Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

13th Aug 2012

We Can Go Where We Want to Go, Say What We Want to Say, And Do What We Want to Do*

Lately, I’ve been asked a lot on why I chose Illinois. My decision to go to Illinois was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I would’ve been ecstatic if I had gone to a California university, but at the end of the day, I stand behind my choice to attend Illinois and ultimately, why I did not transfer back to California. I, by no means, ever thought I would end up at Illinois, or really any other out-of-state school for that matter. I applied because my Dad told me to (pretty sure it was to live vicariously through me since he had wanted to go there for his Masters in EE–which he didn’t tell me about until after I had decided where to go). I was all “sure Dad, I’ll apply there, but I’m not going to Illinois.” Joke’s on me!

Dad took me to visit Champaign about a month before the UC school decisions had come out and even then I was skeptical of me choosing an out-of-state school. Even after I felt how right being on the Illinois campus is. Even after I read about how awesome Orange Krush and Illini Pride are. Even after I saw how amazing of a city Chicago and driving on Lake Shore Drive alongside Lake Michigan are. Even after I put down my housing deposit ahead of the final UC decisions. I still had my doubts.

My gut was so much more sure about my decision even before I was. Ultimately, the fact that Illinois had a solid business undergraduate program, Division I Big Ten athletics, and me knowing that by giving up on Illinois would be like giving up an opportunity to have a very unique college experience, is what swayed me to go and eventually stay.

Even at one and a half years into undergraduate, I entertained the thought of possibly transferring schools, but it was also around that time that I really stopped missing California so much and began to really enjoy Illinois and find myself. The great thing about going to a school where almost no one in your high school went is that you don’t end up just hanging out with just the people you were friends with for the first 12 years of school. You get to figure out the friends that you want to hang out with. I bounced around a couple different groups of people before I found my roommates, Illini Pride Exec Board, and the Word of the Day boys. Even though I was only in Illinois for six years, a lot of those friendships have already endured longer than a lot of my friendships from home. I’m glad I stuck it through in Illinois. If I had left, I never would’ve experienced winning at the Horseshoe, playing in the Rose Bowl, calling Chicago home, and I most definitely would have never met and established some of the close friendships I have today.

Everyone in California always talks about awesome living in California is. Oh really now? HOW DO YOU KNOW? Most have never stepped outside of the California bubble. I respect their decisions on staying in-state, but please don’t try to convince me why LA or SF is better than Chicago, or any other city out there because you’ve never even lived outside of this state. I love California, but I love knowing I pick to stay in California not because it’s all I’ve ever known, but because I have already lived in another state and I want to settle down in California over anywhere else.

*Grouplove – “Chloe”

5th Jul 2012

The Embers Never Fade in Your City by the Lake*

Places, Things, & People I’ve Been Really Missing That I Didn’t Think I’d Miss So Much

  • Driving on LSD (heading south out of the City) — best view of the skyline while driving
  • Which leads me to my next point: spot by Adler Planetarium for the actual best view of the skyline :)
  • The L
  • Chambana
  • Football tailgates and waiting in the freezing cold outside Assembly Hall
  • Big Ten football and basketball
  • Krush Roadtrips (Penn State 2007!)
  • Block Roadtrips, but only if we’re kicking ass (#1 Ohio State, Nov 10, 2007!)
  • Illini Pride Exec (Never have I ever, Apartment Crawls/Sits, barndances, semiformals, barcrawls)
  • Thursday nights at Brother’s
  • Themed Thursdays and Sunday Fundays
  • The Girls of 508 E. Clark St.
  • The Girls of 444 W. Fullerton Pkwy
  • Three In One
  • Quantum Leap
  • Coldplay, Foozer, Yellowcard/Mae, OAR, Lupe, Jack’s
  • Tank and Del Seoul
  • Social 25
  • Lincoln Park
  • Molly’s Cupcakes and Bleeding Heart Bakery
  • MK Chicago, Sunda Chicago, Japonais
  • Millennium Park
  • My Gilly Girls
  • “family” dinners
  • Wrigley and United Center
  • My Chicago Bulls
  • Portillo’s, Lou Malnati’s
  • St. Patrick’s Day and UNOFFICIAL
  • College Gameday
  • St. Louis Season Opener Trips
  • Cly’s and Joe’s
  • One World & Qdoba & Geo’s
  • Being on the 40yd line, the drumline, and all access field passes
  • My basketball photo pass
  • View Camera and 24/7 access to art labs
  • Themed parties from the word of the day boys
  • Barscramble and Campustown Challenge
  • Barndances
  • Carbondale
  • William Tell, Oskee Wow Wow, and Alma Mater

Except I lied. I did know that I’d miss some, if not most, of these things. Haha.

*Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”

2nd Jul 2011

Ooo, You Make Me Live. You, You’re My Best Friend*

I realized that as I grew older, the people who I consider to be my best friends–or even who I would consider friends–have evolved. I didn’t realize it in all my trips back home until I had to actually live at home. That’s when I realized just how different this was all going to be from my life in Chicago.

A lot of my friends here in California, I’ve known since high school, or even elementary school. And all of our experiences in college have shaped us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s great to have friends that are different. But I think it also opened my eyes as to people I’m not quite sure I want in my life anymore.

In college, and life after college, it is definitely easier to find friends that had more similar interests and are more aligned with my values. A lot of this comes from going to a college in a state where I knew absolutely no one else before going there. It’s not like high school where you have only 4,000 kids in the school that you’re interacting with. These are campuses with 40,000 students. Spend four years there, and you can pick and choose exactly the friends that you want to keep in your life.

Coming home though, has been in many ways, a shock. My friends here are fun to hang out with, but they don’t feel like they hold as much substance. I realized that our lives are back from when we left high school and losing those four years in between when we’ve all had time to grow and develop in different ways has left an almost empty space in the friendship. It’s like a relationship that has gone on for far too long and it’s comfortable, and you know they are there for you, but it’s not exciting and just not the same.

In all my trips home, they were never for more than a week or a couple days at time. Therefore, I never really took the time to evaluate some of my friendships. What I found is that there are people in my life that if they did the things they did in college, I would have already dropped them. It’s much harder to drop these friendships, because these aren’t people that I have met for only a year or two–these are friendships that are now six, seven, or even ten+ years long. But I think there comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in, and friendships are sometimes just of the toxic kind and it’s better to “naturally” drift apart.

There are still a lot of friends that I would consider my close friends, just maybe not my best friends anymore. It’s a little sad to think about, but I think it happens; it might have even happened to me in Illinois if I had stayed long enough. And who knows, these are people I would love to be as close with again, and it could happen in the future still.

*Queen – “You’re My Best Friend”

26th Aug 2010

If Perfect Is What You’re Searching For, Just Stay The Same*

There’s been a lot of stuff lately that has just been really frustrating; especially I’m not exactly sure how much I can control that. One thing I have been working on is controlling my emotions more and not necessarily becoming more vacant, but less wearing my heart on my sleeve type of thing.

I just really can’t believe the nerve of some of the people out there and how much they think things are just entitled to them.

I’m super excited for this weekend though! I finally get to see my fam an a lot of my friends. Thankfully most of them have moved back into the Bay so it makes it a lot easier for going out and such. :) That and going to the Giants game on Saturday! It’ll be Mike’s first Giant game ever with Geoff and Charlie. It also happens to be Italian Heritage Night (Joe DiMaggio bobbleheads ftw!). Haha.

*Bruno Mars – “Just The Way You Are”

17th Aug 2010

You might be a big fish in a little pond, Doesn’t mean you’ve won. ‘Cause along may come a bigger one & you’ll be LOST*

It’s been a couple months since I’ve even attempted to blog so here’s a catch up of life since graduation (aka, the last year or so):

I moved into the city shortly after graduation and I completely fell in love with Lincoln Park, Chicago, and my proximity to Lake Michigan and the chance to drive along Lake Shore Drive every day. This city just makes me smile whenever I think about it and I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be able to leave it, if I ever do. I can’t explain my love for the city, it just feels like home to me, almost as much as California does. And really, I think a large part of it is the friendships I have made here. I have an incredible group of friends and I can’t wait for all of us to finally be in the same city again.

July 2009 – Jan 2010
I worked at Apple (big surprise) during this time period. I finally got the chance for my first NSO; opened the Main Place (Naperville, IL) location on August 15, 2009. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my Apple career thus far. As close as I am with some of my old managers, I’ve never felt like we got the chance to know our management team and our team as a whole as much as through NSO. I don’t think any of us can ever forget this-especially for me, as it is my first (and only) NSO. Main Place is like my baby and I’m so amazed that it’s already been a year since we opened!

Jan 2010 – Present
Late in 2009, I got recruited by Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch) for their manager-in-training program. Up until that point, I had really never considered leaving Apple. And looking back, it was a huge leap of faith for me to take-kinda like moving to Illinois in the first place. Apple was all I ever I would work for, but I knew I couldn’t give this opportunity up.

