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,



  1. love. i want to write a letter to every place I've ever lived...

  2. This is perfect! Congrats to you and thanks to Chicago for being a part of your journey. The adventure continues...

  3. So excited to see this up! :) Love it!!