The Badlands

Ah, today was simply amazing!  We drove through The Badlands National Park and it took our breath away!

Day 2 June 30

Stay night in Rapid City, SD (Best Western Town ‘N Country, 2505 Mount Rushmore Road S Highway 16, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701)

Our hotel tonight is a stark contrast that the Residence Inn we had last night; however, our drive today made it all worth it.  Six hours on the road wasn’t too much and The Badlands were beautiful!

I think now it’s setting in more that Alex and I will soon be making a life in Seattle.  I was thinking about that today while on the road.  It’s going to be much different living together, in a new city and exploring our new surroundings.  Although neither of us are sure what will happen, we are both in it for the long run and are ready for the new possibilities.  Now, bring on Mt. Rushmore tomorrow!

And We’re Off

It’s June 29; two weeks since I gave my notice at work and the day that Alex and I left Chicago to make our way to Seattle.  Today was day one of our journey across the country and we couldn’t be more excited about what comes next.

Day 1 June 29

Stay night in Sioux Falls, SD 
(Residence Inn, Sioux Falls, 4509 W. Empire Place * Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 57106)

Alex did a great job at planning out the trip and booking hotels along the way.  We just had to make sure we were always on the ground floor, Blake, the 13-year-old dog can’t use stairs.  Tonight, we are in a Residence Inn which is perfect for the two pups as they are able to have their own rooms.

The drive today was pretty uneventful other than the fact that it was our first day on the road.  It was also one of our longest driving days so we loaded the dogs up on sedatives to help with their nervousness and made our way into South Dakota.

After a long day in the car, he’s ready to sleep.

 

The boys enjoying the room.

This Really Sucks

This week is a mixture of pretty crappy and super exciting.  As we are gearing up to leave on Friday for our five-day trip to Seattle, I’m having to say goodbye to one of my co-workers turned good friends.

NYE ’12

We’ve had some great times together this past year and I’m really going to miss that.  I haven’t had a ton of close girlfriends over the years, so this time around I’m really bummed to be leaving one so soon. 

Diane and I decided that we needed a couple of girl’s night this week before I left so our first one took place on Monday.  It was half-off bottles on wine at this place near my apartment so it was the perfect fit for two gals needing a drink.  Diane is the wine person between the two of us so I let her choose.  We drank down the red over dinner, tears and laughs and agreed: no more silly sappiness.

Back at my apartment, we sat Indian style in my living room and shared another bottle of wine while she went through bags and boxes of items that I didn’t have the room for to take with me.  It was Christmas in June.

It was a good night for us, but man, this really sucks, this saying goodbye thing.

 

 

A Penske Truck and a U-Box

Today is the day: we loaded a Penske truck with all of our belongings and filled up a U-Box (random side note: driving a Penske truck to a U-Haul facility is quite awkward).

We both have dogs, an American Bulldog mix and an Airedale Irish Wolfhound mix, so we decided that shipping our things to Seattle from Chicago and making the 35 hour drive in our car would be the best route to take, especially with our buds in tow.  With this, the U-Box became our best friend and our worse enemy all in the same day.

Between reserving the freight elevator in my building and taking multiple trips down a long hall in his (oh, and we can’t forget driving the Penske truck into an EL train post), it was a long 10 hour day for us.  But we made it.

I was a bit taken back though at seeing my entire life in the back of a Penske truck.  My belongings, those that have been with me for the past six years didn’t take up much room.  It was rather refreshing, though, knowing that I didn’t have a lot.  I was moving across the country after-all and space was a precious commodity.   Alex felt the same way, especially looking at his empty condo and realizing that he too was leaving his Chicago life behind.

Whether you live in a condo, studio apartment or a mansion, when all of your possessions are scattered about, in their places and tucked away into closets, you really don’t think about them.  Sure, you use the coffeepot every morning and lay in the same bed every night, but you never really see your stuff.  At least I didn’t; until they were piled into a Penske.

That’s my entire life right there.

Seeing all of our boxes and furniture loaded into the U-Boxes, though was a different experience.  It made our move more real.  That was it; once those boxes were filled and locked, our things were scheduled for shipment to Seattle.  Today was when it hit me the most: we were actually doing this — and I couldn’t wait.

He was so happy it fit inside the truck.

 

U-Box #1

U-Box #2

Queen-Sized Air Mattress

Alex’s dog Leo is an American Bulldog mix and a total love bug.  Since he had already packed up his mattress, Alex busted out his queen-sized air mattress for the remainder of his time in Chicago.  Leo, however, thought it was a giant dog bed.  He normally isn’t allowed on the furniture, but for a few short days, he got to enjoy it.  I think Alex liked having him up there as well.

Isn’t he a cutie?

No…More…Boxes

Not only am I moving across the country, but my current work is moving too; across the city that is.  Between the packing tape, boxes and permenant markers at my job, when I get home at night I want nothing more than for all the cardboard boxes to have disappeared from my tiny studio apartment.  But they haven’t.

Alex and I have been packing feverishly the past couple of days and I seriously want nothing more to do with it.  Alex owns his condo and has lived there for six years; me on the other hand, has been renting for the past few years so I’ve slimmed doing my belongings.  But I still have more than I’d like.  Goodwill here we come!

Two Week’s Notice

Alex and I gave our current jobs our two-week’s notice today.  He told me over a Yahoo Instant Message that I needed to do it today because he wanted to leave on June 30.  That was earlier this morning and my boss was in meetings all day until our 4pm.  When I finally caught her before we met with our co-worker, I couldn’t stop shaking.  I loved where I worked, who I worked with and the mission of the organization.  But Seattle was now calling my name.

After talking to my supervisor, I finally got the chance to tell my good friend/co-worker the news.

“What’s wrong with you?,” she asked, “Are you leaving BUILD or something?”  She was laughing, but I wasn’t.

We had only worked together for a year, but we had grown close and I was really sad to be leaving her.

“Actually, I am,” I said, stumbling over the words.

We both started crying a bit as I told her my and Alex’s plan to move to Seattle.  We vowed that we would spend as much time together over the next two week’s as we could and she promised to come out to visit.

Who knew giving your two week’s notice would be this hard.

The Text Message

My boyfriend, Alex, and I have been living in Chicago for about six years.  We both love the city life and everything that comes with it: finding a parking spot semi close to where we’re going, the EL train going by at all hours of the night, and of course the lights beaming off the buildings in the hot Midwest sun.  But we were ready for a change; I just didn’t know it was actually going to come.

While enjoying a volcano roll at one of our staple sushi joints, Alex told me that he had been interviewing for a job at the University of Washington in Seattle and that they now wanted him to meet the team.  I didn’t know what to say and blurted out: “Oh, well, good luck” as if we hadn’t been dating for three years and that this didn’t mean anything for us.

But it did mean something.

“Uh, thanks, but what about you and me?” he said.  After I realized I stumbled over my initial response, I quickly said exactly what I felt: “You know if you get it, I’ll move out there with you.”  And after that, our minds went into Seattle-mode.

After an extended vacation/friend’s wedding in the Dominican Republic, it was time for him to fly to Seattle, put his game face on and hope for the best.  It was a grueling day: four hour flight there, four hours of interviews, four hour flight back to Chicago.  He didn’t hear anything back for over a week, but then the phone call came.

I was sitting outside at a coffee shop when my phone buzzed with a new text message: “We are moving to Seattle” it said.  I gasped and couldn’t stop smiling; our journey had begun.