Seven Years in Chicago

There’s no one way to say goodbye to the place I’ve called home for seven years. Chicago has been the first place — ever — that I got to call my own. Growing up, I moved every two years of my little life. The only part that felt consistent was how our moves bopped us all over the Southern part of the US; from Texas to Tennessee to Virginia to Florida … all you needed to do was track my accent to see where I was at any given time.

So, how I ended up in the Midwest is still a bit of a mystery, but here I am. Chicago has been my (mostly) cold home since June 2012. I still remember move-in day, and having two guy friends help my step-dad lug up the heavy items. And Adam Serafin wearing a shirt that said something about consensual sex. If that doesn’t point in all directions of Southern Gal turning City Gal, then I don’t know what does.

Chicago has been the place that has harbored so much growth for me — physically, spiritually and emotionally. I met every single friend, some of which would become roommates, at a place called Soul City Church. A place that took on its own physical transformations that I had the honor of being apart of, too. I found my therapist in the concrete jungle of downtown. And I went on too many pointless dates to eventually meet my husband while volunteering alongside him. Then, one day in October 2018, we welcomed our son at a hospital downtown.

Chicago, though so big and so full of traffic and potholes and faint lane lines, has felt small and intimate with the community I have had.

I made myself a home here, and I will always cherish that I got to choose it for myself.

I know one day our little family will travel back to visit Chicago, and I know it won’t feel the same. I’m bound to sweetly reminisce and feel extra proud as I remember my way around. But, like I’ve learned over the many years of moving, it all fades in small ways. One day it will be a new Indiana Brittany slowly “filling” the role of Chicago Brittany, and new routines replacing old ones. It’s the natural evolution after unpacked boxes and ripped packing tape.

However, I’ll never forget that feeling of the first day of warmth and watching a restaurant prepare the patio to welcome winters weary hearts. Or the way tree limbs give way to buds as an outward show that new life is near. And, of course, that first snowfall that glitters in the street lamp on my walk home. There is no place like Chicago. What a gift to be able to say seven years of my life were touched by its remarkable love.

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