Where has the time gone?

18 08 2009

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Evanston for over a week already – the time has really flown by.  I think it’s even harder to believe that in only a few more days I’ll be heading off on KWEST.  There’s been so much going on, and it seems the pace is only going to quicken from here:

  • Last Thursday’s TG (happy hour) in Chicago was a lot of fun.  It seemed like a large portion of the people there were from my class, and it was great to meet a bunch of my new classmates as well as to see people I met at DAK again.  After the TG, I went back to Evanston with a few classmates for dinner then drinks at Nevin’s.  Very fun times.
  • Saturday night was a big kick-off party for anyone from my class who had arrived in Evanston already.  There were easily over 150 people there, and it was great meeting even more classmates.  So far all the people I’ve met have completely lived up to the Kellogg stereotype of being friendly and down to earth, and I’m looking forward to spending the next 2 years together.  There’s another kick-off party on Thursday for anyone who arrived in Evanston after the first one, which I’m sure will also be a lot of fun.
  • On Sunday I met one of my friends in Chicago for lunch.  As we were walking back to her apartment afterwards, we saw the US Air Force Thunderbirds flying over the city as part of the Chicago Air and Water Show.  I’ve never seen an air show in person, and even though we couldn’t see their entire performance it still was pretty amazing to watch.  I think the most incredible part was how fast they would fly below the level of the downtown skyscrapers.  We saw one plane go screaming down Michigan Avenue before making a tight turn to curl around the buildings downtown.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me because it really was a sight to see.
  • My apartment is finally all but unpacked.  I just need to pick up some hooks to hang the couple pictures I brought and go food shopping and I’ll be all set.  Now that all my stuff is here and not in boxes, it’s really starting to feel like home.
  • A few days ago I went to the NU campus to get my new student ID and walk around the campus a bit.  I have to say it really is a beautiful campus.  My undergrad university was in the middle of a city so the campus had a very urban feel to it without a whole lot of open space, so it’s nice to have more of a stereotypical campus here.  I didn’t get to the lakefront part of campus, but will probably go back before KWEST and hopefully will remember my camera this time.
  • One bit of news that I’m not real happy about is that the sale of my condo back in NJ still hasn’t closed.  I heard from my lawyer last Thursday that the buyers’ lawyer said it would be next Thurs or Friday, but still nothing.  I’m trying to get my lawyer back on the phone to figure out what’s going on.  My realtor told me yesterday that she heard from a “reliable source” (I interpreted that as the buyers’ realtor since my realtor and their realtor work in the same office) that the buyers are now targeting an early September close.  I’m no attorney, but since our contract says the closing date was August 6 I don’t know how they can unilaterally decide to close in September without being in breach of contract.  I think it’s time to start playing some hardball.  I really want to get this done this week, since between KWEST and CIM I won’t have a ton of time to deal with it after this week.

Greetings from Evanston

13 08 2009

I made it!  Well actually I made it a few days ago but only just got internet installed yesterday afternoon.  The drive out wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared.  One of my friends drove out here with me and it definitely helped make the time go by very quickly.  It was kind of interesting to see the landscape.  I had never really driven past eastern Pennsylvania, so my whole experience with places like Ohio and Indiana was from 35,000 feet.  It definitely gave me a new appreciation for just how big the country is to drive for so long and only be about 1/3 of the way across.  As interesting as the drive was, I was glad on Sunday morning to see the Chicago skyline rise from the horizon.  My friend and I then spent the rest of Sunday, plus Monday and Tuesday being tourists in Chicago.  We went to a few museums (the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see), walked through Grant and Millenium Park (the Bean is very cool), and visited the Hancock Center and Sears Tower – I’m refusing to call it the Willis Tower.  By far the highlight of the tour around the city was the “Ledges” at Sears Tower.  It was a little unsettling to step out onto what seemed to be a very thin piece of glass 103 stories above the ground, but also a pretty incredible sight.  It was a really great weekend and a fun way to get better acquainted with my new city.

