moving cross country

one year later..

Although it’s all still a little unreal, today is my one-year anniversary of living in Chicago!

Exactly 365 days ago I flew into a city wrapped in a blanket of snow on a weekend where the snow came down for days, and I never looked back –that’s a lie. I look back all the time, but I truly am happy I risked it all to move here. NO RAGRETS.

Anyway, as I look back at the year that has come and gone, I can’t help but reflect on my time here and think of all the new things I’ve learned –and not learned. So I’ve decided that I would share my observations with you because, Suzie Says.

1- As nice as Midwesterners are, (they are VERY nice) when it comes to the L, there is no such thing as personal space. The train is a special place where you spoon strangers in the early morning hours on your way to work, stare uncomfortably at the person standing less than inch away from your face, and accidentally touch things you had no intention of touching –you know, hands, butts, thighs, you get the picture.

2- While in Miami shots of tequila are customary, in Chicago whiskey is the poison of choice –and if you’re really unlucky, it’ll be Malort. gag*

3- I will never, not laugh whenever someone slips on black ice. It’s a natural reaction to what I’ve just been lucky enough to witness and I will not apologize for it. I will ask if you’re okay though –as I continue to laugh uncontrollably.

4- With so many incredible places to eat in the city, it truly amazes me that people still go to McDonald’s. I live across the street from a McDonald’s and I think I’ve maybe stopped in twice out of pure desperation.

5- I’ve learned that girls here rarely ever have their nails done & that’s cool, but I will never abandon my mani/pedi ways. I just can’t.

6- Working 7 days a week is probably the worst idea I’ve ever had, but having zero debt is a great feeling.

7- Winter is what you make of it. You can sit around and complain about how terrible it is, or you can appreciate the little things –like a 25-degree day instead of a 5-degree day. It’s the little things guys. Embrace it, or just join me in my chant: Summer is right around the corner. Summer is right around the corner. Summer is right around the corner.

8- Although I try my best to follow #6, snow is still Satan’s vomit and I will always hate it. But what’s worse than falling snow? Mushy snow, slippery snow, puddles of snow, snow that hardens and turns into pure ice. I can really go on and on. Snow is evil.

9- Patio season is the best season.

10- I’ve learned that getting your groceries delivered beats having to go to the grocery store ANY DAY. Peapod is my best friend and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

11- Dating apps can actually be entertaining and also creepy and overwhelming, but you can meet decent people on there. However, I no longer recommend it to my Miami friends. I’m sorry I ever did, hah!

12- Living alone can be a bit scary, extremely quiet, and sometimes boring, but there’s nothing boring about dancing alone in your underwear to Milky Chance and I am beyond grateful for every chance I get to do that –even though I cry a little on every first of the month.

13- Making friends in unfamiliar cities isn’t easy. You have to put in lots of effort, but it beats not having a social life. I appreciate all the friends I’ve made since moving here.

14- Also, although it’s taken me about a year to accept, I’ve learned that you can’t hate someone for not being on the same page as you. Timing is everything, and it can also be a bitch. Sometimes people need to fully experience life before they’re able to reach a certain point so that they won’t resent you later. When that happens, you just need to walk away and let it be.

xo

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full circle.

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Just one year ago I visited Chicago for the first time with one of my best friends, and it was on that trip that my heart was forever changed. To be honest, my first day in the city was a complete disaster. My friend Amber mixed up her flight information leaving me wandering the downtown area near our hotel by myself. I spent a lot of time in the hotel room that day because quite honestly, this concrete jungle was overwhelming and a bit sketch.

That night, Amber finally arrived  without her luggage. We decided we’d make the best of it by heading to Navy Pier for some touristy fun. Unfortunately, before the fun could even begin, Mother Nature decided to rain on our parade –literally, and we were left soaking wet from head to toe on the pier with nowhere to hide from the rain. At this point we should have just jumped into Lake Michigan and called it a night cause nothing good was going to come out of this trip, but I was wrong. After buying an entirely new wardrobe at the gift shop, we waited for the torrential downpour to end and left Navy Pier decked out in tacky “I ❤ Chicago” shorts, shirts and sandals, although that statement was very far from true at the moment.

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The next day, we decided to go back and try our luck again. While at the top of the ferris wheel that sunny afternoon, I stared into the gorgeous Chicago skyline. Unknowingly, I took an innocent selfie and posted a quote on Instagram that would eventually mean everything to me.

