Today marks exactly four weeks since we landed on the tarmac at Sky Harbor and felt that first gust of ridiculously hot air rush towards us. Our move to Scottsdale was the first we’ve made where I had little to no expectations coming into it. If anything, I expected to love it. Any Chicagoan’s first reaction to hearing we were going to a perma-hot climate was purely positive. After all, we were moving just post THE worst winter in Chicago’s recent history… and of all places, to the desert.
Our last weeks in Chicago were a blur. We didn’t say no to anything, made plans almost every night, and tried to hit all the places and do all the things we loved during our first year in the city. (Including but certainly not limited to the Lincoln Park Zoo, biking on the lakefront trail and BYO sushi.) By the time June 1 hit, we were pretty darn tired, had gained a GOOD 5 pounds from too many of those famous Chicago eats, and vowed not to drink for at least a week (yea, we’re weak), but d’you know what? We were content. We left knowing that we had had our last hurrah (IF it really does come to that – I don’t believe in goodbyes) and that we were ready for our next adventure. And, I think we did a pretty good job of selling AZ to our friends and were somewhat confident that we’d soon have visitors from across the globe.
So anyway, we landed in Phoenix with our eight suitcases. The same pieces of cheap luggage (although super economical) in which we had lugged our belongings from HK to Chicago. Yes, we got the typical stare downs from strangers at the baggage claim thinking that I’m a high-maintenance, overpacking Tai Tai wife who has nothing better to do than collect shoes and REALLY overpack when going on vacation. I took great pleasure in informing them that we had indeed moved cross-country with little more than 6 pairs of jean shorts, a Hamilton Beach blender, and only 10 pairs of shoes (yes, only). Then they just thought we were nuts. 😉
I’ll be 100% honest and say that our first two weeks here were a little rough. It took us all of 7 seconds to realize we were no longer in a bustling city. ‘Where can we walk? (Nowhere.) Why are there so many chain restaurants and strip malls? WHERE are all the people????’ There was the return of spending altogether too much time in the car… after I had deemed cars the bane of my existence. (That came after crashing my lovely new lease three weeks after getting it.) We missed the family and friends who know us better than anyone else in the world, and felt the burden of having to start all over again. My sadness pangs for HK returned, and now they were coupled with new ones for life in Chicago as well. Poor Jake had to deal with unexpected tears from me at any given time, and although he’s nearly immune to them by now, I knew he was worried I’d never fully adjust to our new home.
So what’s the verdict?? It’s simply this. AZ is phenomenal. It’s not HK, it’s not Chicago. But we’ve been fortunate enough to live in some of the best places on Earth and this is no exception. I’ve learned not to compare it to what we’ve had in the past, and fully embrace it for the new adventure that it is. It’s difficult to explain, but life now is a bit simpler, a bit more wholesome than ever before, and I can’t wait to share a whole new series of stories from AZ… So stay tuned.