I was fourteen years old the first time I visited a major city, and within hours I fell hard and fast for Chicago. That week is when I began a life-long relationship with urban architecture, my heart beat with the thrum of an enormous city, and a love of travel lodged in my bones. They say you never truly get over your first love, and for me that seems to be true.
A few years ago my sister moved to downtown Chicago (the Loop and now the South Loop), and the combination of two darling nieces and my first urban crush is too much to resist; I cannot stay away. Every time I visit the Windy City I fall in love all over again. I love the soaring buildings, the glass and steel, the streets and trains, the river through her heart, lake at her back, constant movement on her streets. I seem to soak it up and store it for later.
I spent almost an entire day wandering the city, logging mile after mile, meandering through city blocks and around the parks, the biting wind and gray skies didn’t deter me, I knew my love would keep me warm.
Walking on and on seemed to clear my head, the cold brought me clarity, and the sense of being anonymous in a place so crowded helped me remember parts of myself I had forgotten.
In the almost twenty years (!!!) since my first visit I have continued to fiercely love Chicago, while the outlying neighborhoods are nice and all, I am completely smitten with her core. The architecture, the food (THE FOOD!), the art, the urban-ness and the hustle combined with this Midwestern sensibility and down-to-earth-ness that makes me completely knock-kneed.
Chicago, my love, I’ll never quit you.