Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Time in the Chicago Suburb

I was in a far west suburb of Chicago for my internship and about a year after that.  I moved to do my internship on January 2004.  It was a rough move.  The six months before that, I felt like a bit of a transient.  I was living with my sister in one city, yet traveling back and forth to school to stay with some friends.  I was applying for jobs that entire time, but not having any success in finding one.  Then, for the fall semester, I stayed with these friends for the semester.  So, for most of this time, most of my belongings were in storage.  So, I took one car load up with me.  I sent one car load with my parents.  The rest stayed in storage.  The apartment complex had a bunch of weird rules about not moving in the front door due to recent renovation.  So, I got myself there, got my key, and started moving into the back door.  Luckilly, my patio door happened to be on that side of the building.  The thing is, I did this by myself.  I moved in my futon mattress, sans the frame and a large 24 inch T.V. (This was before the nice, skinny flat screens.)  Then, I realized, I had no lights! I also didn't have a shower curtain.  So, I went on the search for Target.  I think I went the wrong direction and found what most would call "The Ghetto Target."  I had a Target card and no money, so, I bought a ton of apartment supplies on credit.  I did end up with one purple popason chair and a bright colored shower curtain with the rest of the bathroom necessities to match it.  That was Friday, and I was starting my internship on Monday.
The first week was mildly rough.  The first day of work, I made it.  I met all of my new coworkers, and I started learning my responsibilities.  When I got home, I was exhausted from being on my feet all day long.
The second day, I go out to my little Hyandai Elantra, and it won't start!  I have a minor freak out.  I start searching the phone book for the phone number of my new company, but I can't find it!  I dial 411, and the operator can't find it!  I know this place exists, because I've already been there once!  Some how, the operator finally finds it when she realizes, I'm looking for a company and not a person.  I get through to my company.  By now, they are worried about me, because I haven't shown up yet. My boss was so nice and kind to me.  He sent his wife to come to my apartment and pick me up. 
As the week goes on, things get better, but my feet get worse! I remember calling my really good friend M. by the third or fourth day, just about in tears because I was in so much pain.  She just kept saying, "It will get better! You'll get used to it!"  My thoughts were, was I really going to be stuck doing physical labor at this job forever?!  This isn't what I signed up for!  But I needed the credits to finish my degree for my internship, so, I kept going. 
The internship did get better, and I received more responsibilities than the physical labor.  The loneliness started to get to me.  I was calling M. on a daily basis.  She had words of wisdom that I truly believe.  It takes one to two years to get fully adjusted socially into a city.  I started filling my time doing things I shouldn't have, like shopping.  I wanted to get a cat or pick up my cat from my sister's, but there was a hefty pet fee for the apartment complex.  My dad convinced me to buy a video game console.  I went out and bought the PS2 with "The Simpson's Hit and Run" game, because that seemed to be what all of my friends where talking about at the time.  I played that game for hours, but that got boring too.  I wasn't going to a church.  I wasn't participating in any music activities.  I was bored and lonely, which is a bad combination.  Then, finally, a couple people at work asked me to hang out with them.  Even though they had been nice to me since day one of my internship, I was too shy at the time to say, "Hey, want to do something?"  So, K. and S. quickly became friends.  At one point, we found out a local resturaunt had Karaoke on Sunday nights, so, we all started going. 
S. K. also introduced me to a game called D.D. R. or Dance Dance Revolution.  This game involves a dance pad with arrows that connects directly to the PS2.  I became obsessed with this game!  We would have whole nights where a group would get together and play the game at someone's house.  Not only was this fun, but it was physical activity!  I started loosing weight.  I lost 40lbs in six months from playing DDR and maybe some of the swimming I was doing at the aparment complex pool. 
The ladies at work the were mothers worried about me like I was one of their own.  We would all even do ladies night with the coworkers and go to dinner together.
I also started going back to the LDS church.  I met new people there and had another group to hang out with.  I was getting closer to my two year point, when the position in Indiana opened up in my company.  Then, I had to make a decision.  Was I going to stay in this place where I was finally making friends but falling more and more financially in debt by the day, or was I going to move to Indiana where my living expenses would be cheaper and I would be closer to my relatives? 

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