Where are you from?
I am originally from Aurora, Ohio. This is a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.
What brought you to Chicago?
I was very reluctant to move because I had a great job at the Cleveland Clinic as a registered critical care nurse. I had an excellent support system including lifelong friends and my family in my home state. This was difficult to leave behind, but God clearly had bigger and better things in store for me. I came to Chicago because I chose to advance my education. I am getting my Masters in Nursing to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and I received a scholarship at a university here, so I decided to make the move to Chicago for this reason. Vadic (my boyfriend) also had to move to Chicago for work. So we discussed our future plan together and I decided to accept the scholarship and begin my graduate education here.
What do you find challenging about living here?
Chicago is very different from Ohio in terms of people, culture, and environment. This was a large adjustment for me because I did not consider myself a “city-person” when I moved here. The most difficult aspect about living in Chicago is the weather and I miss the metro-parks in Ohio. I am a very outdoorsy person and since Chicago does not have many large parks near by, this is a challenging aspect for me when living here.
Why do you love it?
I love Chicago because of the vast diversity and the opportunity that it provides for people. There are many different cultures and religions that I am exposed to on a daily basis. As a nurse, I am expanding my knowledge on how to care for the various cultures that I see on a regular basis in the healthcare setting. This has been an eye-opening experience for me as a health care provider, which I am so grateful for. I care for many immigrants and underprivileged people groups in my career and have a glimpse into their difficult lives. It is an extremely rewarding experience to assist these people in a very complex period of their lives. I am able to give them resources to survive and help them with their chronic disease processes. My greatest desire is to restore a small piece of their hope in humanity with my career during this controversial time in the States.
Why do you stay?
I have been in Chicago for almost three years now. I will be completing my degree this coming May and that is what has anchored me here for this time period. I have not made any future plans as to where I will be in the next year, but I am grateful for the time I have had in Chicago thus far and how it has grown me as a person. I have also created a network of friends that I am so grateful for and they are definitely a vital factor as to why I have stayed in Chicago. The friends I have made have become like my family since I do not have blood relatives here. Friends that have become so close to me that I consider them family/my support system is a new experience for me, but it has allowed me to feel more comfortable in Chicago in order for me to stay.
How has community affected your time here?
I have worked at two different hospitals since I have been in Chicago and have made amazing connections with coworkers. I have been exposed to different parts of the Chicago community with these jobs and each of them has affected me differently. I previously worked at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which is on the Southside of the city. My coworkers at this hospital came from various walks of life and complex backgrounds. I was able to hear their struggles and walk through difficult phases of their lives with them. My current job is on the north side of Chicago at Advocate Health Care. I am exposed to an entirely different population of people at this job regarding patient population and coworkers. Each workplace has impacted me personally and my perspective on the city. I have grown to love the city through my exposure to these communities and the friendships I have made in my workplace.
Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community? How does it inspire you?
It is inspiring to see all of the cultures that are present in the Chicago community. Each culture brings a creative piece to the city and it amazing to see how the city flourishes from it. Our church (Park Community Church) is an excellent example of this. There are various organizations that they have created to help groups that are in need. Many of which include students, fatherless children, single mothers, and immigrants. This has inspired me to get more involved with the community and care for these people through volunteering or donations.
When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?
I feel most comfortable and empowered when I am either at work or with my close friends that I have made in Chicago. I think this is because I am in an environment that I feel most “at-home” in and I can fully be myself. This is a vulnerable feeling that some people do not get to experience often, and for that reason I am grateful. It is truly a blessing that I have people surrounding me where I know they will accept me for who I am during any phase of my life.
Has living in the city affected your style and the way you approach what you purchase / invest in. If so, how?
I have always been very conscious of my purchases because I had to begin managing my finances when I was 18 years old. This has taught me autonomy from a financial aspect and made me hyperaware of what I do/do not purchase. Chicago is more expensive than Ohio; therefore, this was an adjustment for me in this area. Although my salary as a nurse increased with my relocation to Chicago, graduate school has also impacted the management of my finances. As a result of all of these changes, I have had to adjust my approach so that I can survive while I am in school.
How has Chicago affected your worldview, if at all?
Chicago has affected my worldview in various ways. Ohio is a very conservative state and as a result, the people commonly all think alike. When I first moved to Chicago, I quickly learned that not everyone would agree with what I think or believe. As a result of this, I have learned to become a better listener rather than quickly countering what others believe in or think. This has allowed me to shift my thought processes to be more accepting of others and love them regardless of their worldview. Every person is unique and they come from different walks of life, but this does not necessary make them “bad” or “wrong”. I have adopted better listening techniques so that I can be more accepting of others.
Do you have an experience or a specific encounter here that has moved you/stayed with you that you'd be up for sharing?
I have always had the desire to go on a medical mission trip to help people with my nursing career. This last spring I had the opportunity to travel to Honduras on a medical mission trip with my school. We were able to care for the underprivileged Honduran people and provide them with basic care such as routine vaccines, minor procedures, and maintenance medications. These are resources that are so accessible to us in the States, but we do not even realize the disparity that developing countries struggle with due to their lack of resources. This was an eye-opening experience for me as a person and a medical profession. This amazing opportunity would not have been presented to me if I did not move to Chicago, and for that reason, I am grateful.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your time in Chicago?
I was very reluctant to moving to Chicago because change is very difficult for me. God opened up all of the doors for me to come here and I prayed about the move a lot. I am so close with my family and I did not want to leave them all behind in Ohio. God has blessed me with so many opportunities and friendships that I would have missed out on if I ignored His call to move away from Ohio. Even though it was initially a very difficult transition for me, Chicago has truly changed me for the better.