why i moved to cleveland
(my sister in law got me this shirt the day we moved here.)
with all the chicago love on this blog i guess people may be wondering why the f i left. so here is the story of how i came to be sitting on a couch in suburban cleveland, blogging about my favorite pizza in chicago.
scott and i met in january of 2012. we hit it off and started seeing each other regularly pretty quickly. by march we were "official" and in may or june we had our first..... ultimatum. I MEAN that is a strong word, but it's almost accurate. scott came home from a weekend home with his family, and said he had something he needed to tell me (many, many things went through my head. this was not one of them). he said he knew that long-term he wanted to be back in cleveland, and he wondered if i would be open to moving there too, if things worked out. he explained that since his dad's company was in the same industry as his job, he knew he wanted to end up there, working with his dad and eventually taking over the company, he said needed to know now that i was willing to go there, because if i knew right then that i would never consider it, then we should probably not keep dating. he said he didn't want to really fall for me and then find out i wasn't on board with his plan. i went back and forth between impressed that he was being so forthcoming and practical about it, and outraged that he expected that promise from me this early in our relationship. i put it off for a few days, but he wouldn't drop it.
i quickly realized i didn't HAVE long-term plans. i had never considered what i would do after chicago. i had never even looked beyond the end of my lease. but this conversation forced me to decide what i wanted to do after chicago. the fact that there had to be an AFTER chicago was the first point i had to come to terms with. sure, i could happily hang out in chicago for several more years, but i guess i always knew i'd have to move on at some point. and then there was my home town of grosse pointe, michigan. while i've always loved going home, i never thought about MOVING home. grosse pointe just doesn't mean the same thing to me as it used to. my friends are gone, i have no family business to return to (except the family business of drinking HEYOO), and i love detroit but i had no real reason to fight for it as a place to live with a family. i quickly ran out of reasons to say no to cleveland.
a few nights later at another chicago favorite, bandera, i told scott what i was thinking. (okay this sounds cheesy now but at the time i felt REALLY smooth) "i decided that yes i will move to cleveland because... i think that... i would move anywhere with you." SWOON. naturally, he was thrilled. we celebrated with the macho salad and skillet cornbread (go there, get it).
after this, i gracefully accepted that as long as scott and i stayed together, eventually we would be moving to cleveland. i started to think of cleveland as home, and planned for the day when we would end up there. HAHA PSYCH no that is not at all what happened. after that conversation, i acted like an insolent child for the next 4 years every time our eventual move to cleveland came up. i dragged my feet, and i held onto chicago for dear life. when we finally had a real actual move date, i felt like i was only facing the reality for the first time. all this time i had known it was coming, but i wasn't ready. i would never be ready! and yet every time we talked about it, the same reasons i agreed to go in the first place always held up: a natural move for scott's career and our family, closer to detroit and my family, chicago with a baby is EXPENSIVE. it all made sense. so why was it so hard?
i've realized in the last few weeks that my connection to chicago is based on a lot of things, and one of those things is that i genuinely identify as a chicagoan. i felt pride in living in the city. i felt real actual delight every time i saw the skyline. i wished i could LIVE on the lake front path. i tried to take advantage of every single chicago-y thing, even the CTA. so yeah, i loved chicago and i wanted to shout it from all the really cool and new roof-top bars. but, now that we're in cleveland i have a plan for coming around to this city. sure, right now it feels more like scott's than mine. i don't know it and love it and wear my residence here with a sense of pride... yet. i have a fresh perspective on a new place, and there is so much exploring to do. this weekend scott and i rode the train to the city and drank at some cool bars on east 4th and even got pizza on our way home. we're finding our new favorite spots, and i'm finding my place.
most importantly, i'm finding that there actually IS life after chicago. and i'm going to make it great.