Sunday, April 19, 2009


My wife and I were talking earlier this week about why we have to leave Orlando. In the short time we've been here, we realized just how important an environment is. We are Chicagoans, and we need subways, busy streets, diverse neighborhoods, a music scene and an abundance of bicyclists at all hours on all roads. Those are just a few of the things we need, and Orlando offers none of it. We have been out of our element for half a year, and it has been really difficult to even want to go out on a weekend evening.

We haven't just been uncomfortable in this environment, we have been unhappy. There's only so much living that we can do within our own heads. There comes a point when our surroundings seep in and effect us. 

More than ever, I've seen the importance of community living. People in this town aren't really as invested in their neighborhoods. They don't need to be. We've been to the Farmer's Markets, we've tried to go to a couple independent shops and art galleries, but everything seems like reaching. Nothing feels authentic around here. And even though I'm a very good bull-shitter, I loathe dishonesty. 

We've been like a couple of fish out of the water and into a desert. We were forced to adapt in a place that we are not meant to adapt to, and we have been dying. So because of this, we easily agreed that we HAD to leave Orlando. We knew why we had to leave, but we didn't know how.

Jaclyn has been working part-time, basically keeping us alive financially. I have been picking up my emotional pieces, but I haven't received any job leads in the meantime. But about a week ago, we went ahead and scheduled a moving truck for the end of May. We decided that we were just going to do it. We didn't know how we were even going to afford the moving truck, but we knew that this was a decision that we had to make.

Earlier this week, we felt stuck. We had decided to move, but neither of us had job leads. Jaclyn and I sat in our living room, and sitting so near to each other we tried to figure out "how" this was going to work. Jaclyn didn't feel very hopeful about the situation. And even though I had no idea what we were going to do, I knew with some sort of instinctual certainty that we had to get the hell out of Florida.

"You know what," I said, "Don't worry about it. We know WHY we have to leave. The HOW will figure itself out. One way or another, we'll be alright."

I'm not sure if saying that made Jaclyn feel any better about our unpromising spontaneity, but what happened next did.

Jaclyn's phone rang. It was the Lincoln Park Zoo, offering her a job.

We can call it a coincidence, but I don't care, I call it God. We have been given a shot in the arm of hope, something we haven't had since leaving Chicago. Jaclyn starts working the first week of May, and we'll be back on our bikes, cruising down Damen and Milwaukee before we can even reflect on how miserable life has been for the past half-year.

We've learned a lot being down here in this hell hole. Especially about marriage. Jaclyn and I probably love each other more today than when we first met in high school. We've become better friends, and we know how important it is to lean on each other in difficult times.

And as I already said, we've discovered how vital it is to live in the proper environment. We will probably never make a big move again without first REALLY checking out the town.

And in the meantime, I learned to not put any sort of trust in a company that calls itself "christian." If anything, I trust these institutions less now. I will never again work for a "christian" company.

But whether we've learned stuff or not from this experience, the important thing is that we're coming home. I have been living in sin by living in Florida. But I have also been humbled. And now it's time to get redeemed.  We're coming home folks. It's not a triumphant return, but it's the happiest return I'll ever make. If you thought I loved Chicago before, wait until you see me this summer!

1 comment:

The Great I'm Not said...

Man that's awesome. Good for you guys.