"how is med school going?".
so i decided to give our family and friends a little update on our life in chicago (aka med school life).
let me just start by saying it has been AMAZING. in our short 8 months doing this whole med school thing we've both grown so much. individually and as a family. we love chicago and are really just loving life.
(this photo was taken at the very beginning of our little med school journey 8 months ago)
do you ever see each other?: surprisingly more than we both expected. spence has been super great about managing his time and work. but, he always puts me first. which means the world to me. he usually wakes up early and heads to school. classes most of the morning and afternoon. then stays on campus until about 6. in that time he can usually get all of his studying done so we can have our nights together. friday nights we work at the temple. it's one of my favorite nights. we enjoy an hour long drive there, just the two of us. eat sandwiches in the car and just enjoy not thinking about work or school.
weekends are nice, spence will study saturday mornings while i clean and such and then we have date night saturday night. sundays are just us days. and i love it that way.
so all in all we do see each other a bit. my work schedule is crazy so it matches up. test weeks are different. spence studies till about 10pm each night and all day on saturdays. but i get to hang out with my girl friends so i'm not all alone.
is spence liking school?: i ask him this all the time. haha i worry he won't love it and then we're paying for something he doesn't love. but good thing he really does like school. he loves learning new things. he is always coming home to tell me about a new disease he learned about. one involved microwave popcorn and so now spence gets mad at me when i make some (which is about once a week). for the most part he is really liking school.
northwestern just started a new curriculum that has been interesting. they wanted to get their students in clinical settings starting year 1. this has been a good thing and a bad thing. spence loves working with his dr. in his clinic weekly but it does take away from study time. there are days where he is just wall to wall and then has the stress of studying. this part he doesn't love. it really is a more stressed non-stop lifestyle we are living. not ideal but we're working through it.
does spence know what he wants to go into?: nope, not yet. he has a few ideas and front runners but for the most part he is keeping an open mind. i love when he comes home after learning aobut a new speciailty. some really interest him while others don't. it's fun to see what he gets excited about. most recently they studied the lung system. a few specialties interested him in that area (don't ask me what they are called...i don't do medical talk). he is still interested in orthopedic surgery as well. ear, nose, and throat is on that list as well. it's fun having so many options.
he is doing research with a radiologist which is really cool. he doesn't love just pure radiology but interventional radiology interests him. either way the dr. he is doing research with is really great and told him he can help in any residency program he wants to go into. good news for us!
do we like chicago?: yes and no. for the most part we love it. and it's even better with a car (finally drove ours out during christmas break). living in a big city is really fun. there is always something fun to do. we are making our "chicago adventure book" and slowly working through different things. i hope we can make it through the whole book before we move (thats how many awesome things there are). we love living close to the lake. it is beautiful and a nice break from the tall buildings of city life. we live outside of downtown in a cute little neighborhood that we love. some fun restaurants and close to wrigley field. in the summer we can hear the cheer of the crowd! we also live about 6 blocks from a target. a dream for me.
we love going downtown and window shopping. we'll usually get some dinner at one of our favorite places and just enjoy the busy city. i love these nights. it's so fun to be downtown with everyone and be able to call this place home. it is nice to jump on the train and head home to a little quieter neighborhood!
but, we don't love the weather. i knew this would be the case when we were looking into california and arizona schools but it's the truth. hopefully it will start warming up and we'll be outside more. parking is also a pain in the butt. having a car is nice but we tend to not leave the house after 8pm in fear we won't find a spot when we get back. friday nights after the temple are the worse. we usually have to park a few blocks up which is actually a really good parking spot considering.
lack of good chain restaurants. this may sound funny to most people but we aren't really foodies. i love a good new place just like the next person but sometimes i just want to go eat someplace that is fairly cheap and i know what i'm getting. i want a zupas or olive garden. i guess chicagoians are more foodie than we are. but...we have found a few great places to eat that are our favorites. we're slowly getting better at trying new places.
how is our ward?: i love this question because i LOVE our ward. when we were first looking into moving to chicago we wanted to live in the downtown ward boundaries. after searching and searching we found our home. it wasn't in the downtown ward boundaries but we felt so strongly we needed to live here. so we figured it would be great no matter what. boy was i surprised. i felt so loved and welcomed our first sunday. we talk about moving but our rule is that we can't move out of our ward.
we have made the best of friends that are more like family to us. it's a small ward and fairly young (though not as young as the downtown ward). we have some great young families that we look up to as wonderful examples and who have the most hilarious kids. being in primary was our favorite. we were both called as primary teachers when we first moved it. we first taught the senior primary (yes the whole senior primary....3 kids) and then were moved to the sunbeam class (6 hilarious kids. see the age difference in our ward???). a few weeks ago i was called into the relief society presidency and have to say goodbye to our little sunbeams, which makes me really sad. spence is still helping out in the primary until they can call someone else. honestly i think he is better in there than i am. he is so great with the kids and they adore him.
how am i doing?: i am doing great. my job is keeping me super busy which is nice. i am so grateful for my job, those i work with and in all honesty my income. it is so nice being able to pay for our living expenses and some of spence's schooling. student loans help with the rest of his tuition but thats about it.
i have a great group of girlfriends that really help me out. we get together almost weekly and i love it. i love seeing spence finally living his dream. i do miss him during test weeks and when i travel but we're working on that. i have grown to love our "little" city and love exploring. we have big plans for this summer thats for sure.
so there you have it. 8 months in and we are doing great. northwestern was never our #1 choice but looking back it really should have been. chicago has been great to us. the school is incredible and is perfect for spence. our friends are our lifesavers and truly our chicago family. we are so lucky to be here, in chicago, with spence going to an incredible med school.
we can't believe we're almost through the first year. so strange to think this time last year we had no idea where we would be. now chicago is our home!