Monday, July 17, 2006

It's hard to believe that on August 31, I leave the country for two and a half years. A couple of months ago, I would have ruled out moving back to Chicago when I return – after all, I’ve been ready to leave for at least 12 years (i've lived here for 19! All in the same apartment - except for six weeks at the Holiday Inn Elmhurst when I first got here). I’ve done everything here and within an eight-hour radius. I’m ready for a change and probably need one for personal growth. But as I walk around this summer (and I’m well aware that there is winter here as well as summer) I realize how much I do love Chicago. I love where I live – by the lake where I swim, bike, sun and take walks. Near the Magnificent Mile – even though I am not that much of a shopper, it’s a great walk – and the Hancock Building, which I learned about in my first day of my first civil engineering class, before I switched to major in it. The museums and orchestra and zoo and Ravinia and the Botanical Garden and boat rides – at least I have taken advantage of all of these things. Walking everywhere – the architecture! The free concerts and movies and fireworks – I can see Navy Pier fireworks every week from my roof! The Cubs and the White Sox – there was that one year when I went to sixty games, but I’ve averaged 20 – one a week or so – for years! Easy to get to and a fun outing if not always good baseball – but I did see both teams in the playoffs, and the Blackhawks and Bulls there as well. Trips all over the Midwest – exploring Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana. And I know there are things I’m leaving out. My apartment – I know that through the eyes of others it’s small and cluttered, but I love it and will miss it a lot. Going into the Peace Corps is hard enough, but it is 10…100…1000… times harder because I am moving out of my apartment and putting everything in storage. And my friends – I may not see most of you often – and I know I don’t see any of you often enough – but when we do get together we have a long history and a wonderful time. That said, I still would think the odds are that when I return, it’ll be to somewhere else. I will still be a part of your life and you mine, of course, but if I don’t move back to Chicago, it won’t be the same. No matter what, I’ll come back to visit and you’re welcome to visit me where I am. I thank you and appreciate you for being a part of my life and of my Chicago experience. I’ll miss you!

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