When I moved from Chicago, I left behind multiple volunteer positions. Now that I’m settled into my home and Bruno and I have a good routine down, I was ready to give back again.
My first volunteer shift at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry was tonight and it was wonderful. Each Wednesday and Saturday, the pantry opens its doors to those in need to collect groceries. My role tonight was as shopping assistant; this means I helped people pick what food they wanted to take home with them.
All of the shoppers were extremely grateful and happy. When a fellow volunteer asked one woman how she was doing, she had a big smile on her face, saying, “I’m blessed. I will have a meal tonight.” She then choked up, and said, “I didn’t have anything to eat last night.” I also got a little choked up, but tried not to show it when she came to my station.
I love living in Oak Park for many reasons, one including how nice everyone always is. All of the fellow volunteers were extremely friendly.
As soon as I got home, I signed up for a monthly slot! It was a great evening and I’m looking forward to going back.
I love Chicago. It took me a few years, a bunch of new friends, and multiple jobs I enjoy for me to like it, but I have learned to love this city. With its cultural sites, multitude of parks, plethora of exciting restaurants, and never-ending new bar scene, Chicago is pretty great. Yet, when I decided it was time to buy a condo, Oak Park was my #1 choice. There are multiple reasons why OP seems to be the place for me at this time in my life, and the biggest one is I wanted a community (i.e. a place I could call home, a vibing yoga scene, good schools for my future children, friends nearby, and so on).
At the same time that I’m excited to move to Oak Park, I’m also sad as can be to leave Chicago. I know it’s not far – technically 10 minutes by train! I admit I have stated on many occasions how much I disdain the suburbs. But, OP is cool, I promise! Sure, there are a few chain restaurants that end in an ‘s, but not very many! And there’s a booming downtown with nary a strip mall in sight. There’s a restaurant scene, and a bar scene, and (hopefully!) a singles’ scene. So while I loathe the suburbs, I don’t think of Oak Park as a suburb – it’s more like an extension of Chicago. A sparkly, expensive, pretty extension of Chicago.
And while it’s not far from the city (it even touches Chicago!!), it’ll be a little trickier to go to all of the places I really like here on a regular basis. So, I’ve made a Chicago bucket list! I leave Chicago in just over a month, so let me know if you want to join me in saying “See you soon! It’s not forever! I promise I’ll be back real soon!” at one of these places.
Continue reading Adulting: Buying a Condo, Part III: …in the SUBURBS