8 years

I was 21 years and 21 days old on that rainy Thursday morning. Daddy dropped me off at the Amtrak train station in East Lansing. Separated by a window, we waved to each other,  both trying but failing to hold back tears.

My parents and sisters had helped me move in to my studio apartment the previous Sunday, then we all drove back to Michigan where I enjoyed my last 3 days as a full time Michigan resident. And then daddy dropped me off on his way to work. I took my large suitcase, my 1 way ticket, and boarded the train. I didn't start work until Monday but I wanted a weekend in Chicago to get my bearings.

I remember pulling into Union Station and knowing my apartment was off of the Fullerton red line stop which I got to just fine. I knew I had to walk east and figured I'd know my street when I saw it. But I quickly encountered a six way stop (Halsted/Lincoln/Fullerton) and realized I couldn't find my house! So I called the apartment finder agency that had hooked me up with my lease and asked for directions. Thankfully, I found the building in short order. I turned the key in my lock and walked through the front door of the only place I had ever lived besides my parents' home. The lights were off so only the gray light of the late afternoon was coming through my inner-courtyard windows. I remember looking at the space around me - all 420 sq feet of it - and smiling quietly. I sat on the edge of my bed and heard a soft rain begin to fall. My smile grew, as I knew it was a housewarming present from God because He knew how much I loved rain.

It is incredible to look back and realize everything that has transpired in 8 years. I was a quiet, scared, heart broken girl that day, but excited and thankful for a new beginning. My sister told me recently that my family never thought I would actually stay - it was just a whim or something I needed to get out of my system. I myself used to say I was "temporarily displaced" and had no intention of staying. But my career grew over time, my friend group expanded quickly, volunteer opportunities arose that I gave my heart and soul to. And then I met the most wonderful man and I knew that for the rest of my life wherever he was, that's where I would be too. So here we are and here we'll stay, 2 months or 20 years, until the next thing comes that calls us away.

Happy 8 year anniversary to me. So thankful for blessings too many to count. 

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