Moving to Chicago was many things: scary, unbelievable, challenging, stressful, but above all EXCITING! I feel as though everyone dreams of moving from a small town to a big city to make a name for themselves, to experience new things, and to have amazing adventures. But I actually get to do this? Am I really doing this? Woah, am I really here? While I always said, “I would love to live in big city like New York or Chicago,” I never in a million years would have dreamt I’d be here right now. It was just so unknown and scary to think about leaving my entire family and friends in Tennessee and to move my photography business to start all over in Chicago. Will I be successful here? Will I make friends? Will I even fit in?
Thankfully, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to move from my family and move my photography business. This is my 3rd move now. I first started photographing in Nashville (in 2009) during my first year of marriage and while attending Belmont University. While I was still an amateur at this point, it was hard to move to Knoxville a year later where I knew absolutely no one. During my 3 years there, I officially started my business and grew to love Knoxville and the people in it. My photography business grew so fast and it was so rewarding to capture so many special moments in these people’s lives. I made amazing, long lasting relationships that I still keep today. In 2013, we moved to Gainesville, Florida, and I was terrified. I cried because I had never lived anywhere outside of Tennessee and again, I knew absolutely no one. I was a 13 hour drive from home and that was unbelievable to me that I’d ever move that far away from my family. But again, I made some amazing relationships that I will treasure forever, created unforgettable memories, and got to enjoy the beach, the weather, and season passes to Disney World. (HELLO AWESOMENESS!) However, I knew that moving to Gainesville was temporary (10 months to be exact) and I would be moving again. Truthfully, I thought we’d move back to Nashville, TN. I was about 90% positive it was going to happen. Little did I know, God had another plan for me and my husband, Vincent. We decided that he should take the job opportunity in Chicago and that we should take this leap of faith and just trust that everything will be fine.
So, if it wasn’t obvious by the photo below, we had a yard sale….a BIG one! Saying bye to more than half of our belongings was difficult, but at the same time liberating. It feels nice to start from scratch and just keep the items that are truly our style and that will elevate our home instead of clutter it up. It doesn’t help that we also got a little bit of money for it all! Chicago is much more expensive to live in than Tennessee. I also spent the summer spending time with my family and at the end, saying bye to them not knowing the next time I may see them (hopefully Thanksgiving!). I love this photo of my grandfather and I. My mom and I took him out of the Veterans home for lunch at a local grill and he enjoyed it so much. It made my heart happy to see him smile, eat good food, and to just talk to me about life.
A few days later, we made the trip up to Chicago! We were so excited and ready for our new adventure together!
After a long day of driving in crazy weather, we made it to Chicago, closed on our new home, and ate classic Chicago deep dish pizza for the first time!
Our first night in our new home didn’t have anything in it (The Penske truck followed a few days later). We spent our first night in the middle of our living room with only a blow up mattress, a bottle of champagne to celebrate, and a laptop (For those wondering, we watched Step Brothers, of course.) The following photo shows that first night and about a week later once our furniture (and our Charlie) joined us in Chicago. He feels right at home here and loves looking out the windows. He is truly king of the castle up here and he knows it.
We explored the city at night and I finally got to see the famous Chicago theater sign and the amazing city lights!
Now fast forward to present day. I’m sitting here in my amazing new 2 bedroom condo next to my sweet pup, Charlie, and enjoying the view from the 24th floor. I hope that I never take this view for granted. This is my home and my office, guys. I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have this experience and to live my life. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be and it feels amazing. Chicago has kicked my butt a few times already but overall, it and the people in it have been very kind to me. I can’t wait to see how our life and my photography business grows here.
Disclaimer: These photos are not professional photos. All of these were taken with my iPhone.