This weekend marked the fourth anniversary of the date I closed on my condo and became a first-time homeowner. Jan. 30, 2007. It’s really strange to think that I’ve already spent four years as a Forest Park resident. And though I know I should wait until I hit a milestone year to get all reflective and nostalgic, a slew of recent changes have put me in the mind of looking back.

Having said that, I hope you’ll bear with me as I take a little time to marvel over how much my life has transformed since joining this community. I’m pretty
sure everything I’d like to cover falls in one of two categories:


Going carless: Before the final sign-off on all my mortgage papers, I made the decision to sell my car. The thought of one less monthly payment appealed to me, and being without a vehicle seemed much more doable here than in my old neighborhood, thanks to all the walkable shops and restaurants, and the easy Blue Line access.

Going solo: When I first moved here I was joined by a long-time live-in boyfriend. And though I respect his privacy too much to discuss the particulars, I will say that in 2009 we decided to end our relationship. He moved out, and for the first time ever, I was faced with living alone.

Going animal-friendly: Pets were never an option when my ex and I were sharing space (he had really bad allergies). But after he’d been gone for about nine months, I did some research and adopted my cat Weevil from Oak Park’s Animal Care League. He is the first furry friend I’ve ever owned, and though he’s on the shy side, I’m happy to call him mine.


Going creative: In January 2007, right around the same time I was unpacking boxes, I launched a semi-monthly reading series, Tamale Hut Café Presents, at North Riverside’s Tamale Hut Café. This eclectic literary show has been going strong ever since and recently kicked off its 2011 season.

Going downtown: During my early months living here, I was commuting to an office up in Rosemont. But I quickly grew tired of spending so much time on the train, and started exploring other options. In May 2007, I was offered the first of three positions at the University of Chicago, and gleefully transitioned to a cubicle in the heart of downtown Chicago. These days I’m commuting to Hyde Park, but the work excites me enough that I don’t mind the extra travel time.

Going ambitious: In my last column, I mentioned that I’ve started approaching my personal writing projects with much more discipline and focus. It’s this sort of effort that’s allowed me to contribute my thoughts to this publication and also complete a portion of my novel for my master’s degree.

As I hope you can see, that’s a lot to happen to one person in such a short period! And though these changes could have happened no matter where I lived, I like to give Forest Park credit for ushering in this era of tremendous growth and advancement.

All that’s left is to do is sit back and wait for whatever happens next!