Moving into Fall always feels like getting back into the grind for me. I still associate Summer with the footloose and fancy free days of my childhood, even though those vacation-filled and school / work free days are long gone. This time of year is also an Anniversary of when I first moved to Chicago and makes me reminiscent of my first days here back in the 90’s.
Fresh autumnal winds and clear skies didn’t prepare me for the weather I was soon to experience. It was before I realized a great portion of Chicagoans hibernate in the winter. Before I encountered biting winds and understood the importance of settling for a functional coat instead of a cute one. It was the era when I turned down an otherwise great job because I found out I had to wear white jeans.
This time of year makes me reflect on how my life changed when I first came here. I went from being surrounded by family and friends to knowing no one. I had never been to Chicago and I felt drawn to it for no obvious reason, except knowing that I wanted to move and knew where I didn’t want to live. It was simultaneously exhilarating and frightening. I recall feeling intimidated looking at the skyline feeling so small in some place so large.
Though all this might sound dramatic and stressful, it was an extraordinary time for me – and it still is. Those first memories of arriving here, are very special for me. Those who know me well have heard the story (some of them many times) about my first visit to Chicago over a 3 day weekend (to see if I would like it.) Within that time period, I found a job, an apartment, and was on the cover of the Chicago Tribune sports section. My first official day of work, I met my husband. When I think about it now I find it odd, that I had never even met anyone from Chicago until I moved here!
When I fast forward to 2012, I have to smile about how much my life in Chicago has changed since those first days. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the city or me that is different. A place that was so alien and intimidating to me at first, now feels like home. I am grateful for all of the amazing people and opportunities I have encountered here, for the experiences I have had. These thoughts and memories make me especially grateful in September and I’m grateful for you to take the time to read about them!
Welcome to another glorious Autumn wherever you are.