In my heart, I knew this day would come, but I can’t believe it’s finally here.
After 10+ years, we’re saying goodbye to Chicago and hello again to Florida. Both my husband and I were born in New York but spent most of our lives living in Florida (I moved there when I was 10) so it’s always been “home base” for us. My parents live there and most of our best friends do too. Right after I graduated college my husband started a job working for a company based in Chicago and a year in, they asked him to move. I begged him not to go. I mean, begged. I couldn’t imagine moving to a city I knew nothing about. I agreed to take a trip with him to check it out and I truly fell in love with every street, restaurant, and corner of the city we explored. After we got back my husband signed a lease on a place and I followed him 6 months later to the Windy City. He started his job in the office, I started a master’s program at the University of Chicago, and we built a beautiful life here. We blinked and 11 years flew by!
Moving to Florida was something I always felt in my gut would eventually happen but there really was a point where I thought Chicago was home forever. I remember laying in our condo in the West Loop staring at our loft ceiling, with the exposed beams that made us put an offer in the day after we saw it, thinking I could live in this place forever. If we decided to just have one child, it would be tight, but we could utilize the nearby parks and A+ daycares around the corner. And with a little remodeling and some savvy storage options, we could easily make it work.
But after we got pregnant, some of our priorities started to shift. I saw some of my best friends in Florida having babies and I was so sad to be far away from them. Having to travel to visit family (our extended family is in NY, my parents are in FL, and my brother is in LA) was starting to weigh on us and I knew it would only get worse. We knew it would be more challenging to just hop on a plane on a whim as we did before, and we wanted more than two bedrooms to accommodate guests to come and stay with us, so we put our condo on the market and moved into our townhouse. It was at that moment I knew our time in Chicago was starting to come to an end.
It could have been the pregnancy hormones (to my defense, I was 9 months pregnant) but I cried like a baby when we sold our condo and moved. I was so attached to our 1,100 sq ft loft in the West Loop. It wasn’t much, but everything about it was everything I ever wanted in a city apartment. A great view from an outdoor space, open concept, the sounds of a busy city to fall asleep to. I knew once we gave that up that we were also subconsciously giving up Chicago. Around this time talks of ever moving back to Florida turned from “maybe one day” to “one day if” and by the time we found out we were pregnant with Heath, they changed to “one day when”.
When we spent that time in Florida earlier this year, it gave us a taste of what our life would be like there. Jude and Heath loved being around my parents and not having to deal with the winter weather was really nice. We talked a lot about different areas and what life would look like and naturally the conversation turned to “let’s make this happen” and we put the plan into motion. Our house lasted all of four days on the market and we sold at full ask (side note: if you need a realtor, Izabela Sloma is FANTASTIC!) and our days have been spent packing, doing last minute things, and making sure we get in all of our favorite Chicago things before we leave.
Our plan is to rent a house that my parents own in South Florida until we figure out where we want to buy. We’re currently looking at the Tampa area or Boca area but want to weigh our options and wait for the housing market to calm down before committing and buying. We will also be around the corner from my parents which will be so nice considering I haven’t lived near them in over a decade. And I can’t wait for them to be able to see the boys more than just over FaceTime!
With COVID cases rising, we know it’s not the best time to move to Florida, but we made the decision before Delta had popped up. We are fortunate to be moving to an area that’s highly vaccinated with a mask mandate in schools – I like to remind people that where we’re going is an area that actually believes in science and isn’t the Florida you see about in memes.
It’s definitely a bittersweet move. I have a future blog post going up with a love letter to Chicago that I can’t get through without crying! While I’m so, so, SO excited to be near my Florida friends again, I am leaving behind so many amazing friends I made here that I am going to miss. I joke with my husband that I came to this city kicking and screaming and I’ll be leaving the same way. I tried convincing him not to move and I ended up being the one that had to be convinced to move out! As someone who spent their childhood growing up in Brooklyn, I always wanted that for my kids. The culture, people, experiences… they’re unlike anywhere else. I know that my kids won’t remember their short time here, but we will make it a point to bring them back often so they remember where their roots were planted. And I still stand my ground that you can raise children in a city! If we had family closer, we would probably stay in the city forever. But especially after COVID, we want to be closer to more people that we love (because we absolutely have people we love here) and as someone who grew up close to her Grandparents, I want that for my children. We also started making a bucket list for our family and have travel on the top of that list (once it’s safe) and living in Florida is going to give us the luxury to do more of those things.
So while we only have a short time left, we created a small Chicago summer bucket list I’m sharing to my Instagram of last-minute things we’re doing. Even though I know there will be plenty of Chicago trips in our future, I wanted to make sure we took advantage of this city as much as possible this summer before we head to the sunshine state.
Cheers to our next chapter!