8 Tips for Temporary Big City Living

Gather round, friends, and let Auntie Kelly tell you a bit about her first week in Chicago. (Campus living and staying at a friend’s house in the suburbs don’t count).

Right now I’m sitting with my feet up on a coffee table (I’m grossed out too, I’m just more lazy than anything else), eating popcorn, and looking out my loft’s window that goes from ceiling to floor. My new place is entirely too far up into the sky. My ears pop on the elevator, and the last time my ears popped because of altitude it was accompanied by a lady in navy saying, “Thank you for choosing Southwest Airlines!” It’s nice, though. I shouldn’t complain. The roommates are sweet, I have a roof over my head, my boyfriend lives close by, I have jobs, and the view out of this freakish window really isn’t half bad.

View from my window in the clouds. I paid that fog to roll in and look dramatic.

When people here ask me where I’m from, at some point in the conversation I normally tell them, “My high school was surrounded by cornfields.” They laugh and ask how I’m liking the city. The truth is, I do like the city. It’s a big change from where I grew up, lived, loved, worked, made friends, and graduated, but it’s a nice change of pace.There are huge pros and huge cons, obviously, but that’s for another day.

Today, for your convenience and enjoyment, I’ve compiled a list of tips for—wait for the center alignment—

Temporary Big City Living

1. If you think WiFi is included in your rent, double check, because they might be lying. If you think laundry is included in your rent, double check, because they might be lying. Matter of fact, it might be best to just assume anyone who wants your money is lying to you.

2. If your particular “Big City” is Chicago, take advantage of the 17,000,000,000 pizza places. Deep dish, by the slice, stuffed crust, Chicago-style, etc., etc. This place has another bit of heaven on every corner you see. If your particular “Big City” is not Chicago, please go read descriptions of Chicago pizza online and tell your landlord a family emergency is causing you to terminate your lease early. Don’t look at me like that…you gotta do what you gotta do.

3. Cut down your wardrobe. I’ve probably bagged up enough shirts and skirts to clothe a small nation (meaning both petite and few). You think you’re going to have space for all that? City bedrooms are the sizes of broom closets, and I didn’t know it was possible to feel any more motherly toward Harry Potter and what he went through. Freakin’ Dursleys.

4. Scope out the area. Even if you’re only going to be somewhere for a month, take 1 hour out of 1 afternoon to simply walk a mile or two radius around your place. This is especially helpful when you get lost coming home from work, because the sketch-lookin Chinese restaurant on the corner—Mao Bing? Pow Bowl? Lil Bow Wow? It was something like that—becomes a landmark in your head. Today, Friday, was the first day I did not have to turn around a single time to get home. Thank you all for believing in me.

5. Live somewhere close to Target.

6. Live somewhere close to Target.

7. Live somewhere close to Target. No joke, my boyfriend and I have been there 3 times in 5 days. And we’re out of food again. This would normally be annoying, except it gives us an excellent excuse to get pizza tonight. People use hashtags on blogs, right? #pizza #pizza #pizza

8. If you can only bring a portion of your belongings, make sure they are the necessities. These include but are not limited to: laundry detergent (dagnabbit) and bedsheets. Although the past week has made me question whether or not bedsheets are really necessary…Mom? Are you reading this? Don’t send me sheets. Alexis is bringing them to me on Sunday. Seriously, Mom. Don’t mail anything.

If you find yourself traveling soon, refer back to these at regular intervals and you’ll be golden. And if you don’t find yourself traveling soon, ask yourself why not? There’s so much world to see, so many things to forget to pack, and so many memories to make, look back, and laugh at later.

Before you go:

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