Wednesday, July 8, 2009


So, tomorrow I will lay eyes on my new home for the very first time. The idea that I am moving to a completely new city, living with a new person (hello, awesome Chrissy!), and attending a new school seems to strike some people as crazy. Chief amongst them, me.

To explain, I am in no way the brave one in my family. That title belongs to Claire, who left to do a semester in Ireland and decided to spend the year after she graduated living on an intern's salary in NYC. Or Christopher, who also spent time abroad in Ireland and moved to sunny Southern California for school (the furthest from home any of us went for undergraduate degrees).

I, on the other hand, spent three years in Montana and moved back to Portland to finish up school. I'm a homebody and I'm really, really comfortable in my hometown - it's like a second skin. Like Burnside and the Willamette divide up aspects of my own personal geography as well as this city. I totally accepted the idea that I would live, work, and love in this city. Didn't bug me at all. Anything else seemed a little scary.

Then mom died. And, after a long time of mourning and reflection, I realized that, as much as I love this city, I didn't love my job (well, I did but I didn't. Hard to explain). And that I probably wouldn't change if I just stayed in one place. So I decided to apply to graduate schools on a whim. I finally narrowed it down to Catholic University and Loyola in Chicago.

I visited CUA in February. I was already in DC and figured I'd check it out. I knew right away that, as much I like DC, I couldn't ever live there and the campus seemed pretty close-minded (school newspapers and fliers in student halls are a pretty good barometer of the school, I've found.) So, I figured I'd apply to both, see where I got in, and then figure things out.

When I got into Loyola, I just decided I wouldn't try anything else. I thought I'd spend some of my vacation time checking Chicago out in the spring. But, ummm, I just never got around to it.

So, here I am, a month from moving permanently, and I'm FINALLY going to check out where I'll be spending the lion's share of my next 3 years. The city that will temporarily hold my interest, dreams, and numerous words until I am 32 years old. This is exactly equal parts terrifying and thrilling. Thrillifying, if you will. And usually, when I experience those emotions, I totally panic. Which, I have been doing a fair amount of.

But, the thing I keep forgetting is that I am in no way doing this alone. My fantastic apartment-mate Chrissy is making a really valiant attempt to keep me sane by being super-organized and really compassionate. Alex is rocking the hosting duties. And everyone everywhere is letting me know how proud they are of me, and how much they believe in my success.

Which means, at some point, I need to believe in my success and I need to be proud of myself. Which, honestly, I am coming around to. In the past 2 years, I've accomplished more and lived through more than I ever thought I possibly could. So, I'm pretty sure I can do this.

But, I'm also pretty sure that, setting my sights on this new skyline, I'm gonna be fighting a fair bit of panic. And I'm coming to accept that, too...

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