Emily: “So I suppose this is it.
George: I suppose it is.
Emily: [hugs George, holds on]
George: You have to let go, Emily.
Emily: But what if I don’t want to, George? What if…what if this is a mistake?
George: Then that’s what you need to find out.”
Well, Chicago and I are no more. I left today after having moved my belongings last week, and I’m not sure when I’m set to return. And if I’m honest, driving away, I wasn’t that sad about it, but it was really weird to change my car clock to Eastern Standard Time. Strange how of all things, that made it seem most official.
It’s taken me a few years to get to the point where I was ready and brave enough to move away. I finally got to the point when all the things that I once loved so much about the Windy City, I started to not love anymore. The city has changed much in the last ten years, as have I, and sadly we’d grown apart.
Nevertheless, it’ll always be part of me. It’ll be where I had my first real job. Where I learned how to rock climb and trapeze and throw clay and stand-up paddle board. Where I became a triathlete. Where I had my heart broken, really broken, for the first time, and where I made the best group of friends that anyone could ever hope to be lucky enough to have. Where I launched my blog and co-founded Chicagogrammers. Where I gained ten pounds eating allthefood. Where I became a pet parent. Where I became the #Thisis35 me.
Sure, there are many things that I’ll be sad about leaving behind. I’ll miss my friends, no question. My job is on that list, too (dear God I was a mess my last day crying all the way home). However, the memories that I have from my time here…well, those hopefully will be with me for many, many years to come, and when stories pop into my head, they’ll no doubt elicit a smile or a chuckle and all will be well.
Like how I moved here, I had a broken foot and then almost exactly a year later, broke the same foot. For my first two Chicago summers, I was in a boot.
Like how I was lucky enough to have the best roommate, and how every Friday night for almost three years, Watermelon and I would order chinese food from House of Hunan and watch “Say Yes to the Dress” before going to bed at 9:30.
Like how Apple Crisp and I would go to every midnight showing of Harry Potter, and one year we actually slept in her office so that we didn’t have to go all the way back home at 3 AM when the movie was over.
Like the time that Lima, Gnocchi and I ran a glow in the dark 5K and then proceeded to go to a bar to dance the night away in our sweaty shirts and tennis shoes, alongside bachelorettes in their stilettos.
Life how every week for the first few years that I lived here, five girlfriends and I would get together every single week to drink martinis in a very “Sex and the City” way.
Or when after training for three months for a half marathon, Fava, Legume and I celebrated with a “we’re so hungry we must eat now” brunch at the Waffle House, despite all intentions of going somewhere much fancier.
Or when Fava, her sister and I won third place in the relay division in the Chicago triathlon (below).
Or when Tomato and I decided to go to the Indy 500 at the last minute and ended up sleeping in my car the night before in her friend’s driveway (above, left).
Or when Grape and I, aged not 26, acted like we were 26 at Little Grape’s birthday, only to be sent home, over-served, in a cab at 10 pm.
Or when Grape, Donut, Apple Crisp and I all played hooky for the day and went boating, followed by beach volleyball, only to have the best summer day EVER, still not to be topped.
Or when Tomato moved here and we went to see Jason Aldean at Wrigley, and the night ended with me leaving Tomato in her apartment, asleep, holding a half-eaten McDonald’s hamburger.
Or when I went to the hospital to meet my first “nephew.”
Or when the Cubs won the World Series.
Or where last night, my very last night in Chicago, Kettle Corn and I went to see our favorite cover band at a venue where the average age was 24, and both of us were ma’am-ed, separately, and neither of us could get over it.
Where I had so many great adventures and where I’ll no doubt have a few more.
Thanks, Chicago. It’s been a great (almost) ten years. Be seeing you, soon.
Look for my Chicago city guides, coming soon!
Written whilst with Kettle Corn.