We made it to Austin! When we crossed the Texas border there was this amazing rest stop with tons of photo ops. I was so happy I cried, I'm not even exaggerating! There were so many people there with big, friendly smiles taking pictures of each other in front of different signs. 

We're in Austin, but we're not quite settled yet. So, forgive me for not blogging a lot; it's been quite busy with all the little moving details. I plan to go to one of my favorite coffee places today and blog like crazy. That will definitely be a nice break!
I loved being at the University of Chicago Divinity School. If I could do it all over again, I would worry less about what my classmates and professors thought about me, and more about the work I was doing. That might sound cliche, but it really is one of my greatest regrets. I still cringe when I think about some of the mean things I said just to make people feel like I was smarter than they were or read more than they did. I missed many opportunities to forge life-long friendships, and to be Christ's hands and feet to those around me. Thankfully, God is merciful and I can look back on this time as a sober reminder to try and not make the same mistakes again.
This is Swift Hall, the building in which the Divinity School is located. It's gorgeous, right? I got to go to classes here every day! 
This is Bond Chapel, right behind Swift Hall. Have you ever seen so much Ivy?
This is the inside of Bond Chapel. It's such a beautiful and peaceful place. 
This is Harper Library, my favorite place to study. Unfortunately all the books I needed were in a different library, and this one had very few electrical outlets, so I couldn't spend all my time here.
This is Rockefeller Chapel. John D. Rockefeller gave UChicago like a bajillion dollars. Did you know, his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr.,  bought lots of land just to give it all to the National Park systems! I've been watching an insane amount of Ken Burn's documentaries, lately. I highly recommend them.
This is the Quad on a snowy day. They didn't do a really good job of keeping the sidewalks  clear. I actually slipped and broke my elbow one winter! 
This is Swift Hall again, now dusted with fresh snow. So picturesque! 
This, my friends, is a library card from a book I checked out. Can you imagine my excitement when I realized David Aune, himself, checked out the very same book! *swoon* and way back in 1968! I'm sure the other guys are great too, but Dr. Aune's work happened to be a huge help to me on that research paper. I seriously considered keeping that library card, but decided not to, so the next checker-outer could be as excited as I was.

Don't you kind of wish they still used this card system? Now, no one will know whether the brightest minds of our generation checked out a book! 

Once again, thank you for allowing me a venue to process our upcoming move from Chicago. I can't imagine it's very entertaining, but it has been really helpful for me. So, thanks!
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!

Ok guys, I feel compelled to tell the story of our life in Chicago. So, I'm going to start at the beginning. It's a long story, so brace yourselves. But, hey, it's better than no posts whatsoever, right?
Jared and I first visited Chicago during Spring Break my senior year in college, 2007...or maybe it was my junior year 2006. I can't remember. You know it had to be 2006 because Jared and I weren't engaged yet. We traveled with our friend Nicolette, and stayed in my professor's/friend's house who lived in Hyde Park. His wife was very pregnant, like 9 months pregnant. I fell in love with Chicago on that trip, and I knew I wanted to live there some day. 
This is the house we stayed in on Dorchester. We loved the history of it and had such a magical time with the family who hosted us. 
Yep, my friend's wife gave birth (in her house!) while we were there. No big deal. We got to hold little baby Elias when he was only 12 hours old.
All these photos were taking by Nicolette. I didn't even have a digital camera then! I actually took a few shots during this trip with a disposable camera I kept from my sister's wedding, you know how sometimes they'll put out cameras for people to take pictures? Well, I'm selfish and just took one for my own personal use. Would you believe I still have never gotten those pictures developed? That's something I have to do before we move.
Big news! We're moving to Austin! We're both really excited to be moving closer to home, but it's been an emotional roller coaster processing that we are really leaving Chicago/'Burbs. We've been here for 5 years! Our entire married life! Not only are we going to miss friends and favorite places, but I really associate being in Texas with my childhood, and it's kind of weird thinking of myself as an adult, married woman in Texas. I didn't really expect that would be so weird to me.

So, I feel this overwhelming urge to look back on the last 5 years and really remember how blessed we've been. Since our time in Chicagoland isn't something we share with the rest of our family, I'm afraid we'll slowly forget it over time and our future kids won't feel any connection to a place that is so dear to our hearts. Expect a lot of old pictures and long musings here in the next few weeks!