To get the full effect of this post, you need to be like me and have the song, Walking in Memphis, playing in your head. The lyrics may not be 100% applicable, but I kept hearing the chorus play over and over again.
I woke up early this morning to get a workout in before meeting a high school friend, Stef, for brunch. Stef has been living in Chicago for 4 years, which I discovered through Facebook when I first moved here; however, we’d only communicated over email a few times since then. It wasn’t until my mom ran into her back in Hampton (my hometown in Pittsburgh, PA) that we finally made concrete plans to meet up. My mom and her had a great conversation, only to realize that Stef and I have been going through many of the same things- ie. pros and cons about life as a twentysomething year old, single female in The Windy City. Anyways, Stef happened to catch en episode of the new show, Chicago’s Best, and discovered Hearty Boys in Lakeview/Boystown at 3819 N. Broadway. I got the Lemon Berry Cous Cous (A little too sweet, but wonderful. Served with fresh fruit and yogurt.) and Stef had the Morning Shepard’s Pie and Roasted Pear Bellini. Check out Hearty Boys for yourself at http://heartyboys.com/hearty/index.html.
I love what Steve the owner says on the video: People are freaks about brunch. Yes sir! I could eat brunch food at any time during the day.
Stef and I had a good time catching up over our delicious brunch, and I really think this is the beginning of many future brunches and hangout sessions with her. As I said over brunch, in lieu of our conversation, it’s not easy being a young single female in this city. Like my parents, hers put pressure on her to ‘make friends’ and do not understand what it’s really like to live here. Honestly, for all of you tourists who love Chi-town, keep it that way! Because once you move here, it’s an entirely different place.
After brunch I decided to make the best of a gorgeous Sunday morning, and since I was in the neighborhood already, I headed over to Wrigley Field to take some photos and enjoy the warm weather. Oh by the way, I should mention that there was a Cubs’ home game.
This is the first site of Wrigley Field that I saw, with the El just so happening to be running through my view at the time. As I got closer to the stadium I was surrounded by Cubs fans. For those of you who have never been to Wrigley Field, it is perfectly implanted into the middle of a neighborhood (Lakeview/ Wrigleyville). To paint a visual, walking through the neighborhood always seems to remind me of the the Short North/ Victorian Village neighborhood I lived in back in Columbus, OH. It’s a fairly residential area for Chicago, but then all of a sudden there is one of the most famous and popular MLB stadiums.
While the history of Wrigley Field and enjoyment of Wrigleyville’s bar scene, I cannot find the words to fully describe the atmosphere around Wrigleyville on a Cubs’ home game day. It’s magical. Especially right now at the beginning of the season on a gorgeous day like today. It’s moments like these when 1) I love living in Chicago; and 2) It feels like home to me.
I spent about an hour walking around the stadium taking photos (some for my dad), browsing around the Cubs’ stores (no purchases made due to current financial woes), and interacting with fans and vendors. (One vendor called me ‘beautiful’ and another said ‘my day is better now’ after responding to his hello…yes, both were far from my ‘type’, but not homeless so I guess this counts as getting hit on. Unless they were drunk.)
I really could have spend all day walking around and taking photos, but I decided it was best to head back to my apartment. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Wrigley, and I opted to explore unfamiliar streets in hopes of discovering new things and places…making me feel more comfortable with my neighborhood. It’s funny. I’ve been here for 18 months now and there is so much to explore! I realize that after last weekend’s adventures with Julie, Laura, and Morgan, and it’s days like today where I’ve acted upon that thought instead of thinking. This is evidence that the dreamer has become a ‘doer’.
Last summer I applied for a job in Columbus and was 99% sure that I would move back if offered the position. (Which I wasn’t.) However, (literally) during the final interview I discovered that I was ready to move back and/or I wasn’t ready to leave Chicago. It’s been almost a year and I know that ‘that feeling’ was more than just instinct. As I said to my mom this weekend, I can see myself moving back to Columbus one day, but not today. Even though my life is far from perfect, I do believe that I’m where I need to be. For some reason, Chicago is helping me grow in ways that I never even knew were possible. As my mom said, and I love her for recognizing this, “You wouldn’t be able to grow like this if you were in Columbus.” She’s right. I compared Columbus to Kent State- where I went to college my freshman year (meeting Julie). At Kent & Columbus, I was in my comfort zone (in multiple ways); however, I wasn’t really challenged. I am someone who needs to be challenged. Chicago challenges me every day, and that’s what is helping me grow- stronger and braver- and become who I’m capable of being.
That makes me think of this graphic that Adriana emailed me last fall/winter, in the beginning of what has become a beautiful friendship.
I have this hanging up at my desk at work and I cannot tell you how many times I really look at it to ease my anxiety/disgust. I hope it provides you the same comfort that it provides me.
On my walk back to the apartment, I thought of Alisha and how great it would be to explore the city with her- giving her the opportunity to take photos (which is her hobby and talent). Actually, when I got home I decided to invite her and her family/friends to Chicago this summer and hopefully we can figure out a weekend that works for them. I also saw a guy who in the distance resembled Casey. I used to have such a difficult time in a situation like this, but instead of looking awhile (out of discomfort/pain) I kept looking. He is part of the person I was and still am…and for that I will always be grateful. Last year it was so painful, but here I am today letting go of something I deemed impossible for the last 6.5 years. Writing this now, I can finally say that I’m letting myself live and (trying to) love again- and let someone love me.