And I really do love my job. A lot of people go into this company probably for the wrong reasons, but I love retail; always have. Choosing visuals as my first position was hard. Not in that I didn’t want it, it was my first choice, but I also knew how challenging it could be. In the end, it was a lot harder than I even imagined because you really do need to inspire and motivate your staff to do their best for you, and for the company.

I started off at a different store, but was able to transfer (mainly because the commute was really starting to drain me-that and school). But I feel like the move has helped me in so many more ways. When you first start out, you don’t know what your management style will be, and I think the associates do kinda take advantage of that, probably not even because they mean to, it just happens. But when I transferred, I knew right off the bat what tone I wanted to set with my pti and with my models. And I think that really shows in how much more smoothly updates are run now.

However, I’m feeling so incredibly lost in/at work right now though. I don’t really feel like visuals is my role anymore because I’ve had to teach someone else the role and that meant really giving it up. It makes me feel like I don’t have a purpose at this moment in time. It’s a weird feeling because you don’t feel like you’re really helping out the store, even if you are. I don’t think it’s uncommon as you transition to your next role to feel some anxiety about it, but I just kinda wish I knew what my next role will even be. I guess I’ll find out this week!

I just really needed to LEAVE this weekend. So I went up to Milwaukee to see Albert ’cause he just moved in and started med school at MCW (soo excited for him!) and so I got to hang out with him, and guess who else was actually in town? Kelvin, Matt, Kyla! Crazy, right? And then, they actually ended up staying at my place on Saturday and I haven’t had a late night in a while (doesn’t help that most of my closest Chicago friends have been out of city/state for the past couple of weeks now!) and it was amazing to hang out with people from home, or maybe to just hang out with friends in general. Whatever it was, they made their roadtrip seem like so much fun that I ended up hopping on a plane and meeting them in NYC. Crazy idea, but I think I really needed this time to get away from the City just for a day or two. I stayed at my sister’s place, hung out with her for most of the day before getting dinner with her, Carl, Kelvin, Matt, Kyla, Zach. And then we went out for a lil bit of a low key night before Carl and I met up with Viv in KTown for pho (don’t ask, haha). It felt great to catch up with a lot of old friends. So I’m also super excited for Mike to finally come home next week and work from home and hopefully I get to go to SF for at least the Giant’s game and see the parents and everyone still in the Bay.

I don’t regret leaving Apple, as much as I miss it every single day. (It doesn’t help that my new Gilly store is RIGHT across from Apple!). But what can you do?

*Coldplay – “Lost?”

26th Oct 2009

Is there somebody who still believes in love?…But I can’t seem to find, Somebody to love.*

These past few weeks have been so crazy and had so many ups and downs. But I don’t think I would take one moment of that back. And the craziest part out of all this is that I think I’ve finally decided that I do want to stay in Chicago for a couple years; that I’m just not ready to move out of Chicago yet. The thought about staying was triggered by something small that someone said. It struck me, the way that they so definitely said I was leaving in June. I paused and just knew it wasn’t time for me to leave yet.

I got to facilitate my first hands-on workshop today; and it was TOUGH. I’ve done mock OneToOne, but never a workshop and while in concept, it is very similar to a OneToOne, it’s so much tougher because you have a group of people-all at different levels of proficiency. But it was so amazing to be teaching-as corny as that sounds.

*Leighton Meester – “Somebody to Love”

19th Mar 2008


For all the surprises the L decided to throw my way on my adventure to Midway, it was surprisingly one of my most enjoyable flights to date. Smooth ride. Smooth landing. Bliss.

I got my haircut at Mitri today by Tony, and let me tell you. I have NEVER. EVER. been this pleased with my cut, ever. I got my bangs back AND I got an edgier layer on the bottom (without anymore split ends!) LOVES IT. $50 price tag and all.

How interesting wold it have been if I had kept this [written journal] from Freshman year… and seeing how far I’ve come from then. I used to be so sure that I’d win the bet, yeah. Not so sure anymore. I’m really not even sure if I won’t lose by the end of this year or not.

Hanging out in Chicago kinda makes me really miss the city. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in LOVE with Northern California, and I’ll always feel SO at home here, but Chicago has SO much character that I just want to explore it like I’ve explored San Francisco by now.

I was also looking at my New Year’s Resolutions and I’m really not doing so hot on them so far. I’ve got ONE done, and I’m sure some will never happen.

I’m going to see the LOVES OF MY LIFE tomorrow and I’m hella excited!

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