I’ll admit that when I finally arrived in Evanston, I had a moment of complete shock and unease about what I was getting myself into.  The past few weeks had been so emotionally stressful, between saying goodbye to my friends and family, selling my condo, and moving out here – I think it all sort of hit me at once.  However, those feelings passed pretty quickly and since my friend left to go back to NJ on Tuesday afternoon I have been way too busy to think about missing people (cue foreshadowing).  Despite how much students told us how busy we were, I was actually surprised how quickly my calendar started to fill up.  To give a sense of what’s been keeping me busy:

  • Tuesday night I had dinner with a few former colleagues who are here in Chicago
  • Wednesday morning my furniture and belongings arrived at my apartment, with very minimal damage (so far the only casualties are 2 wine glasses and a coffee mug, and most importantly the big ticket items all arrived unscathed).  As soon as the movers left my apartment, I met for coffee with another former colleague who is currently doing an MBA at Berkeley, and is considering applying to Ph.D. programs – including Kellogg’s.  I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking, then met up with a few classmates for drinks last night.
  • Today I’m continuing to unpack, as well as making trips to IKEA and Target to pick up a few things I need for the apartment.  Tonight there’s a happy hour for Kellogg students and alumni in Chicago, and I imagine people will be going out for drinks afterwards as well.

If the past few days are any indication, it’s going to be a very fun – and very busy – 2 years.  I’m sure that the time will fly by very quickly, so I want to make sure that along the way I’m taking the time to enjoy and appreciate the experience.

Moving Day

6 08 2009

Well, actually yesterday was moving day. After all the preparations and packing, the moving company came bright and early yesterday morning to pick up my stuff. Two hours later, all my worldly possessions were loaded on the back of a truck, and I was left with a completely empty condo. It was a little strange, even without any of my things, the condo still felt like home. As I did a final walk through the condo to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, part of me still couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be back there again. As much as it wasn’t my dream home, it was my home for the past 5 years and there were a lot of good memories made there. So now, I’m staying with my sister for a few days until I leave for Evanston on Saturday. I really can’t wait to get going. I’ve never been real good with goodbyes, and I feel like the past few weeks have been one extended goodbye – to my family, to my friends, to my job and coworkers – and I’m ready to get past the goodbye phase and get to the “meeting new friends and starting school” phase. That phase sounds like a lot more fun.

One bit of frustrating news from yesterday: the closing date on the sale of my condo has been delayed until probably next week. Originally the closing was supposed to be today (hence my moving out yesterday), but my buyers’ mortgage paperwork isn’t finalized yet so we can’t close. The mortgage has been approved, thankfully, so it’s not a huge issue, just a matter of the bank having all the paperwork in order. So since the close will happen after I leave town, I’m meeting my attorney this morning to sign all the closing paperwork (it still amazes me how much paperwork is involved with real estate transactions), then he’ll handle the closing on my behalf. If that is the biggest hiccup involved with this move, I will count myself a lucky man.

One week to go

1 08 2009

One week from today, I leave NJ and begin my trip to Evanston, arriving next Sunday (with my stuff hopefully a few days behind me).  I know I’ve said this before, but I really can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by.  For so long, going back to school was almost an abstract concept – something I’d do in the future, or next year, or this fall.  Now to have it so close, to be faced with the details of the move and of starting school – which class to choose (I chose Marketing), did I remember to set up electricity in my new apartment (yes, I did), etc. – it finally feels real.  Reminding me just how real it is, my sister and her husband are throwing me a going away BBQ today, with my immediate family and closest friends invited.  It’s strange, I know it’ll be a lot of fun but at the same time it’s also a little sad that this will be the last time I see some of them for a while.  I don’t really know why I’m having such a hard time with this.  After all, for most of the past 3 years I travelled a lot for work, and there were several times I didn’t see my friends for long stretches of time because of our schedules.  For some reason this feels different.  I don’t know, I really think I just need to get the move over with and for KWEST and school to start.  I think the downside of being unemployed with little to do other than get ready for the move is that it gives my mind way too much time to think about stuff like this.

Otherwise the preparations for the move are going very well.  I’m pretty much all packed other than things that I’m going to wait until the last minute to pack (clothes I’m taking with me, laptop, TV, etc.).  I’ve made a few trips to my mom’s house to bring some stuff I’m going to keep in storage there the next 2 years, and thrown out a lot of stuff that I realized I never used or needed anymore.  In that way moving is good, it really forces you to look at what you have and get rid of a bunch of stuff.  I’m all set with the moving company.  The only last second hitch to come up is with the condo sale.  Apparently the buyer’s mortgage hasn’t been finalized yet so we may need to push back the closing date a bit.  Shouldn’t be a huge issue (as long as they ultimately get a mortgage), I can always just sign the paperwork before I go and leave it with my attorney to deal with at the closing.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed, if this deal falls apart now it’ll be a huge setback.