My adventures in dating and how I found a unicorn

Due to popular demand, I am writing this blog post late on a Sunday night in regards to my adventures in dating. This is an ongoing narrative, but thought I’d give an update in the dating life of Jen.

Some background: I have been in full-time school since June 8th, and I have a 1 year old who keeps me busy when she’s not with her sitter (about 2-3 days a week) or her dad (every other weekend). To put it simply, I don’t really have time to date. I am looking for something very specific, I actually made a list. Ideally, I want to meet and be pursued by the man God has for me. I have a very specific plan that includes marriage in the future. I will list below what I want out of the man in my life, which has guided me in my decisions towards who I date and who I say bye to.

*He’s ambitious
*He’s open-minded
*He’s intelligent
*He’s passionate
*He’s family oriented
*He’s kind and sweet to me
*He accepts me for who I am
*I must be able to learn from him
*He wants to be my closest friend
*He enjoys learning
*He loves trying new things
*He knows who he is
*He’s on his journey of finding his purpose
*His heart is pure
*His soul is raw and real

Through my experience, I tend to have very specific preferences. Ever since February of this year, I’ve been very interested and honed in on black men in the medical field. I dated a pharmacist from March to June, and I went back to the dating apps about two weeks ago. That’s when the adventure started. I was striking out on the app until last week Saturday I was inspired, drank some wine, and started swiping away. I started talking to some interesting people, video chatted with one in particular and we agreed to meet the next morning for coffee. We met, and he was super cute and really tall (6’4″) but after thinking further, I determined he wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I also, indubitably, got distracted by someone more engaging. This guy just kept texting me these awful and hilarious jokes. At first I thought he was yet another guy trying to get in my pants, but he turned out to be so much more.

After texting all day Sunday and Monday, we decide to last minute meet on Monday night. We go out for food and the connection is undeniable. I literally can’t stop laughing all night long, the next day my face hurts as I teach my lesson in my internship. He is one of the two guys I’ve ever met and felt this instant connection with. So much, I start thinking there’s something not right about the situation. My fears are confirmed on Wednesday afternoon when he texts me that he’s moving to Boston in August for the job of a lifetime: to be a doctor at Harvard University Teaching Hospital. He basically asks me if I want to move forward and try a long distance relationship (insert gasp here). Day 4. LDR. Understandably, I start thinking about the pros and cons. I actually take the next 24 hours to process things, ask others their opinions, and make a pros and cons list. The pros outweigh the cons, and I agree to continue to see him until he moves on August 3rd.

We spend Thursday night, and Saturday night together. I meet his friends Saturday night and have a great night with him and them in the city (both downtown and in Lakeview). We both are currently in the same mindset that we will take things one day at a time. I won’t lie, I already looked at flights to Boston and texted my bestie Joyce who lives in Boston to tell her I want to come (pending covid status).

Someone tell me to wake up. This guy is too great but is it only because he’s moving away? Has anyone been in a long distance relationship? Did it work out? Or no?

Picture of me attached. I refuse to take a picture of us because there is no us unless we somehow weather the storm of the impending distance between us.

On to the next! To be continued…

Growth comes from discomfort

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely aware of the many protests occurring in order to bring about changes in regards to how people of color (POC) are treated. This is not a new fight, it’s actually been going on for hundreds of years. The hate crimes/ police brutality are not new either, they are just being video taped more regularly thanks to technology. Through everything though, we as a people know that change won’t come from us just sitting at home. We must unite, protest and march together to bring about change. White people along with people of color must come together to bring about the needed changes. We must not remain silent.

It’s easy to see discomfort is a necessary thing to endure in order to grow as a nation, as a community, and as humans. A lot of people get stuck. A lot of people get comfortable. Many people are so comfortable, they’re miserable. Actually I personally know several people who are comfortably broke. So broke they can’t even feed their own children, and yet won’t step out of their comfort zone to relieve some of their expenses or make more money.

Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Calvin Coolidge says “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

I, for one, know that I am not happy with my current financial situation. I also know that I have the power to change it. I want to grow not only financially, but also spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I want to help students learn and better their lives through science and beyond. I know I have to face some discomfort, I actually get really nervous giving presentations/speeches. Especially on video. And here I am jumping into teaching (likely virtually) starting in July. So I know it will be uncomfortable. I know it’ll be hard. I also know it’ll be worth it. I will be exhausted but also full of joy.

What area of your life are you trying to grow or change? Are you sitting idle hoping for things to just magically get better, or are you putting yourself out there to get uncomfortable and force yourself to change?

The Incomplete Book of Running review

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a local celebrity, Peter Sagal, who just so happens to live in Oak Park, runs, and is a host of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! AND he wrote a book that is supposed to be about running, but actually touches so much more.

20190208_075148.jpg

Peter has a story that isn’t completely different from mine. Although his divorce sounded much messier than mine (kids were involved) we both went through a divorce and we both turned to running to help heal our emotional wounds. While you may be thinking why or how would running help you? It’s not just the act of running but actually more so the act of running with others that helped me the most. Back in 2017, I entered the year married but separated. Married but divorce was legally pending thanks to my husband who filed right before the holidays. I was getting push back from my soon-to-be ex over credit card balances, video game systems, and microchip registration for our pets.

I was seeing my therapist weekly as well as reading a book and meditating daily, as well as working out as much as possible only to survive and rise above everything falling apart around me.

When Michael Chitwood came to my new church that I had just started attending the last two months to talk about his story and the Chicago Marathon, I felt a shift in my heart. And I heard God tell me that this was the year I was to train and run my first marathon ever. Everyone, including Michael, said it would be life changing. But I really didn’t know what he meant until I witnessed the transformation within me. There’s something about lacing up and sweating it out for minutes and then hours at a time with people. Things you never think to talk about come out. And there’s no judgment, because just when you think you’re the only one who’s going through struggles, your running friends have struggles of their own.

Through running, I’ve learned that no one is perfect. We all lace up for different reasons. Some of us run slow (me) and some run fast (Peter). But at the end, we’re all bettering ourselves. Whether we’re running the local 5K or the Boston Marathon, we are bettering ourselves. I love how Peter talks about running. He’s ran 14 marathons, and he didn’t start until he was 40. Despite all the odds, he qualified for Boston and has a crazy marathon PR of 3 hours and 9 minutes.

He also survived through his divorce that spanned years, and is now no longer running marathons, but still lacing up and inspiring others to do the same. If you’re on the fence of whether to start running or not, or if you’re an experienced runner, I would recommend this book either way. Peter provides insight into the world of running that I haven’t seen elsewhere. And writes in a very easy way to understand. This is a relatable book, even if you haven’t ran a marathon or not planning to.

Chicago at night

There’s not much better place than the city I call home at night. Today’s post is a picture post and while I couldn’t find one picture I liked the most, I narrowed it down to two pictures of the city at night.

Being in the city in the summer at night is always my favorite thing to do. These two pictures are different seasons, though. The left is winter and the right is summer. I do get out in the winter too. 😉

What’s your favorite city to be in at night?

Open for Business: Mini Target

target-express-oak-parkYay Target!

The cutest Target opened up this past week in Oak Park, IL. It’s one of eight small format stores in the Chicagoland area, and as an Oak Park resident I couldn’t be happier.

No longer are the days I’d have to cross the busy street of Harlem to go to Walgreens to pay for over-priced convenience-store items (i.e. Gwen Stefani Revlon Makeup). Now, it’s as easy as walking comfortably a few blocks from where I live to get any and all of my Target (Trademark) store needs (and those I have aplenty).

While there is even the added bonus of a mini Starbucks (hello, coffee!) there is a part of me that is sad over the opening of this store. First of all, it’s at the bottom of a new high-rise that’s now a part of the Oak Park skyline. Which, since I’m new to the area, I don’t really know Oak Park without it. So that’s fine. But a part of me does worry how this Target will affect the little guys. You know, the small local businesses of Oak Park. Which I personally like to try and support as much as I can.

I’m an avid fan of these local businesses and always out and about looking for more to add to this list.

