Well it’s finally April. The dead of winter is over and this year spring really feels like spring. Ok, well spring hasn’treally sprung just yet and I hear April is an especially wet month here in Chicago. But this year the changing of the seasons is uniquely coinciding with a whole lot of new and different in my life.

We’re coming up one one year in Chicago this July, which makes it feel like a legitimate home. I’ve felt settled in and connected here since pretty early on, but being able to count ten months between moving in and now is concrete proof to myself that we’ve actually been here a while. I like it here. The Midwest is my true home more than I ever could have guessed and Chicago is growing on me all the time. And I’m thoroughly enjoying that can’t-wait-for-summer feeling you can only get in a place that experiences the sub-zero temperatures of the Dead of Winter.

I’m finally beginning to hear back from graduate school programs. I didn’t get into UIC, but De Paul accepted me and I’ve got faculty interviews at Rush in a week. It’s incredibly exciting and a bit surreal to think of myself in NP school this fall.

Our lease will be up in July and Jeremy and I will move out of our neighborhood. We like our apartment and our landlord is wonderful, but we’re excited to leave Wicker Park in hopes to find a more diverse, lower income community we can be a part of. Lately we’re spending lots of time perusing pad mapper, analyzing all kinds of Chicago maps, and going on neighborhood reconnaissance treks with our friends. We’re also entertaining the idea of buying something. Our dream life includes us buying an old (late 1800’s-early 1900’s) stone three or four flat building to live in and rent to some of our friends as well as local neighborhood peeps.

In other very EXCITING news, my siblings-in-law Josh and Bex Mann have finally arrived to the states with their baby girl, Mercy! It’s funny. It’s not like we get to see them or even chat with them much while they’re in Oregon, but it feels so good to have them back in Salem! Maybe it’s just knowing they’re a quick, easy, good connection of a phone call away that feels so great. We got to chat with them on the phone the day after they got home and it was so refreshing to hear their voices. I don’t think I would have known before they took the step, but it feels so wonderful to have parents and a baby among this generation of Manns. I’m so thankful for their new little family, and I am so looking forward to taking notes as these two incredible people raise a daughter.

I could write about a handful of other wonderful things I’m looking forward to and excited about, but this should do for now. So thankful to be alive!