One of our goals this year was to explore more neighborhoods in Chicago. When we first moved, I think it's safe to say we only knew the West Loop, and maybe a little bit of the Loop just from mainstream tourism. So on a rare, wintry afternoon with both of us free, we bundled up and found ourselves in Garfield Park. More specifically, the Garfield Park Conservatory - a beautiful, gigantic greenhouse full of greenery and fruits, cacti and ferns. Like seriously, a giant room full of ferns. It brought out my inner crazy plant lady, and I still want a giant fiddle leaf fig tree in our home now. I imagine it sitting next to our imaginary bar cart that's all furnished with fancy doodads and pretty glasses. Clearly the #tinyasianhome has some work left, but we've got more important things to acknowledge today.
A year ago, we were waiting impatiently for March to come around. Safe to say we had our fair share of arguments prior to sending in those match lists. A little because stubborn me just wanted to be a homebody and stay in Indianapolis. A lot because I hadn't made a huge shift in my brain. An important shift. A mindset that went from looking out just for myself to looking out for both of us. Taking his goals and putting them side by side with mine. Even with three years of dating, I was still being awfully selfish - expecting him to do a lot and honestly... not doing much back.
That's been one of the biggest changes I've been making since last year. The change being that the relationship feels a little more balanced. We both make financial decisions for our condo. I manage my work benefits on my own and he does his. I get off my lazy ass and do the dishes just as much as he does. We've split up house work into realms we enjoy - he gets the groceries (the savings gives him a high), I sweep the floor and clean the counters borderline obsessively (like mother, like daughter). This sounds so ridiculous, but with this shift I feel more like a strong, independent woman than I have ever felt before. Even when I'm in a serious relationship with someone who I admire and love. Especially in a world that is so riddled with controversy, criticisms, harsh words and terrible actions - to be in a relationship in where I am an equal, and where my opinions are respected, is invaluable. I hesitate to call it a gift or a blessing, because it's something we work hard to strive for every damn day. But dang, does it make me feel good.
So here's to you, the other half of the tiny asians, my best friend who will eat donuts with me, who will convince me to watch movies I think will suck but end up being amazing, who will hold me when I cry after a hard day and celebrate with me even at the smallest victories. We're far from perfect, but working through this relationship has become a precious journey. And here are some photos from our little date out to the conservatory, because around this time of the year I always become particularly mushy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Have a wonderful end of the week, friends.