I'm often asked when I go home (back to my hometown) how I like living in Chicago. A family member or friend will ask me, and my answer is usually pretty generic, a simple "I love it!" usually will suffice. It's not something I usually have to convince people of, but sometimes I find myself stopping and thinking, wow, I LIVE here. Sure we have the highest sales tax of any city in the country, and sure we live in pretty close quarters and we don't all have backyards, and sometimes the crime rate can be a bit jarring...but for me, those are all just small annoyances over the joy of getting to live in the most amazing city that I know. It was not that long ago, when I was unemployed a few years back, that I briefly toyed with the idea of moving to L.A. or New York to pursue my career. And while I obviously didn't ultimately choose those places over Chicago, I often wondered if I made the right choice. Now I know I most certainly did.
I was at the Taste of Chicago last week with a friend of mine and I thought, I can go to work, travel a short distance, see some live music, eat some good eats and then just hop on the train back home and be there in less than a half hour. Not a bad gig I'd say. I love love love my neighborhood and everything that comes with it. The farmer's market in the summertime that I can walk to, the parks, the gorgeous homes on the Boulevard, the best restaurant in the city right around the corner, the eclectic people that live in my hood, my amazing church filled with some really giving and generous people and one of the sweetest, most selfless priests I have ever had the pleasure of knowing....I love my friends and how we all somehow ended up in this 'hood, how we are all so close and share a very special bond, I love this city in the summertime and I love it even in the wintertime. I love the many opportunities I've had the pleasure of experiencing since I moved here in October of 2000. I love that my husband loves it here too.
As my aunt Linda said at my sister's wedding, "Well, you've found your niche, and you've found where you belong." You are right Aunt Linda. And while I love going home to visit my family, I know that when I pass over the bridge and see the city skyline take shape, that this is HOME and that I am forever indebted to this city where I belong.