You should have seen the looks I got when I told people in Bali I was going to Chicago in the middle of winter. Chicago’s “polar vortex” made the international news so everyone was well aware of the unbelievably frigid temps this part of the world was experiencing.
Despite them looking at me like I was crazy, and me knowing how horrible Chicago winters are, I knew with certainty Chicago is exactly where I was supposed to go!
In March of 2018, a week before I left Chicago to INDEFINITELY travel the world, my little sister told me she was pregnant. Although I expected her to have children one day, I was shocked by the timing of her announcement…I questioned my plans… Should I stay? Should I purchase a return to ticket to come home for the birth?…
With OVERWHELMING support from both her and my brother-in-law, I left to travel the world … with no plans as to when I’d return…
Baby Judah was born on November 9, 2018, on my very last day in India. At 5am, from the rooftop of a hostel in New Delhi, I face-timed with my brother-in-law, dressed in blue scrubs, and my sister, holding her newborn baby boy on her chest. My heart was so full.
Chicago Called Me Home
A few weeks prior to that, I had just completed yoga teacher training and was hanging out in Rishikesh, India. I was in the midst of a period of clarity and light in my life. A lot of things were starting to make sense. My reason for traveling was coming into focus and I was discovering answers to a lot of life’s big questions through yoga and meditation.
One day I was sitting on the back porch of my hostel, looking out over the Ganges River, talking to my mom on the phone. As any excited soon-to-be-grandma would, she told me all about my sister’s baby shower and the steps everyone was taking to prepare for the arrival of my new niece or nephew (the gender was unknown at the time). This conversation included a brief comment that my sister and brother-in-law where trying to figure out who’d watch the baby when my sister returned to work in February.
My sister is a school social worker so she only had to come up with a daycare solution for the last three months of the school year. Then she’d have the summer off to figure out a long term plan. During that conversation with my mom I felt instantly compelled to come home and spend those three months with my sister’s baby. I tried to keep the thought to myself, not wanting to jump the gun. But before I knew it, I heard myself asking my mom… “do you think it would be helpful if I came to Chicago and took care of the baby while she wraps up the school year?”
My mom responded with hesitation. Not because she didn’t think it was a good idea but because the option never even crossed her mind. My mom, my sister and my brother-in-law are so unbelievably supportive of my non-traditional lifestyle. They treat my traveling with the same respect they treated my career. If I still owned the salon in Vegas, they would have never expected me to close up shop for 3 months to come help. This was no different to them.
After my mom’s initial shock wore off, she told me she thought my sister would be thrilled, but suggested I think about it a little longer before committing.
I made a conscious effort to contemplate the decision by journaling about it and and talking it over with my travel buddies. But, from the minute the idea came to my mind, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do!
So, here I am…
I have been in Chicago taking care of my nephew since my sister went back to work in February. In the morning, before my brother-in-law goes to work, I teach English online to earn a little bit of money. I also do hair a few days a month.
I am staying at my sister’s house which is so much fun. She and I haven’t lived under the same roof since she was a junior in high school. That was over a decade ago! My sister and my brother-in-law are super supportive of my plant based diet. My sister eats a mostly vegan diet and my brother-in-law agreed to be an “at home vegan,” clarifying that he enjoys our vegan cooking but would still like to enjoy a restaurant cheeseburger once and awhile.
They are the best! I couldn’t be more certain that this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now!
I have no freaking clue. What I do know is that I will be here, doing this, until June.
Over spring break, since my sister will be off work for a week, I am going to Vegas! I CANNOT wait to see my Vegas fam and reunite with a few of my longtime clients!
I have a few ideas of what I’d like to do over the summer, and beyond, but I have no desire to get that far ahead of myself! In this moment, I am thoroughly enjoying exactly where I am and what I’m doing!