To all my Crafty Coin followers, friends, and family –
I want to say thank you for your love and support over these past 4 months as Ty and I have transitioned from Chicagoans to New Yorkers and all the adventures in between. It’s been fun, it’s been exhausting, and it’s been expensive. But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world! I wanted to share with you where life has taken us since we left Chicago at the end of June.
Just two short weeks after getting married, Ty and I moved from our hometown in North Dakota to Chicago. For the past 3 years, this was the place where we made our first home together. But we always knew Chicago was a stepping stone for us; New York was always in the back of our minds. So when we finally made the decision to move to the Big Apple, we took this transitional time to pursue my decade-long dream of volunteering in Africa.
It was strange to know for almost a year that we were leaving Chicago. It seemed to take forever for the day to come, but once it finally arrived, I couldn’t figure out where time had gone. Our original plan was to sell ALL of our stuff and land in NYC with only the clothes on our back. But after a chain of events, we decided to keep just enough to fill a small car, sold and donated all the rest, and emptied our apartment.
Volunteering in Africa
I don’t even know where to begin. This adventure was a year in the making and a decade of dreaming. Since I was 16, I’ve always had this tug to volunteer in Africa and immerse myself in the culture. And after more than 10 years, the tug got so strong I couldn’t ignore it any longer. We started planning this adventure late last summer. About a month into it, my mom asked if she could come along. Without hesitation, Ty and I both said yes. She retired early, flew to Chicago, joined us in our last week in the Windy City helping get our affairs in order, and on June 30th, my mom, my husband, and I all boarded the plane to Malawi (well first to Toronto, then to Ethiopia, then finally Malawi). 36 hours of traveling later, we arrived.
The 10 weeks we spent in Lilongwe, Malawi are memories I’ll cherish forever. There were great days and not so great days. There was culture shock and emotionally trying times. There were so many smiles and even more laughter and the hugs from the kids we worked with were priceless. It was a long time coming, and it was all worth it.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
Side note: If you’re interested in volunteering in Malawi, Ty and I have taken on the roles of Volunteer Coordinators and would love to chat more with you about our experience and the opportunity for you to do the same! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Round-trip tickets from the States to Malawi cost $,2000. I hacked my way into finding us tickets from USA>Malawi>Switzerland>Italy>France>Ireland>USA for $1,900. Being the deal lover I am, I couldn’t pass this up. Plus Ty and I were jobless and free, so we figured why not take this opportunity to travel a bit.
My best friend and her husband live in Bordeaux (check out her blog Blooming in Bordeaux!), so we made it a priority to visit them and all other destinations were based on cheap flights. We spent two weeks traveling through Europe and it was so needed. It was a time of relaxation and reflection (and hot showers and so much good food).
Moving to New York City
We landed in New York on September 22nd and crashed on our friend’s air mattress for two whole weeks. (What a good friend, right?!) Time went by surprisingly quickly. We spent our days apartment hunting, applying to jobs, and getting acquainted with our new city.
We had booked tickets back to Chicago for October 6th to pick up the few things we’d left there, and by the time we took off, we’d secured ourselves an apartment, Ty had accepted a new job, and I had my 3rd interview for a company I was excited about lined up. We were in a good place.
Now we are three whole weeks into living in our Washington Heights apartment in Manhattan. We love our location, we love our neighbors, and we are so happy to finally have a real bed to sleep in. I’m back to cooking and I’m trying to get back to cleaning (I’m the worst). We are still figuring out how to budget in our new city – our rent is double what it was in Chicago! But New York City already feels like home.
I’ll be sharing more details about each of these adventures, but I wanted to give you all a snippet. Thanks for following along and love you all!