City Connection

Chicago
I spent the summer before I graduated in the beautiful city of Chicago. I was interning at an Improv Comedy Company, doing all their graphic design and photography work. Growing up surrounded by farm fields, I always had to fight off the nagging feeling that I was missing something. Up until that summer I thought that I wanted to live in a city. I was a self professed city girl, I wanted everything within walking distance, I wanted the movement, the lights, I wanted the constant activity.
So while I was there I set out to explore and conquer, I was going to see and take in all the city had to offer. I was going to finally fall in love with the city and never look back.
While my love affair did start to take root, reality also set in and I quickly learned that while the city was full of new things it was also full of things that I hadn't planned for. Public transportation for one, it is a wonderful resource, but it is also overpopulated and slow. Instead of taking 25min to get to work, it took me an hour and 25min. I learned that a sense of direction is a must, and something that I lacked. I learned that while there was a lot to do in the city, most of it was stuff that I didn't really want to do. I was led to the things that didn't really scream "city life". Spending most of my time in small cafes, at the lakefront or in the parks.
My favorite thing about the city, besides the 24 hour Starbucks, was the parks. There was always something going on, whether it was Public Dance Lessons, Old Movies or Free Music...I found myself at the parks more often than not. They were filled with the most eclectic people. I could sit for hours and just watch people and take in all the movement and life. While the city and I weren't as good a match as I thought we were going to be, that summer I still left in love and pleased with what the city had taught me. Connection.
In a city you are constantly surrounded by a massive number of people, and while you are running into them on the streets and knocking into them on the Red Line, it is possible to live in the city and never connect. I recognized this early on in my three months and I set out to get involved and connect with people. So my experience in the city became less and less about the city itself and more about the people that I encountered there. I found people who I could grow from, people who challenged me, people who made me laugh...and I experienced the city with them. Seeing the city through their eyes just as much as my own. By the end of the three months, I was ready to go back to the Mountains of Virginia. I missed the green, I missed the natural beauty, but I was not ready to leave the people I connected with.
Chicago is still one of my favorite places to visit, partly because I am still secretly vying to be a city girl and mostly because when I am there I think of those people and the memories we made exploring a new place, a new love.

6 comments:

Crystal Rae said...

I want to visit chicago again soon. I didnt know you did that out there, that's awesome. :P
Also, love that picture, it's amazing

Marka said...

Gorgeous sunset!

I've never been much of a fan of cities. Always seems like there's too many people in too much of a hurry. Glad you enjoyed your stay there.

Cheers!

Gerri said...

Love the city shot, but you knew that. :)

I grew up in the city, in Detroit. I longed for something a bit more peaceful and safer. I'm glad we found Fenton. It is a good balance for us. However, when I really need my fix, Chicago is my number 1 choice. Looking forward to exploring with you my friend...

bjbblog said...

Beautiful picture, I love Chicago, it is one of my favorite cities, I would like to have a loft there someday, I wouldn't want to live there 24-7 but a month here and there.......I'm a country boy at heart, Fenton is seeming to get a little to big for me.....

lizcooper said...

I thought that about myself when I was younger. As a small town girl, I wanted to be a big city girl with a big career. I was determined that's what I wanted to be. Then when I got older, married, with two kids we had the opportunity to live in a big city and I hated it. I loved the parks as well and I loved that there was lots going on, but I hated to noise and the traffic and the smell and how difficult it was to get anywhere! Public transportation is definitely not as easy as it sounds. I decided that big cities are most definitely where I'd like to visit, but I don't want to live there :-)

Huong said...

I've never been to Chicago but will hopefully remedy that soon. If you're up for giving city life another shot, I highly recommend Brooklyn--not as crowded as Manhattan but has all the perks and is just a subway ride away. I know what you mean about making connections and running into people though--I feel like I was so much more aware of the world when I had to take public transportation and walk everywhere...that's the part I really miss the most.
Love this shot of the skyline...the sky is INSANE :)