You had me at O’Hare

Dear Chicago,

Today, I compete one year of calling you home. And very happy to. You had me at O’Hare. I’ve always been asked how it was settling down into a new city and country. I think I would say that it wasn’t difficult, simply because I never felt out of place. Feeling at ease from the day I got here, I know that you and I, we were just meant to be.

The time we met was serendipitous, and couldn’t have been better planned, I can confidently say now when I look back in hindsight. I came here, well, officially to study, but also as part of my bigger vision which was truly to discover an undiscovered version of myself. And you, with your multifaceted, versatile personality called out to me.

In this past one year, I’ve had an entire bevy of Chi town moments that I wouldn’t exchange for anything else. Late night walks around downtown. My early morning running sessions to the beach, where I’d sit in reflection mode often. The fireworks on the 4th of July. Sailing on Lake Michigan. Watching the entire city in all its beauty from the top of the Ferris wheel on the Navy pier. My first Chicago snowfall. Comedy at Second City. An entire list of coffee shops and restaurants that became go to jaunts. The relationships I made. And added to that of course, an intense academic education at a stellar institution, one that has left me richer in mind, ability and resilience. And every big and small experience within that. Almost overwhelmed by everything I’ve gone through in the past one year, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that in this one year roller coaster ride, I’ve lived an entire lifetime on its own.

I know not where I will go from here, but I do know that you, Chicago, will have a piece of my heart always. One where carefully stored to be treasured, are every bittersweet experience. Whether it was seeing you in four seasons, each as different as the other, from the brutal winter to the gorgeous summer. Or from the gourmet popcorn at Garrett to the deep dish from Giordano to the Nutella crepes at Eataly. From watching you celebrate when the Cubs won the World series (a rather humorous time because I celebrated jubilantly without having ever watched a single game of football, to seeing you as a white sheet of frozen snow in the infamous Chicago winter. You are much loved, Chicago. You are truly are.

Love,

Now, A Chi town native

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