After our first visit I was accepted into the University of Chicago Divinity School and we moved in July of 2007! Jared's parents helped us a ton.
We actually got to live in our friend's magical house!! Can you believe it? We lived on the top floor. Our friends sold the house but convinced the new owners to rent out the top floor to us. I don't know what we would have done without their help.
This was the view from our private balcony. The houses were only about 2 feet away from each other, so if your neighbor was hanging out as well, you could have a nice chat.
It was a really tiny place that we shared with a stranger, which was often very awkward. Jared and I had our bedroom, but the bathroom, kitchen and living room were shared. So, I tried really hard to make our bedroom, the only private place we had, really homey and personal. I hung up a lot of pictures, as you can see.
We played a lot of wii that year. Especially Mario Galaxy...oh man what a great game, and watched a lot of Arrested Development and Oceans, that David Attenborough series. 

We installed that ac unit the day after we moved in. Imagine being in a 120+ year old house without any air conditioning in July, on the third floor, with no cross wind and only a tiny window that basically opens up into an alley. It was unbearable! Thank God we found a cheap ac unit so quickly.
I also did A LOT of reading. That cozy chair was my favorite place in the whole apartment. By the way, check out those beautiful original wooden floors. Gah I loved that old house. So beautiful.
This was our dining table. All the furniture actually came with the apartment. Another huge benefit to living here. We didn't bring that much with us from San Antonio. Jared's mom Judy painted that painting. We still have it in our apartment now.
These were all of our dishes that we brought. We got tons more from our recent wedding, but we only moved with our favorites. 
This was the common room. I loved this room, too. I would sit on that couch for hours and practice knitting. And kneel on the couch to stare out the windows at the snow. I was so fascinated by the snow!

Thinking about our first Chicago home is really bittersweet. I loved it there so much, I thought it was beautiful and I could feel the warmth of the history through the floor boards, original radiators, door knobs, fireplaces and mirrors. Thinking about the original owners just blows my mind. The architecture is such a window into their daily lives. There was a (sort of) secret narrow staircase for the servants to use and the master bedroom (our roommate lucked out and got it!) had a water closet with just a sink and mirror so the man of the house could shave and freshen up before anyone saw him outside of the bedroom. He needed to look good even for his kids and the servants!

When we stayed there during our first visit to Chicago, I got lost in the house several times. It was so big! I had never even seen a house of that style before and I was just so enchanted by it. Add to that the awesome experience we had of staying with that family and even being there when Elias was born...it was just about my favorite place on earth. 

But when we moved in, we weren't even allowed in the bottom 2 floors, since a new family lived there. That alone made me sad, I loved the whole house so much! It was hard to live in your dream house but only being able to enjoy a small part of it. Although it looks like a wealthy area, there was quite a bit of crime and poverty in Hyde Park. I would never go out at night by myself. I had several friends who were held up at gun point. Our car was broken into, people would always be going through our trash and asking for money in the alley way behind the house. Bikes were stolen from our back yard. We even caught someone trying to take our license plate off of our car! 

Add to that the tensions with our roommate, the stress of being a new graduate student, newly married and separated from all our friends or family and it was the most difficult year of my life so far! I just felt like I had to say that because looking through all these pictures it's easy for me to think everything was bright and beautiful, when that wasn't the case.

Thank you guys for letting me ramble about my memories. It's really therapeutic for me! I think I'm so afraid of forgetting our time in Chicago that it is important for me to record it somewhere. Thanks for letting me use this space to do so!
 


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