I was so deep in thought this morning about this very post that I got on the wrong train and ended up joy riding around the Loop. I suppose it's fitting since I was thinking about this city and it's people and all that it's meant to me over the past three years. I have changed just. so. much. in the three years that I've been here, probably more so than any other point in my life, with the exception of maybe ages 0-3. I came here on what was really a whim, driving all night from Virginia in a caravan with my roommate across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. I'll never forget taking the Skyway into Chicago around 8 o'clock the next morning and knowing that I was about to embark on my next great adventure. I've had a lot of great adventures in my life and I'm sure that Dallas will be the next fun chapter, but despite the fact that this move was completely instigated by me, I'm feeling a bit of trepidation as we spend our final days here in Illinois. Before we got married, I made it fairly clear to Adam that I wanted to return to Texas someday. As much as I have enjoyed being a true urbanite, I don't see a future for us and a potential family in the heart of the city. The burbs of Chicago just don't hold any promise for me, personally, since we have zero family here and I'm not interested in Adam taking a 45 minute to an hour train ride in for work every day (also, the record breaking winters that I have survived didn't exactly help the cause). I like to say that we outgrew our condo the moment I moved in, there is very little in the way of closet storage and the kitchen is entirely dysfunctional for us to ever have people over for a proper dinner. The search for a job in Texas for Adam was a long process full of anticipation, a bit of heartbreak and stress. I firmly believe that the best opportunity presented itself by the grace of God, so we are headed to the state we were both born in to hopefully raise a family (not anytime soon) and carve out a good life for ourselves. The happy reasons for our move (family, friends, cheaper and BIGGER living space, cars) don't make it any easier to leave this life behind. So here is my thanks to the city that gave me so many gifts and to the people that made the stay so much more than pleasant...
To Chicago: I got precisely what I was looking for when I came here, the opportunity to live a truly urban life. I loved my little neighborhood off the Blue Line and reliable transportation to get me to and from work (I'm looking at you, DC. Frankly, your transit options sucked). I was able to afford a pleasant life on my own and I had the chance to see a few different places of the country and the world, just by being based here.
To United Airlines: There aren't many companies that allow their employees to freely move from base location on their own personal whims. I was also lucky to have the gift of travel throughout my stay here so that my family was never too far away from me. Also, I've had the best health benefits ever while I lived in Illinois and I highly doubt I'll ever see insurance as amazing as what I've had for little cost to me.
To My Roommates: These two faithful and brave people came here with me, despite the fact that we knew very few people here. I'm so thankful for our Thanksgiving dinner we all shared while we lived in our little apartment in Logan Square, it will always be one of my favorite memories of my time spent here.
To Crossroads Public House: Despite the fact that I really don't care for the food, it's a decent bar and home of the Hokies in Chicago. It will always hold a special place in my heart for being the place that completely changed the course of so many lives, all because my dear friend dragged me there. Two strong marriages resulted from one football party.
To Our Friends Here (that can be found at Butch McGuire's on summer Sundays): It took me a really long time to find friends that I could call my own here in the city, since I was basically absorbed into Adam's friend groups. Despite the fact that you may have known Adam a little longer than you've known me, I appreciate that you have accepted me with open arms in the good times and bad. Given some of my experiences here, it means more to me than you might know. I will miss each one of you every time we turn on a Bears or Blackhawks game.
It's been a crazy ride. I've known happiness that I never knew existed but I've also had complete moments of despair. Every time and feeling has taught me valuable lessons that I'm grateful to have learned. Getting on the plane to Dallas on Labor Day is turning out to be more bittersweet than I thought it would be.