On Being in the Present

With summer drawing to a close, and the first day of school rapidly approaching (Tuesday, September 4th), I can’t help but reflect on what an exciting time we’ve had over the last few months. Highlights from Summer 2012 include:

Toasting my successful dissertation defense at this cabin in the woods:

Photo credit: Luke

Meeting Abigail Washburn after her concert at Millennium Park:

Devouring Luke’s homemade waffles for my birthday:

Visiting family at the lake house in Minnesota:

Going to Pool League to cheer on my husband and his awesome team:

Watching this storm move across the sky at sunset:

Clinking beers with this man:

Photo credit: Luke

Seeing the Blue Angels dive over Chicago:

Photo credit: Luke

Giving Philip Seymour Hoffman a standing ovation in “Death of a Salesman”:

Enjoying Rib Fest with a great group of friends:

Photo credit: Alex E.

Screaming with delight at the Jack White show:

Photo credit: Jo McCaughey

Celebrating every day with Luke:

Luke and I have been making lists of our goals and aspirations for the upcoming (academic) year, both individually and as a couple. My favorite part of moving is always the feeling of a “fresh start” or “re-do” on the parts of my life that seem neglected or unsatisfying.

While looking forward and planning ahead are two of my favorite pastimes, I appreciate the challenge Lisa Sanchez put forth in her recent blog post: “to delight in what the past is teaching me about today and to allow the future, real or imagined, to illuminate possibilities for the present.”*

Here’s to being in the present! Cheers!

*To read the full article, visit: http://bit.ly/NCu3oL

Hello from Philadelphia!

Luke and I had a wonderful sendoff from our friends in Chicago over the last few weeks – lots of good food, great conversations, and tearful well-wishes.

Luke’s birthday celebration at Konak

After celebrating Luke’s birthday on Friday night, we hit the road bright and early Saturday morning for our drive to PA. We towed our car so we could ride together, turning our 14’ U-Haul into a tractor trailer-sized rig for the road. We opted to stay on local highways to enjoy the scenery while avoiding toll plazas and angry drivers.

Our rig

We stayed fortified over the long drive with Gigio’s Pizza (our Chicago favorite), Goldfish, and Sour Patch Kids.

Luke enjoying Gigio’s Pizza on the road

Everything about the move went smoothly, from picking up the truck and tow dolly to the movers that helped us load and unload all of our worldly possessions. We donated, sold, and recycled so much of our stuff before we left that we are having a hard time believing that we still have too much stuff. But we do. Our small apartment is definitely going to challenge us to prioritize what we need and what we don’t.

Our neighborhood is even better than we remembered. Great coffee shops, bars, restaurants, hidden parks, grocery stores, and friendly people fill the adjacent streets.

Our apartment is also lovely – three rooms plus the bathroom – once we get it organized, it is going to be just perfect for our year here. Pictures soon! The neighbors are nice, the streets are quiet (especially given that we have at least five hospitals within walking distance), and the air is already starting to smell like Fall. Maybe that last part is wishful thinking, but it’s exactly this kind of contentment and optimism that is surrounding us in our new home.

Now that we are here, we’ll plan to post regularly to the blog. We hope you’ll follow along.

A new adventure begins…with a blog

In two weeks, Luke and I are moving from Chicago to Philadelphia. We’ve made amazing friends and shared wonderful times in Chi-town, and are really looking forward to exploring a new city, settling into our new row house apartment, and testing the waters of my academic career through a postdoctoral teaching fellowship.

Stephanie & Luke celebrating at Heritage Prairie Farm

We’ve created this blog for sharing our one-year journey with interested readers. It will be a central space for uploading photos, writing about new places and meaningful experiences, (re)posting interesting articles, contributing book reviews, and asking friends for their thoughts and comments on these pieces.

While we are separating our give-aways from our must-keeps, we’d love to hear any suggestions you might have for places to check out in the Philadelphia/Mid-Atlantic area. Please leave a comment below.

More from the road soon!