Local Businesses I love

batman-wedding-cake

What businesses do you frequent in Oak Park? How do you feel about the new Target? I was in there the other night and look forward to utilizing the store when needed. Especially on those days I don’t feel like driving and would rather walk around my beautiful Oak Park neighborhood.

Modern art

On September 23rd I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago to see the acclaimed Takashi Murakami exhibit: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg. It was the last weekend to see the exhibit, so I bought some tickets beforehand and was able to snag an early time to avoid most of the crowds.

The art was beyond anything I’d ever seen before (very interesting!). And the stories/ideas behind it were amazing to learn about. I spent about an hour exploring the exhibit and another 45 minutes seeing the rest of the museum. The entire museum is pretty small, which is nice as we know most museums can be overwhelmingly large and tend to take a day or more to take in everything.

Please enjoy my pictures below. Did you check out this exhibit? If so, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Do you even riot, bro?

Riot Fest Chicago 2017 was this past weekend. It was only my second time attending Riot Fest, but I’ve attended similar music festivals (i.e. Lollapalooza) many times. This past weekend was a blast!

Friday night opened up with amazing acts like New Order and Nine Inch Nails. Saturday I took it easy, and Sunday I partied the hardest with The Vuluptuous Horror of Karen Black and Prophets of Rage. Overall, an amazing weekend of talent and entertainment. Before the fest, I ran 20 miles on Thursday morning for Chicago marathon training. I hit the gym twice (Friday & Saturday) and I made it to church on Sunday morning. I had 4 days off work and I feel like I definitely got the most I could out of my time off.

The only bummer part was Paschen being sick and missing Friday & Saturday of the fest, but we made up for it on Sunday. Epic. I also ran into my cousin on Sunday after we kept missing each other on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the photos, and if you’d like to see some videos check out my instagram @tanoshii66

 

 

At first, because of the crowds, I was tentative to go next year, but I think it’s worth it to attend this festival again in the future. Did you go to Riot Fest? Did you enjoy it? Would you go again? Do you like concerts? Do you even riot, bro? 🙂

Wonder Woman – Wizard World 2017

Last weekend, I attended my first Wizard World Comic Con here in Chicago. I went dressed as Wonder Woman, and I had a great time. Everyone was very nice and no one was too critical.

I got to see lots of other fellow cosplayers dressed up as many different characters, ranging from cartoon/anime to TV show and movie characters. I even saw an adult man dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things. My favorite, by far, were the storm troopers and anything Star Wars related. It made me miss my Han Solo costume.

But I had a great time actually dressed like a female hero for once. Who should I be next?

 

Anything but Ordinary

IMG_20170721_072027

You’re everywhere I look
No matter how hard I try
You have me hooked
A new kind of high

I’ve been deep in denial
But I’m a bad liar
Good thing I’m not on trial
My pants would catch on fire

I’m anything but ordinary
Not the easiest to catch
My past has made me wary
Even harder to become attached

There couldn’t be a more beautiful you
You have your own scars
But you couldn’t be more true
I could stay right where we are

But we push each other forward
Further than I ever thought I’d go
Becoming life explorers
Continuing to grow

Not your traditional poem, this one was made from the songs in my head.

Aladdin the musical

For my birthday, I saw Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago with Nathen.  I had heard it was amazing, but had a feeling it may be a little corny (you know, Disney corny). I also wasn’t sure how they would portray Abu the monkey and Iago the parrot, which could definitely be distracting if done wrong. But it surpassed my expectations!

 

 

First of all, instead of Abu the monkey, they gave Aladdin three human friends with three different personalities. This made a lot more sense than a talking monkey. And Iago was also a person, basically Jafar’s sidekick. Iago was funny, and so were Aladdin’s friends. They still kept the overall personalities and didn’t soil them. Good move, Disney.

Beyond that, the Genie song “Friend Like Me” was hands-down the best part of the entire musical. You can tell they put a lot into that song production, and it was amazing to watch. Also, the magic carpet ride “A Whole New World” was really well done. The visuals were entrancing. I would highly recommend this musical to everyone, young and old included.

Have you seen Aladdin? Or any other musical recently? Comment below your favorite musical! What should I see next?