway place. I think of all the meals together followed by long talks in cozy living rooms, the days exploring markets and beaches and quirky shops on queen street and in kensington and everywhere in between. The mamas like Jeannie and Kim and Janette who welcomed my nanny-self and my Chlo-girl over for snatches of conversation in between the crazy of toddlerdom, spurring each other on in the mundane of potty training and picking up endless messes and meltdown tantrums. And even though I’ve struggled to understand the vision for ICS, I’m so thankful that Drew has finally found a community that welcomes his endless questions and curiosity and thoughtful mind with the warmest embrace and a pint of whatever’s on tap/been brewed in a five gallon bucket in your living room. Toronto, I still don’t understand you but I am thankful for the space you carved out for us anyway.
We had to the ditch the couch (hurray!) but it all fit. Barely. Goodbye house! We can’t wait to see what else Mark and Jeanette do with you!
Crossing the bridge at the border. I know we’ll be back before the end of the summer for a visit but this felt so momentous. Our last trip “home”! (although with health cards valid until the end of November, more frequent trips back are rather tempting…)
now, drumroll please…..
here’s a sneak peek into our new home!
looking from the kitchen into the enormous living room
me talking with our wonderful building manager in the dining area
After a nerve-wracking morning where nearly every viewing appointment fell through last minute, we are so thankful to have found this place. It’s exactly what we were hoping for budget-wise, is a 6 minute driving commute (25 minutes by bike!) from Trinity, where drew will be working part-time come September and has closets galore! Our building has recently been bought by a new company who has spent the last half-year remodeling the suites which means new paint, new carpet, new appliances and quite a bit of freedom to join in the beautifying of the building. Because we don’t have a balcony, I asked our manager if I might build a little raised bed in the parking area out back. Her face lit up and she offered me the whole front yard! I feel at home already. 🙂
So, lease signed and Rob and Bonnie Iowa bound, we zipped downtown for a picnic with friends.
I needed something to make this wild new season feel real and took pictures of buildings and the El like a tourist and drew was embarrassed. But you know what? WE LIVE IN CHICAGO(land)! Again!
And so there was wine and cheese and chocolate with these good people. My heart is so full!