Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Chicago Bucket List

(UPDATED, 7.30.11)

Two months until I move to Boston, and I have a list of things to do, see, re-do, re-see, and generally absorb in order to feel I can say goodbye to Chicago. In compiling this list, it has been less about "What do I need to do as a Chicagoan," and more about "In six months, what will I wish I had eaten?"

Apparently leaving the Midwest means getting as fat as you can. *Insert dramatic sigh.*

The list, in no order other than as I wrote it (food-related in red):

Take pictures at Buckingham Fountain
Smoque BBQ
Tango Sur (8.30.11)
Spacca Napoli
Kuma's - replaced by Bad Apple (7.21.11)
Peaquod's (7.3.11)
BodyWorlds exhibit at MSI (8.26.11)
Jellyfish exhibit at Shedd/Jazzin' at the Shedd (7.27.11)
AIC (7.4.11)
MCA - Farmer's market at MCA Tuesdays, live jazz Tuesday evenings (7.19.11)
Green City Market Wednesday and Saturday mornings (I go every Sat.)
Hancock Tower (8.20.11)
Willis (SEARS) Tower skybox (6.28.11)
Frank Lloyd Wright House
Butterfly room at Notebaert
Le Coloniale
Davanti Enoteca
Midwest Buddhist Temple meditation (Sunday 9am)
River East Art Center
M Henry (brunch) (7.23.11)
High tea at the Drake
Gospel brunch at House of Blues (8.21.11)
Cubs/Sox game (7.3.11)
Buy a Blackhawks shirt
Acro-yoga (Brent's class, also Marron's Vinyasa class at ID Gym)
Go-Cycle (Angela's class)
YogaView (Suzanne's class)
Namaskar (Lourdes' class)
Chicago School of Hot Yoga (Jessica's class)
Bongo Room (8.31.11)
Harmony Grill
Ann Sather (for cinnamon rolls)
4 Corners bar crawl (8.27.11)
Big Star tacos (8.9.11)
Ferris wheel at Navy Pier
French market (Penny!)
Archery (Brooke!)
Zed 451 (8.12.11)
Kanela brunch (7.16.11)
Drink wine at the beach at moonrise (7.15.11)

Suggestions to add to the list as well as company with whom to complete it are welcome! I plan to update this with dates (in parentheses) as I have things planned. It would be a lovely parting gift to me to see anyone who happens to show up at these places and events as I work my way through them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Departing Gift

Dear Chicago,

I don't know how to say this. I've been over and over it in my head, but there's no easy way to do it...I love you. I'm just not in love with you anymore. We've had an amazing eight years together and I will always cherish our adventures. All the summers at the lake, the skyline, the sporting events and dinners out at your restaurants. I adore our mutual friends and I hope we can all still hang out.

It's just that I've grown a lot in these eight years. I'm not the same girl who found you at 22. I'm more confident and better at taking risks. I know what I want and I'm not afraid to believe in it. Not that I'm ready to raise a family, but I also don't see myself settling down here with you. It's not you, it's me.

Actually, it is a little bit you.

You are so compartmentalized. You separate people into groups and refuse to let them integrate. You are also extremely long-winded and blow around all year long. Not to mention how cold you can be. You have to understand what this does to our relationship - I can't stay home all winter just for the promise of a few great dates in the summer.

Our relationship is isolating as well. You make it difficult to visit other places. You're stuck in the middle of the country and I have an increasing, inexplicable need to be by an ocean.

I was enamored with you as a child, and excited when I finally got here after college. But the sheen was thin and wore off quickly. We had a rocky start while I was teaching - your students, your policemen, your public officials made my life frustrating, depressing and full of defeat - and this has made me wary of your true colors, Chicago. Your smiling skyline may well be a facade; shiny buildings belie color-line struggles and impossible systemic change.

You wooed me back in 2005 as I made countless new friends, re-established my own confidence. I was fooled into thinking I should reward this renewed happiness by staying here when, in fact, you helped me become strong enough to leave you.

It will be hard to end this. Excruciating, actually. You are the first city I fell in love with as an adult. There are few things more beautiful than the sight of you, at night, from Lake Shore Drive. I will always care about you, especially during basketball season.

That said, the rumors are true; I am moving in with my childhood crush, Boston, in September.

Summer fling before I go?

Love always,