Because we were so inexperienced, we thought that the gas to our stove needed to be hooked up before we could cook. After waiting a week for the gas company to get back to us, a quick visit from maintenance revealed our stupidity. In the meantime, we had a chance to explore all of the great cheap places to eat in our neighborhood, and an excuse to make gazpacho a few times.
Having discovered the gas, the first thing we made was Spanish tortilla. A time-consuming learning experience, and a portent of things to come.
Soon after, we took our first trip up to Northwestern where I would be starting a PhD in Medieval Religious History in September. The campus is strange, a bizarre hodgepodge of architectural styles from Neo-Gothic and Renaissance Revival to Brutalist concrete, but it is right on the lake which somehow makes up for its deficiencies.
Jeff's birthday fell just two weeks after we moved in. After a day at the lake, we got a bit dressed up and went downtown. In a very Jeffrey way, we hadn't made any real plans, but as often happens when you don't try too hard, things turned out really well. We started with Moscow mules and oysters on the half shell at Benny's Chop House, followed by steak tartare, before moving on to Ginza for sushi.
It's taken us a while, but we've finally gotten the apartment to look somewhat finished, nearly eight months later. But we were purposefully slow and deliberate about decorating. I'm proud of how few Ikea pieces we ended up with and how many great finds we've brought home from the Brown Elephant.
There are things left to do——replace the hideous blinds with curtains, recover the chair, buy more plants——but I finally feel proud to invite people over to see our place for the first time.
It would be nice to be able to say that Chicago finally feels like home, but honestly, it's felt like home almost since the beginning. It's a very embracing city. And every piece we've added has been chosen together.
It's always been home; now, it just looks the part.