Hyde Park, My Home
March 5, 2019
Being in Chicago has been an extremely rewarding and reflective experience for me. I’m learning to be alone, and devote time to things I love, like cooking and reading, without feeling the pressure of academics. I have free reign over my schedule and am learning to yield my personal time to valuable experiences and productive spurts. I’m comfortable in an office setting, which is something I previously believed I would dislike. And even though I’ve spent plenty of time without my family, it never gets easier, and that has been reaffirmed this month.
In a new city, it’s easy to isolate and hide from the outside, especially when the outside is cold and gray. I knew that I didn’t want to live alone, I wanted to continue my roommate lifestyle. And that has been so positive for me, and each night I get to cook and chat with three people that I found through the internet, and have been a significant support system for me.
Hyde Park feels like it’s own small city within a city. You can stay in the area and it has everything you need. The danger, of course, is the ease with which I can stay here, and not explore all of Chicago. But because the University is nearby, there is always something to do. I love trivia nights, even if the UChicago teams are intimidating. The coffee shops are great weekend productivity bubbles for me, and all of the different restaurants are a treat. I’ve so glad I decided to live in the area, instead of commuting an hour each day.
There are so many Cornell comforts that I appreciate more now. I no longer eat breakfast in the company of my Cornell Breakfast Club, and my mornings feel a bit slower because of it. Home is no longer just five minutes away from any spot on campus, I can’t forget anything when I leave for the day. My professors aren’t nearby to offer me readings and advice, two things I feel would be wonderfully useful at this point in my experience. Now, the Hilltop Cafe sounds too good to be true, and I would be happy to wait in the Sunday pancake line right now. I miss my roommates, Ellie, Ethan, and Mason, all of whom care for me in different and wonderful ways. I have so many connections and memories at Cornell, and writing this, I now feel like the senior nearing graduation. I am nostalgic and grateful.
Cooking and baking have been so helpful to me these past two months. It is relaxing and healing to create tasty meals, even after a long day. It never feels burdensome or annoying. In this way, I feel very connected to my dad. He is always creative in the kitchen, trying new recipes and working to perfect a pizza dough recipe. I sincerely owe all of my culinary talents to him and Rachel Ray. My dad has encouraged me to cook, to learn how to feed myself, not just PB&Js but yummy meals. This talent has helped me make friends with my roommates and has provided me with my own productive form of self-care.
My family is coming to visit next week. I am so looking forward to eating good food and sharing all of my time with them.
Elizabeth is a sociology and Spanish major from Overland Park, Kansas.