I make no effort to hide the fact that I love Chicago.
I have great memories of running around Hyde Park, and exploring things like the Lincoln Park Zoo and Wrigley Field, when I was a small child visiting my Gram. In fact, I think it was the large park near her apartment, the architecture*, and the Middle Eastern restaurant down the street that sparked this love affair. Her neighborhood felt like home. I loved her apartment—the bay windows, the old door handles, the painted white radiators, the back porch overlooking the shared yard…
It’s been over 20 years and that love and excitement hasn’t died at all. I’ve lived here for 5 ½ years now, and though I do have a case of wanderlust and love traveling, this is home. Now, the people here definitely have a large part in that feeling, but it’s more than just my “Chicago Family” that keeps me here.
There is so much history here, and I feel like I’ll never stop learning new things about this city. (In fact, I just spent about half an hour falling through a rabbit hole of my neighborhood’s history…) The number of parks that we have, and the summer concerts and festivals and movies that they hold. The museums, zoo, and aquarium. The theaters. The boat tours. The local music scene. The independent book stores. The transit system. The startup community. The literature that comes from here (seriously, read some Dybek). The arts—especially the outdoor pieces scattered throughout the city. Our sports teams and our city’s pride in them. The neighborhoods and communities. The lake. The architecture. I just cannot get over how much I love about this city.
It’s not perfect, yes there is crime and corruption… and yeah, sometimes the winters can be harsh. But you can always find some fault wherever you are. Though Yorktown will always be my hometown, and Goshen—and even Chengdu—will always hold a special place in my heart and memories, I haven’t felt this same connection to any other city. No other place drew me in to drop anchor. Maybe one day that will change and I’ll pack my bags for the next adventure… but damn it, Chicago, you’re beautiful. You’re where I want to be.
*Yes, even as a little kid I couldn’t get over just how amazing and beautiful all these buildings were/are.
**I’m consciously trying to take more photos of the city on Instagram, showing just the day-to-day of Chicago. They won’t necessarily be typical Chicago pictures, but they’ll be photos of my Chicago. Now if only I could decide on what hashtag I want to use for these…