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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Commuting News: No more CTA, two hours a day!

When we moved to Evanston in 2011, I didn't work for six months and joked that I finally took my maternity leave(s). With baby #1 I went back to work in 7 days and with baby #2, I was back at work in 10 days. Staying home with a newborn was much less appealing than working and I had a wonderful husband who was willing to stay with the babies until preschool. So when we moved from El Paso to Chicago, I cashed in my maternity leave with the Universe and my family and didn't work for six months! That is a crazy long time for me to not work and I did nothing productive - AT ALL! Mostly I just made friends in our new city and learned where things like schools, grocery stores and post offices were. Okay, I was partially productive, but I didn't hike the Pacific Coast Trail or write a book during the six month break.

After six months being a lazy bum, I found a job on the southside of the Chicago in Bronzeville, either a 45 minute drive (with no traffic) or a one hour and ten minute CTA train ride. Several locals tried to tell me that the commute would kill me, but I took the job with the intention to stay five years to build my Chicago resume. I lasted 18 months and granted the commute wasn't the only reason I left, it was 80% of it.

In addition to not wanting a commute (at all) I wanted to be able to walk to work or ride a bike in under 30 minutes. Why couldn't my life be 100% walkable? Lots of people lived in Evanston and walked to Northwestern? Why couldn't that be my life too? I wanted a job in Evanston and was very determined to find one. After lots of lunches, meetings and networking, I found a job with a great company less than one mile from my house. I can walk in under 13 minutes, and I'm confident the bike ride will be about 7 minutes. Many of my new friends think I am magic for landing the job, but I know I am laser focused and annoying when it comes to getting what I want.

My last week on the CTA commuting to work, I savored every single minute. I took lots of shoes photos, which I had been doing all year (I'll post a slide show soon). I finished a fantastic book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. And I said "goodbye" to every single booth worker and conductor. In fact, I managed to get the booth worker to take a photo with me on my last morning commute. We both hadn't done our makeup yet and had very little interest in taking a photo, but I convinced her it was commemorative and wouldn't go anywhere too public.

Goodbye commute on the CTA, hello walk to work! Stay tuned for lots of photos of my walk, who knows what I'll find.


Thank you for reading my blog Evanston Newbie, a blog dedicated to helping you too fall in love with the City of Evanston, just like I did. If you have any questions or need to get in touch with me about this blog, Evanston, or anything else you can email me at Also feel free to send me announcements about upcoming Evanston events and I will promote them here!

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