It was week two when we decided to meet our neighbors. Our building seemed completely vacant. The other neighbors we knew had jumped ship a day or two before it was deemed a pandemic. So after 1.5 weeks of thinking we were the only ones left in the building, when we heard our next door neighbor teaching a yoga class we had to knock on their door. We ended up becoming fast friends; she is from Ohio, he is from Venezuela by way of Colorado. She is a yoga instructor, he works in finance. They invited us in and then we decided to order from our favorite Mexican restaurant.
The four of us made a pact that we would wait a week before driving to the Midwest to seek refuge with our respective families. A week came and went, as my husband and I continued to chug along in our computers, using every single new wedding registry gadget and eating our entire fridge until there was just one meal left. Towards the end of the week, we had our neighbors over for dinner to decide what to do next. They decided to weather the storm in NYC, while my husband and I decided right then and there to pack our lives and white-knuckel the 13 hour drive to Chicago.
The day before we left, I was once again on a mission: to leave my house in tiptop shape and to efficiently pack our things without a return date in sight. Leaving that morning felt like we were committing a crime. I felt like I couldn’t tell a lot of people of our plan because it went against what the news was recommending. The lure of more space, surrounded by family and greenery just sounded right in a moment when everything felt wrong.
We arrived in Chicago on March 28th. In my mother-in-laws true fashion, our bed was made, soap and fresh towels were in the bathroom and fresh out of the oven sausage pizza was awaiting us. At first we were just shocked. I remember hugging Chris in disbelief that we had made it to Chicago in one piece. But the feeling that this time was different, that we were not here on holiday but because we had to, because our home was unsafe, lingered.
As days went by, it was easy to get on with a routine. We worked out in the morning, had a big breakfast and worked the majority of the afternoon until we reconvened for the 5:30pm world news with a glass of wine, followed by dinner. For someone who had probably spent 5-6 times EVER with her in-laws, I was spending the quality time that I probably wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for COVID19 and to everyone’s surprise, it was going swimmingly. I never thought I could learn so much about my husband by spending time with his parents. I now know without a doubt where Chris gets his drive to always be learning something new (his dad) and his ability to find good deals (his mom). It also reassured me that although our families come from completely different backgrounds (what could Chicago and Costa Rica possibly have in common?) we are in fact very similar, which makes it easier to spend a lot of time together.
Photo cred: White Diamond Photography