Our wedding day was a dream come true, but before I knew it, the DJ was playing our exit song for the reception. Our reception doubled as a celebration for our nuptials and also a good bye party to all my family, friends, and community. After the honeymoon we were immediately flying back to our new home in Chicago. As ‘Sugar,’ by Maroon 5 played in the background, I gave my family and friends one last final good bye. I tried to thug-it-out and fight back the tears but I couldn’t. I cried like a baby. Most people, don’t know this, but I actually continued to silently cry in the car as my husband and I drove to our hotel room for the night. Real romantic right? I was so incredibly happy to be closing the distance between us and starting a new life together, but at the same time I was sad about the life I was leaving behind in LA. Thankfully, after about 10 minutes the tears stopped and we were able to enjoy our first night as a married couple.
By God’s grace, I got married, moved across the country, and found a new job, in six and a half months. As if marriage wasn’t a big enough season of transition, moving to a new city added an extra layer of OMG-everything-is changing-in-my-life-right-now! Seven months later, I can honestly say that I’m still learning my way around the city, and even my neighborhood, but I feel settled in. Here are a few ways our big transition was made smoother.
Keeping in touch with old friends, while making new ones
In case no one has told you, making friends as an adult is hard! In college, it just seemed so incredibly easy and natural. There was always an event to go to or a friend to chill with in the dorms. Not anymore! Adulting and making new friends is not the easiest combo, but it is totally doable. I’ve introduced myself to our neighbors, hung out with co-workers outside of work, and gone on double dates with friends Alex already had before I moved here. Making new friends definitely takes effort. Ask a co-worker out for a cup of coffee after work, invite a neighbor over for breakfast. I did! It may feel awkward to do so, but there aren’t too many other ways to get to know someone better. Keeping in touch with old friends takes intentionality. I text, SnapChat, videochat etc…with my friends back at home. They’ve really encouraged me throughout this whole transition.
Making our apartment a sanctuary
After a long day of work Alex and I both come home to our apartment. I wanted to make sure it was a place we could both look forward to relaxing and retreating in. We pretty much started from scratch in terms of furniture and basic household necessities. Thankfully most of that was given to us as wedding gifts from our guest. Alex didn’t care too much about décor in the apt, but I didn’t want it to feel like we were living in a dorm. So I searched internet for some decorating ideas. Pinterest is my best friend! I love finding creative and budget friendly ways to decorate, organize, and arrange our furniture. A color scheme, a little creativity, and few trips to Target can take you a long way. We have pictures of our friends, family, and favorite memories, all around the house. We also recently added some life to our apartment by getting a low maintenance, green plant. Alex didn’t (and still doesn’t) understand the point of decorative pillows for a bed. But if you have a good mattress and cozy bedding, your sleep at night gets that much better. Feeling at peace in our personal space at home has made me feel more at peace living in a new city.
Getting involved in our church
As much as I adore my husband, I know that I cannot expect him to fulfill my every need. I know that I can’t solely rely on him for friendship and community. We need accountability and encouragement from each other as well as, from others. Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Simply attending church probably won’t be enough to develop raw and authentic friendships with others. It also won’t present many opportunities to serve the community/city. It’s important to find something that interests you and to plug in, whether that be a church or local ministry. Alex is the worship leader at our church and I volunteer in the kitchen/lunch ministry to prepare a meal for the congregation after service. I’ve had some really funny and uplifting conversations over a hot stove, in a small kitchen, with friends from church. It has been life-giving.
Exploring the community
So even though my apartment is oh-so-cozy, I still make sure to get out of it and actually explore the community. Instead of going to major chain restaurants and coffee shops available nationwide, I’ve checked out some local eateries and cafes. There are TONS of charming and delicious places all throughout Chicago. It’s any foodie’s dream come true. I’ve also joined the gym, jogged to local parks/gardens, and traveled around via subway instead of a car (a few times). I feel like I am becoming a part of the community instead of simply a resident.
But no matter how you flip it, spin it, and shake it, at the end of the day, moving to a
new city after marriage can be challenging. There are some days I stare and marvel at the snow, or the fact that seasons actually change. Other days I just want to be back where its 70 degrees and sunny all year round. But no matter what every day I get to continue this adventure with my best friend.
Before you go…
Feel free to comment and share about how you have adjusted (or not) after moving to a new city.
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