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The purpose of our trip to Chicago was to celebrate Amber’s birthday, go to Lollapalooza, and see Lana Del Rey. Although we’re both music lovers, we had never been to a festival before and didn’t know what to expect. However, the last thing either of us expected was what actually happened that day. There’s something magical about music festivals. It’s hard to explain, but I swear it’s something in the air. Getting lost, meeting a stranger by complete accident in a sea of people and eventually discovering you share the same soul is the definition of serendipity and I’m a total sucker for that shit. Sadly, those things don’t always work out the way you’d imagine.

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This year I had mixed feelings about Lolla. Luckily, I had my friends Jess & Will by my side as everything came full circle at Grant Park. Once again, fate showed itself to me when I least expected it. Although it didn’t turn out how I’d hoped, I was finally able to let go of what really brought me to the windy city. It’s a strange feeling, letting go. I still don’t get how something that once made you feel so much can suddenly make you feel so little, but I’ve learned life isn’t meant for understanding, it’s meant for living. How could you not smile knowing the start of something new is just around the corner?

xo

all smiles

willeuhm

peace

only make moves when your heart’s in it.

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I turned 27 years old this month & as a gift to myself I quit my job. It wasn’t a traditional birthday gift & lots of people thought I was crazy, but it was what I felt I needed in order to start 27 the right way. This decision left me with an open schedule, unlimited possibilities and a ridiculous amount of margaritas on that glorious Cinco de Mayo. After all, it was my birthday & I had a lot to celebrate.

It was a weight off my shoulders. I felt like a new woman. I no longer woke up dreading my days & would never again have to go back to the unmentionable. After about a week of freedom & what felt like spring break (minus the ratchetness), I quickly came to realize that free time led to reflection & a lot of free time meant a lot of reflection. I began questioning everything from my move to my career choice to what the heck I was doing with my life. I was trapped in a glass cage of emotion – Anchorman style. Except, the glass cage was my apartment & I am not as funny as Will Ferrell.

If I had to describe my recent experiences in one word, it would be extreme. I’ve almost frozen to death in an apartment with no heat my first week here, woken up in a sweat because now I have no A/C and the sun is a motherfucker, started a new job, quit that job, rekindled things with an old flame, and eventually said, “bye Felicia” to him too.

For all of these reasons, extreme seems most fitting. My first three months in the Windy City have been a complete whirlwind to say the least, but amidst all the chaos and uncertainty one thing was always certain – a positive mind and the ability to laugh at all the madness will get you through anything. It’s also pretty awesome to have the incredible support of my friends and family no matter where on the map they may be at the moment.

All in all, 26 was a little reckless, but YOLO. I put myself out there a lot, took more chances than ever before & I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Whether it be in your love life, work life, or personal life, do what you feel in your gut is right. For me, some moves opened doors and worked out for the better and others were shut right in my face.

But what I’ve learned is that going against the grain isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The road most travelled isn’t always the road that will lead you to happiness. Sometimes, you need to make your own road.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen this year, but I know that I’m only going to do things I feel are genuine and true to my heart. Money isn’t everything. Do what makes you happy. Dassit!

xo

it’s the little things.

Lately a lot of people have asked me what I miss most about Miami & my answer always consists of mainly, “the weather, duh.” But each time I’m asked, it makes me really think about what I genuinely miss. I’ve never been the type to feel homesick so it’s hard for me to come up with a serious answer, but recently it finally hit me -like a ton of bricks while driving through the snow on I-90.

For two weeks I drove to work because quite honestly, I missed traffic. I miss sitting in traffic, yelling at people in Spanish to get out of my way. I miss using my hands to yell, “GOOO GUYYY” & “SERIOUSLY BRO?!” and other offensive things I won’t spell out here in case my parents read this. But I do. I miss driving around in my car listening to ghetto ass music on 103.5 in the morning, cause that was my shit and that’s how I liked to start my day.

I miss Publix because no matter what anyone tells you, no other grocery store in the world could ever compare –ever.

I miss having the option to buy churros or water from the viejitos on the street because now that I can’t, I want these things all the time.

I miss not thinking about what I was going to wear each day cause the temperature would never reach below 75 degrees. I miss not even knowing where my weather app was on my phone because I had no use for it. Today, I check it more than I check Facebook and it always makes me angry when I do. Every. Damn. Time.

I miss seeing my legs, because now I can only wear pants.

I miss that feeling of the sun burning my skin through my car window while driving. 

