Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tallahassee, Chicago, & back to South Florida....

Being a little under 4 months now that we have been living back in South Florida, Mark and I sometimes talk about how much we have discovered and learned about ourselves from living away from it. Starting in 2003 Mark headed up to Tallahassee where I soon followed in 2005. Then, on a late night in February 2009 I got a phone call from Mark asking if I would want to move in with Chicago. His company wanted him up there to help out the Chicago branch and he couldn't decide. I told him that moving to Chicago would be something new and exciting for the both of us to do together, and that I would support his decision 100%.

Mark has always been one of the most hardworking people I know, and one of the reasons I have always admired him-even at a young age. If he would benefit from this move, then so be to Chicago!
As many people know, Chicago was quite the experience for us. I always joke and say that I only liked Chicago on the weekends...and this is pretty much what I stand by! Looking back, my reasoning for this is that I am not much of  the city girl that I thought I would be. I never considered myself a "small time kind of gal" from the countryside just because I was from Florida. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are cities to me, but Chicago is another level of city. I myself didn't enjoy the jam packed train rides, long winters, no parking, and tickets for every violation under the sun! Although it was a lot of adjusting and downfalls throughout the week, Mark and I enjoyed the weekends there with our new friends... We would bar hop through Wrigleyville, had a wide range of places to eat/drink,  enjoyed concerts, and walks through the park down to the Lake. Many of these activities were enjoyed on weekends and in the warm weather - hence my ongoing joke about "only liking Chicago on the weekends." I also liked that the people of Chicago are very friendly. I made wonderful friends there that I miss and wish them well in their futures.
Chicago also holds a special place in our hearts because as much as we missed and wanted to go home at times, Mark and I really began to know each other on a new level there. Many ask if living away from home and attending the same college even gave us the opportunity to grow as individuals and do our own thing, and our answer to that is Yes, I was! Mark and I actually had very different experiences as FSU. He was extremely involved and busy with Kappa Sigma Fraternity and his job at Boater's World. First, as Kappa Sigma's VP and then following as their President, he was ALWAYS building or planning something. I on the other hand, was involved in campus organizations like the Student Government Association, a volunteer organization, and bartending at night. Mark and I did see eachother but it was often with a group of people and not so often as long as we would like.

Chicago was a time where the both of us were under one roof and planned according to one another's schedules. I can honestly say that Chicago took Mark and I to another level. We both loved the fact that we were in it together... Being hundreds of miles away from families, friends, the ocean, and FSU?! - we both realized that we still had eachother to plan and learn new things with.
Now that we have been back in South Florida for the last 3 1/2 months, we have gotten married and started planning what our future will hold. We owe a great thanks to Mark's company and the people of Chicago for giving us a new insight and chapter in our lives that we will both never forget.
Mark and I don't have any regrets and now know that things we do/ don't want in our life together.

For one, we couldn't be any happier right now.

We have our family, friends, ocean, and FSU back! We enjoy having the simple things back and weather we missed so much.
We also hope that the friends we have make similar moves at some point in their lives...whether to L.A., NYC, Chicago, over seas, or just anywhere really...
In our opinion, we are overjoyed to be back but it comes from knowing and experiencing something different and out of our comfort zone. You learn to appreciate the things you have so much more when you don't have them while also gaining new and exciting experiences elsewhere.
Have fun and safe travels friends!

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