like all real love stories, ours began with one simple choice. i decided, completely on a whim, that i did not want to move to washington, d.c. after i graduated. to this day, i can't really explain why, other than the fact that i just knew in the bottom of my heart, that my adult life was not waiting for me in our nation's capital. and so, after lots of planning, a few google searches, and restless nights filled with thoughts of "oh my god what am i doing?", i moved to a city where i knew no one. i was 22 years old, i was 1200 miles from my family and my best friends, and i had nothing more than 3 suitcases and my very favorite purple longchamp. (RIP!)
to say it was love at first sight would be a lie. i was overwhelmed - my "extensive" research of random google image searches didn't prepare me for the fact that chicago is actually a huge city. i got lost constantly. i didn't have a car. i wasn't used to public transportation. it was hot. my roommates were strangers. on my third day of work, a 1st grader asked me in all earnest, "why are you so white?" what was this winter i kept hearing about, and how in the world could you wear two pairs of pants to work? what exactly is lake effect snow? why are there signs that said "if the snow is over 5 inches, you cannot park here." uhhhhhh, people drive when there were more than 5 inches of snow on the road?!?!?!?!
and despite all of these worries, and concerns and second guessing, "will this work out" i fell in love with you. i love you because you are a massive city that never ceases to surprise me. i love you because you are beaten down by relentlessly cold and unbearable winters and yet you provide the most wonderfully mild summers one could ask for. i love you because you offer BYOB restaurants, a beautiful skyline, clean streets, and the most beautiful christmas season i have ever seen. five years later, i stumble upon a neighborhood, a restaurant, a bar, a festival, a concert, something new that i've never seen but would love to try. i love you because you are home to millennium park, the magnificent mile, buckingham fountain and goose island's 3-1-2. i love you because you provided me the opportunity to live in a championship city, to see oprah winfrey live, and while i didn't vote for him, i will always remember how unified and proud chicago was as obama was elected to be our president. i love you because you didn't get the olympics, and so the world will not have the opportunity to ridicule you and criticize you for your shortcomings. i love you because you are a big city with a small town feel. you are inhabited by nice, sincere, polite, and genuine people, all of who feel extremely fortunate to call you home. i love you because you have blessed me with some of the truest friends i will ever have, and at the foundation of our love for each other, is our shared love for you.
i love you because you were the setting for where i fell in love with the man i share my life with. the backdrop to the beginning of our story happens to be the most beautiful and marvelous place we've had the pleasure of inhabiting, and for that, we will be forever grateful.
and so i leave you, just short of five years of our meeting. we have had ups, and we have most certainly had downs, but like all love stories, i know that i will slowly forget the bad, and embellish the good. thank you chicago, for being one of the truest loves i have ever had. i will miss you so.