I miss seeing a box full of croquetas on Sunday mornings and having pan con bistec for dinner. It makes me sad not knowing when I will ever taste either one of those things again. 

I miss the unlimited amounts of Vita Coco I could drink while working at SpinHouse, cause now I never want to actually pay for it.

I miss lounging at the Shore Club with a drink in my hand and being able to float around with tourists who would come vacation in my backyard.

I miss never having to worry about parking, because not having a secured spot in your neighborhood causes an immense amount of anxiety.

I miss going to Flanny’s (in Hialeah, obvi) at whatever time of the day or night for the most delicious chicken philly on the planet and the cheapest drinks after 9 p.m.

I miss the feeling of a warm breeze on my skin and the sweet, salty smell of the ocean. I never thought I could live somewhere that didn’t have these things but here I am, buying mango scented candles so that my tropical ass can feel some sort of normalcy –but I doesn’t work.

Recently, I was flipping through the radio stations on my way home I landed on a station that was playing my favorite salsa song EVER! It almost made me cry of happiness like Pharrell during his interview with Oprah. I just wanted to jump out of my car and bust into a rueda with myself in the middle of the snow.

So for everyone wondering, those are the things that I miss.

xo

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the stairway to hell.

When I first found out my apartment building didn’t have an elevator and my apartment was on the fourth floor my immediate reaction was, “My ass is gonna look GREAT!” Just as any other human being would react. My lack of working out at the gym would be justified by how active I would become running up and down these stairs. My ass would get tighter and my calf muscles would look amazing. I was winning all around. It didn’t hit me until later (approximately two trips up and down the stairs later) that these stairs would soon be my nemesis.

It’s been a month since I’ve moved in and I’m still out of breath every time I reach my door. The thought of forgetting something or having to go back downstairs pains me. I HATE THESE STAIRS. SO. MUCH.

Today, I finally found it in me to get the microwave that was in my trunk for two weeks and make use of it in my kitchen. I’m not sure why I was feeling so ambitious however, this feeling quickly vanished and I was left fighting to the death with a 50 pound microwave.

I know you probably think I’m exagerrating, BUT I AM NOT. After breaking the handle of the box on both ends before even getting to my entry door, I finally reached the stairs. At this point, the microwave box is broken and I’m still on the ground floor. I quickly assess the situation and decide that it would probably be best to drag the box all the way up the stairs – caveman style. This of course was an ultimate fail and the microwave slipped out of my fingers and slid all the way back down -TWICE.

FML.

I then leave the microwave at the bottom of the stairs, run up to my apartment, drop off my purse, take off my jacket, pick up my hair and get ready for some serious business and heavy lifting. At this point, my inner hulk was ready to take on the world and I ran up the stairs with the microwave over my head like a champion. Okay, I’m lying. It wasn’t that smooth but it finally made it up to my apartment.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I microwave the shit out of my dinner.

xo

don’t drink and ride the CTA.

If I didn’t know what FOMO meant, this week I’ve learned the meaning. While I continue to freeze my ass off and wear more layers than humanly possible, my hometown peeps are frolicking around South Beach like a bunch of wild animals enjoying every #MMW & #WMC event possible. Can I even hashtag on here? IDGAF. Vogue just hashtagged on their cover.

But enough about Miami and all of its current gloriousness. Today was rough in the CHI.

For starters, I fell on my way to the bathroom this morning. FELL ON MY FACE. I fell because I tripped over a BOOT. A problem I have never had to encounter because wtf wears boots?! Not me, until now. It’s all I effing wear. Every. Damn. Day. BOOTS.

OVER IT.

Irregardless, I decided to walk out of my apartment with an open mind because today is Thursday and that means it’s practically Friday, which means FREEDOM. Except what I experienced shortly after going under ground was not freedom. Moments after entering my train stop I became trapped in the freaking spinning thing that lets me into the train terminal. How is this possible you ask? I have no idea, but it happened. IT HAPPENED TO ME. I was trapped in this tiny jail for about 60 seconds until someone else came up behind me and had to set me free. Que pena.

Then the work day passed and it was time for happy hour, which is my favorite hour for obvious reasons. Drink, drank, drunk, now it’s time to go home.

The only problem is, the moment you switch up my routine (and add alcohol) in a new city I GET LOST. All my life I’ve heard the dangers of drinking and driving. What they failed to teach me was the dangers of drinking and getting on the train…because it’s confusing as SHIT. Leave it to me to get on the wrong train and freak out with a nearly dying phone.

Sigh.

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