Notes from a New City - One

As many of you know, I recently relocated with my soon-to-be husband to Chicago from Atlanta. While he and I met in Atlanta, and actually grew up in the same town without knowing it, he has deeper roots in the Midwest. To make his dreams of living back home reality, I brought up the idea of living in Chicago for a few years in order to witness a different slice of life. Perfect, right?

For the most part, yes. But I must admit that I grossly miscalculated how lonely and sad I would feel upon moving away from my home, my family, and my friends. I saw myself as an adventurer, someone who had always wanted to move far away, to a bustling city, but just had never seemed to find the time to do it. However, when I got here, every thought of missing something back home slowly crept in until I was a blubbering mess.

This is in no way saying I didn't really dig it initially. No, Chicago is by far one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. Architecturally speaking, I'm not sure another city in the US even comes close to rivaling it. Sorry, NYC, I just think Chicago is 100% prettier. It's so massive I know I'll never see it all. There are so many adventures awaiting us that it seems impossible I might actually be missing Atlanta. And hard.

But I do.

I thought about it for quite sometime and resolved to make changes in my life to embrace my new home and make these years some of the best. I've decided to share these habits and tips to keep readers from being overwhelmed by homesickness, or stuck inside with no social life, in case one of you gets an itch to relocate or finds a job in a new and exciting city. So... here goes; hope it helps!

Part One.

Communication is your friend.

Video Chatting

If you have an iPhone, hooray! FaceTime is going to be that thing you couldn't imagine when you were younger, but couldn't imagine living without now. Plus, with recent improvements to the iPhone you don't even have to have a wifi connection to FaceTime if you own a five, so win-win!

My family is everything to me. I had a REALLY hard time saying goodbye, when I lived so close and could visit anytime, so it's not an exaggeration when I say I'm on FaceTime more than once a week.

Whenever my parents get together with with my siblings, they always make a point to use FaceTime so I can be there too. Plus, two of my three brothers have children and I definitely can't miss that! My brother Adam welcomed a little man right after I moved, and another brother, Tommy, welcomed twins just a few weeks ago. I didn't get to join the family in the waiting room and kiss those babies' cheeks, but at least I got to see those precious bundles just moments after they entered the world. I really can't imagine my life without it.

Cut time out to video chat with your family and friends. Seriously. Grab a calendar and work with everyone to make sure you can get some one-on-one time. People are busy, but that shouldn't stop you from catching up.

Skype is also a great option for those who have computers and a reliable internet connection.

Letters and Postcards

My grandfather is not a man who enjoys talking on the phone (although we did FaceTime with the help of my aunt for almost 30 minutes one night), so it's much easier to keep in touch with him through letters and postcards. Like many of his generation (and location), he's a man with little regard for loving exchanges and mushy talk, so I usually send him a postcard when I visit a new little town, or am doing some touristy stuff in Chicago. He collects these notes and displays them proudly on the refrigerator. While I may not be able to talk to him frequently, I can still show him my affection with these little acts of thoughtfulness. Plus, they're generally pretty inexpensive so it's great for those who can't dish out the money for the iPhone and the monthly bill it requires.


I'm a sucker for Google chat (remember AOL IM?! high school memories right there). Many of my closest friends are on Gchat during the workday, and while I'm not suggesting you chat the day away instead of working, I am suggesting that you reach out occasionally, or, you know, check it out during one of those lunch breaks when you don't leave the desk. Generally, it's a tool to share funny stories or quick jokes throughout the day, and it makes a huge difference if I'm having a rough one!

Sometimes I even send small gifts as surprises to my loved ones to let them know I'm thinking about them. There are so many ways you can communicate -- from email, to telephone, to video chatting on a computer, it's easier than ever to stay in touch!

How do you cope with missing the ones you love?


  1. Great tips, Beth! I've also used an app called Touchnote which allows you to send postcards with photos that you have on your phone. You can type a message and send it out from wherever you are as long as you have an internet/wifi connection. I love it for trips where I forget stamps. It's also great for international trips because the return address is your home address so you don't have to worry about how much postage to put on it. Plus you don't have to rely on generic postcards from gift shops.

    1. I know you're on the road ALL the time. Well, recently at least. I haven't seen touchnote so I'm going to look it up. That's pretty awesome especially with the international travel! You know about EVERYTHING cool. :)

  2. I've learned that Skype works well, but letters are my favorite. There's something wonderful about connecting with people in a different city through hand written notes.

    1. I agree. I have a whole collection of notecards to pick up a moment's notice. It really is the best!

  3. Love these tips! It is so hard to relocate and leave everyone/everything familiar behind. I remember when I first got to England for grad school, I cried so hard that first night. But then I had to dive right in and deal with classes, moving into a new flat, finding my way around town, meeting new people - all of that helped me get through my sadness of leaving my comfortable home behind. It was a new adventure and I was keen to enjoy it. Of course, the holidays and birthdays arrived and all of that homesickness hit me all over again. It was definitely hard, but chatting on the phone with my loved ones really helped. Plus, once I had made some good friends I was able to not feel so homesick - it took time, but it happened. Cripes, even now that I'm back in the states (after living abroad for close to five years) I find myself homesick for England sometimes. Crazy, eh? By the by, postcards were my fave way of keeping in touch with friends!

    1. I'm sure those were some of the best years though! I know I'll look back and want to relive this all. I guess it's just hard in the beginning. And you definitely know that if you went abroad! Such a distance.

      Postcards are a must!!!

  4. Great tips! Moving away has allowed me to get to know new people and places, but I miss my old friends at times. It can get hard, trying to schedule in Skype/FaceTime chats, but I found the old Facebook/emails work. I also try to see them face to face when I'm in town.

    1. Yeah, email is something I coming around to. Isn't that a little strange? For the most part, I communicate with my family through texts and phone calls. Facebook is definitely a life saver!

  5. Ohhhh, Beth! I feel your feelings- I literally moved 5 miles away from my parents (so I see them weekly) and I still had a bit of a hard time adjusting to not seeing my mum all the time, so I can imagine how difficult it must be to be so far away from your friends and family. Even when it's something you really wanted to do, and you're still excited about, it can be really hard. Basically... INTERNET HUG.

    So I have different issues cause I get to see my family in person (YAY) but I am a fan of letters and little presents for internet friends- it's a way of getting off the screen and bringing physical stuff to them so we can all remember that we're real people and also we can meet one day! It's very exciting!

    1. Yeah, it's hard. I don't care what anyone says. I often look back at those first years of being out and thinking about how I'd never occupy a space with my whole family again. It's kinda sad, honestly.

      And surprises are the BEST because I want to meet one person who doesn't love receiving something extra special, picked out just for them! People can send me all the surprises!! :)


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