Surviving My Staycation

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It’s been six months since I started my citizenship process and I am oh so close. The only thing I have left is the oath ceremony. The very nice USCIS officer who interviewed me said I should be getting it any minute now, possibly at the end of the month. Just be patient, I told myself when I left. The hard part is over.

But really: WHERE IS MY OATH DATE?

Cause until then I can’t plan anything, not even a small summer getaway. I finally have the time to go wherever my heart pleases without asking the office overlords for permission. I even have the cash. The only thing stopping me? This little date. To clarify, I’m legally allowed to leave the country before my oath ceremony. However, since I’m known for having the worst timing in the history of timing (as evidenced by last year’s Spain debacle), I can’t risk it. To book anything would be to jinx the process. It would mean that my oath would probably be scheduled for the very same day that I fly out to, I don’t know, Bali. This is not something I care to reschedule. I want it over with so I can actually write about another topic.

So, back to Month Six of my self-imposed geographical imprisonment. Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned to hate the word ‘staycation’. It’s not as if I don’t take advantage of Chicago any other time of the year. There is no escape if walking down the main thoroughfare of your neighborhood carries the risk of running into every dude you’ve ever dated in the city. (Note to self: stop dating guys who only hang out in Logan Square.) But I have learned to cope. This is how I’m calming the tempestuous, turbulent, impatient waters of my nomadic heart.

I bought a bike

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Her name is Martha Gellhorn and we have so far managed to stay alive. I’ve only been brave enough to take her out to nearby parks, but there’s nothing wrong with baby steps. I hope. The great thing about being in wheels is that I’m discovering new streets that I never would have gone through, if it weren’t for the fact that I have to follow traffic laws.

I’m pretending to be a mermaid

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I legit don’t understand people who simply sweat out the summer. That’s what bodies of water are for.

I’m taking advantage of any and all free events and entries

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Thank god for museums with free days for residents. I got to check out the Murakami exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art on a very placid Tuesday afternoon.

I’m discovering new cheap eats

Since I’m currently between gigs/careers/lifestyles/existential crises, I’m trying my best to be mindful of my budget. As much as I’ve been able to justify dropping a whole ton of moolah on Next, my ambitions this summer are less showy. Thankfully, Chicago is full of great meals for the debt-ridden Millenial in you. Case in point: Birrieria Zaragoza.

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I’m spending time with friends

Especially this one.

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–INES

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