I have always loved Valentines Day. Growing up, every morning on February 14th, I would saunter downstairs to the kitchen and there would be a small gift waiting for me at the table. Always wrapped in red, white, pink and purple paper, the gifts could range from a box of chocolates to Old Navy heart plastered pajama pants. The gifts were never extravagant, just something small to remind me that no matter what was going on in the world, I was loved.
This year, February 14th holds a special place in my heart considering where I was a year ago. I spent last Valentines in New York, actually, but I wasn’t living here. I had flown to the Big Apple for 2 days to interview for an job that ultimately led me to move here a month later. I remember the night before the interview, February 13th, 2012, laying in my friends bed, a million thoughts running through my head. On the one hand, I was relieved to be slightly removing myself from the holiday with this prospect of a big move. I knew I needed a change and so why not New York, I thought? I barely slept that night, I was so insanely nervous. I’ll never forget the cab ride either, up to Harlem, a neighborhood I knew absolutely nothing about, except for the Apollo theatre. Anxiously biting my nails in the backseat, the cabbie dropped me off at 125th between 5th Ave & 6th and I remember slightly freaking out, because I was 20 minutes early for the interview. “Do I go in?”, “Do I walk around?” “Is this considered fashionably early?”
My freak-out-meter went through the roof, especially during the interview.
“You do realize this is an un-paid position?”
I nodded and gulped. I knew what I was in for, I assured my future boss.
With raised eyebrows, she said, “So you’re willing to move here for a job that pays nothing?”
A few hours later, I told the story to a good friend over lunch at Eataly and our conversation pretty much solidified my decision. “It’s not easy, but if you don’t do it, you’ll probably regret it,” she told me.
Three weeks later and I was here and now, exactly a year later, I’m still here. It’s funny, because I almost forgot all this happened on Valentines last year. I woke up today thinking about the upcoming holiday, feeling all sentimental and romantic and wanting to listen to Sinatra on repeat and just dance. Then, it hit me. Holy Batman, that was 365 days ago! Time does fly, I suppose.
Regardless of where I am this Valentines or what I’ve got goin’ on (ice cream and sappy movies, anyone?), this Thursday will be extremely memorable. Amidst all the reminiscing, I do have things to look forward to this year, one of which is something I’ve been pretty nervous about announcing, but with the one year mark coming up, I should probably just bite the bullet and tell everybody.
On March 31st, I’m packing the bags again and heading back to the Windy City. 365 + days in NYC have undoubtedly changed me for the better, but for right now in my life, it’s the best decision. The move here was never permanent but thankfully, it turned into a one-year deal and I couldn’t be more thankful because it’s been one of the best years of my life. “Then why leave?,” many people have asked. Well, I’ve always considered your 20s to be the time for exploration; if you don’t go now, you never will, etc. However, it’s a tough life in New York, ask any struggling 20-something and we’ll all tell you the same thing. So, while I think I will move back here one day, I need some time to re-group (and save some $$$) and that’s what Chicago is for.
I’m sad, yes, and I’ll become much more sad in the next month, but New York will always be here. And the close friendships I’ve made here won’t waiver. I value my friends and family more than anything and no move or different city will change that.
So, Chicago, I’ll see you in a little over a month. And New York, we’ve got some fun things planned for the next few weeks.
And hey – be sure to check back here on actual Valentines, I’ve got some fun things lined up. Lets just say, memes, gifs, sappy music and some montages. If there’s one thing NYC has taught me, it’s how to be 100% more technologically savvy.
Keep eating xx