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Monday, February 13, 2012

January recap + first impressions of Oak Park

Well. where did January go?
We got on a plane to leave France on January 10th and landed directly into a whirlwind of activity that has only recently settled down. Moving mostly looked like this:
I thought we'd be able to make a quick job of it, but I was wrong. As soon as we got back to the States,  the busyness of high booking season swamped us. For a solid week, I did nothing but email with potential new clients and arrange meetings to talk to them about shooting their weddings.  
Friends and neighbors who may ever consider hiring a wedding photographer: don't wait until the second week of January! This is when EVERYONE else starts their wedding vendor search for the coming year and dates fill up so fast.  Also, September is apparently the new June when it comes to prime wedding dates. I am sad to be missing two very dear friend's weddings this year because we already had their dates booked, but we're also feeling extraordinarily blessed to have a full year of work ahead of us. 
More on that later. 
What you need to understand right now is that we lived in that chaos pictured above for about 10 days longer than originally planned because clients and meetings trump packing and moving. And I only had one tantrum about it.

I've picked up a few easy transition skills due to my nomadic tendencies, and this is one pictured above is a favorite. The first belongings I bring to a new house are always very dear to me. It helps me form an attachment to my new home and feel like it's my safe place. This is the "Je t'aime" (I love you) print I got for Tim for his 25th birthday last April and it also served double duty as decoration at our wedding. I know I'm long overdue on telling those stories, but just love me and forgive me. I'll get back into it soon! 
Tim, iPhoning on the office floor before furniture got there. Do you know how dangerous it is to iPhone this way? If you get too relaxed, you're liable to drop your iPhone onto your face, which HURTS and you can guess how I know this to be true. I still do it this way, though. Tim too. We like to live on the edge. 

Snow and 20 degree temps doesn't stop us from asking 6 of our closest to haul our shtuff up to the 3rd floor. Look at these troopers. 
Just look at them I tell you! Amanda (in the red scarf) is 8 months pregnant here--not that you could tell because she's still looking so fine-- and she even helped haul in boxes and load up my new kitchen.
Side note: when Tim got dressed that morning, he specifically said he wanted to wear his yellow hoodie because Peter always wears his own identical yellow hoodie when he has to do manual labor and then they'd match. That's what best grown men friends do I guess? 
Seriously--our friends worked so hard to help us get settled. They got all cold and sweaty and bruised and sore just so we can live comfortably in our new apartment. That was such a gift. 
Our first breakfast in our new apartment. We take breakfast pretty seriously, if you can't tell. 
The view from our new office. 

We are seriously loving Oak Park. It's the perfect blend of city and suburb. We can walk to a grocery store or walk to the El stop and take the train downtown. The architecture is amazing and keeps me so inspired. It's quiet. It's old. It's diverse. It's almost perfect. 

One of the most refreshing aspects of it for me has to do with race relations and city planning. I lived in Kansas City for 5 years before coming here, and as much as I loved that town, it was hard to deal with the after-effects of racist city planning that took place in the early 1900's. Even now, Kansas City people and neighborhoods are very monochromatic and there is little overlap and interdependence between the black and white communities.  Every day as I went from school to work to church, I passed back and forth between two opposing worlds that had such a hard time intertwining. I thought this was normal in the MidWest, but Chicago is proving otherwise to me now.
Especially Oak Park. It turns out that while Kansas City was tightening their hold on segregated neighborhoods, Oak Park was making concerted efforts to integrate the community and enforce fair housing regulations. I can really feel this missing tension when I walk around the Lake Street shopping district, meet my apartment neighbors, or sit in a pew at a neighborhood church on Sundays.  People look each other in their different colored eyes and smile around here, and it's made a wonderful impression on me. 

Have a wonderful Monday, you dear people.


  1. I just love reading your blog. - Just so you know. Continue d'écrire, j'aime lire!:) God Bless!

  2. there's a really good documentary out there about Cabrini Green. i feel like chicago did a whole lot to push african americans as far out as they could.

    kansas city just wants them to stay as far east as possible, it seems.

    it's all wrong.

    i love this post.