19 days in the city

I have been in Chicago for 19 days.

Wow!

I love my life.

It’s not easy. It’s not painless. It’s not comfortable. It’s not pretty. It is challenging and there are many difficult things about being here. But it’s all worth it.

And I really do love it. Let me try to summarize a few key elements of the past couple weeks, it’ll be 3 weeks on Monday night since I’ve arrived.

My first glimpse of the Chicago skyline

Upon my arrival I was in a bit of shock. I had butterflies as I drove into the city and caught my first glimpse of the downtown Chicago skyline. As my pastor greeted me I told him I felt like I was gonna puke. Thankfully, it was just butterflies and it eased over the next hour as I settled into their home for the night.

The famous Bean with the skyline reflection.

Pastor X and his family took my new roommate, Jaime and I, out on Tuesday for a day exploring the city. I took the train or the “L” for the first time as we went into downtown and headed to Millennium park to check out some fun sites and see the Bean, and Navy Pier, and ate Chicago dogs for lunch.

On Wednesday I took a walk with Pastor X to purchase some parking passes and then I went on an adventure on my own and headed into the City to go visit the HR office at a famous Bible school that I would love to work at.  I only missed my stop once and was able to figure out how to make a “U” turn as it were, jumping off at the next stop, and going down the stairs and up on the other side to board the train coming from the other direction reached my destination and successfully made my way back home.

My roommate and I were able to move upstairs and sign our lease a few days early and moved in late Saturday night and started cleaning right away! Our first real live grown up apartment! My first apartment situation off-campus.  We eagerly await roomie #3 as she waits for some important license stuff to go through so she can transfer.

I spent the first two weeks focused on job searching, interviewing with a couple temp-agencies and applying for various jobs. Thankfully, the temp agencies have found me work and I get my first paycheck next Friday for the work I did this past week at a couple different locations and am excited about starting work on Monday!

Some of the things I have realized being here are that I am experiencing culture shock for perhaps the very first time in my adult life, if not my entire life…which if you know what that is…AND you know a bit about my background it must sound funny. But it’s the truth. It feels very foreign being here. It’s not completely different in the sense that the “language” spoken here is the “same” but in many ways it’s a whole different lingo, customs, traditions, and way of life. The pace is fast. Just a couple weeks of people watching and I see a very fast pace, busy busy busy, and lots of coffee, at almost every corner. The people are diverse both ethnically, socially, and economically.

{Enjoying the weather, rainy, thunderstorms and sipping coffee}

Some of the hard things about being here are realizing I was shorter on the finances side than I realized I was before I left. I spent more on my road trip out here than I anticipated and came up short very quickly once my rent and deposit check cleared. That has been scary…and at the same time, I see God remind me over and over again not to trust in the security of finances, but to trust in him as my provider, and to seek him in my need, and to pray for others in need. To seek the welfare of the city that I too might fare well. {Jeremiah 29:7}

It’s been really interesting seeing what kinds of lessons God is teaching me in this season of transition. To really sense this as a long term missional thing. I keep getting this sense that I’m on a mission trip. Only this one doesn’t have an end. And it’s not a bad feeling, it’s almost like this is what God has spent years shaping and preparing me for, even though I’m just getting started, and still seeking his goals and plans and heart for this place, this city, and my life. I’m excited to be here and excited to see what God does with me and in me and through me as I venture into the city and work here.  Praying that my eyes and heart will be constantly ready for anything God would ask me to do.

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