Monday, September 27, 2010

Goodnight West Loop

Move part one has arrived. Tomorrow the overseas moving company that will ship our little life to Sao Paulo is packing everything up and moving it to Alex's mothers garage. Luckily we are moving in with her for the next... what we hope is a month as we wait on the work visa. Our stuff will wait too and once we finally hop on a plane to move, visas in hand, we must find an apartment and then give the ok for them to go back to the garage and pack all our stuff up into a crate that will then ever so slowly, sail down to find us.  So today we organized what we will actually take, assuming our place will be small. It was emotional to take down pictures and disassemble our chicago life. We ordered pizza from our favorite place, cracked open the balcony door for a great fall breeze and watched NFL all day. That was not my choice, but I've never see a happier man than one that got to watch 4 back to back games so how could I interrupt that? The thrill of the day however came when we managed to fill 14 bags worth of goodwill material! I drove over there THREE TIMES! Each more delightful than the last. Clothes, duplicate pans, books, vases, old random glasses, college koozies, spices, dishes and only one wedding gift (shhhh). Originally we wanted to have a garage sale to make a little cash but I am so glad we canned that idea and just gave it away. I was picturing the people that always sit around the table at our local goodwill and read (yes I seem to walking by often), enjoying my dusty Pillars of the Earth. I used to love showcasing every book I've ever read but both of us have our masters and unlike college you actually want to keep all your books (for obvious reasons but mainly because you finally understand the dollar signs representing each...I know I should have realized this in undergrad but I didn't sorry). 

This slow transition south is proving to be quite rewarding.  I doubt our new brazilian friends will spend much time browsing our bookshelves anyways; theres more important things to do like drink caipirinha's and eat hundreds of Pao de queijo (incredible cheese rolls). I know I'll miss football and homemade pizza company pizza among other things, but Ill be damned if we haven't picked another good place for football and cheesy bread!

Its the last night here at home, the chapter comes to a close. The empty walls are lonely, there are only a few lights left on in the buildings around, the annoying yapper dog is still yapping and my old belongings are awaiting new homes down on Washington street.  Goodnight West Loop, goodnight Larry the security guard who loves nights when we have leftovers, goodnight Jo at the cleaners and all the doggies at the new park, for you will always have a special place in my memory, homes always do. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

There is comfort in ritual

I feel like I'm standing on a ledge. Behind me is my day to day life, full of familiarity and comfort. Ahead is a blank canvas of unknown. It can take form in opportunity or despair. Its my choice. But its like walking in the fog. I don't know what I want to do with my life and everything up to this point seemed so clear. Most people I've spoken with recently in the midst of discussing leaving, have professed jealously in my new abilities. I can sleep in, I can watch Oprah, I can have time for the things we never seem to have time for. And yes, that will be fun for a few weeks. But there is something to be said for consistency (and a paycheck). For most our jobs are what we use to arrange the rest of our lives around. We schedule time with loved ones, vacations and weekend respite around what is always most steady. As we build our careers we wed, breed, build, upgrade, shop and errand. With this job, my first job, I have built a sturdy base. It takes the form of junior, associate, senior and principle. Each is attached to earning power and people power. Is that my path?! In no way do I want to discredit that direction because it is very respectable. I am just trying to figure out if that is where I want to go. So I connect this post to a picture I took in Cuba. Oh how I crave to go back to Cuba. With all its messy government and dilapidated buildings the colors and people of Cuba just need some polish (well that is of course a metaphor for everything, they need better structure, income, need a lot of things). But it is and they are... beautiful even in their current state.

So today I say goodbye to the comfort zone, the consistent next step in the stairway that equals 40+ hours of my week, 200 some of my month and what feels like a hell of a lot of my year. Years behind and ahead. But a shout out to the things I will oh so miss.

-The wonderful secretary that greets me every morning and calls me on her operator line to tell me when there are cookies and candy in the conference room..its really the little things that make a day good to great
-My friends in the Water and Transportation Dept that also keep an eye on the candy levels knowing i usually show up when they are plentiful or when something major in hollywood occurs and there is need for discussion
-My space with my pictures and my plant that is taking over my desk
-Trips to the kitchen that usually incorporate a lot more than more water or lunch
-The old man on my bus route that holds books an inch from his face and today he was reading, "Dont Sweat the Small Stuff." how appropriate
-The work, be it thrilling or tedious... the work has always been an adventure and has really helped me to realize options for the next step
-The view over the lake that on summer days looks like Mexico and in the dead of winter... well looks dead
-The fact that the lights go out after 6pm and the heater gets set to 60 on the weekends during winter. They sadly assume the whole building works 8-5 m-f
-And most of all the coworkers. Mentors and friends, to which I listen and take note. The wonderful people that turn bad days into smiles and keep everything else in check. People derail the lemmings, stop the madness or add to the madness... make the world more interesting. They are the polish and the comfort.

Thank you

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

find what you love and get paid to do it

Thanks to an old friend from Denver and MasterCard I finally understand the thrill of doing what you love as work. Labor Day for me wasn't a relaxing one, but it surely was fun. A group of MasterCard holders from Mexico City and neighboring townships won a "Priceless" weekend in Chicago.  My friend works on the MasterCard account and needed a photographer. At first, I recommended several professionals, but in the end I nervously decided I could give it a try. We ate at classic Chicago establishments like the original Morton's, and toured the architecture of downtown and Hyde Park and Sunday we had batting practice with the cubs. If meeting incredibly sweet people and capturing their joy is a job requirement, sign me up for life! Here's a little taste of the weekend.

Those were just a few of the 814 pictures they went home with. 
Thank you for the opportunity James. 
Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!