We came to Chicago in the Spring of 2011. Not knowing much and not planning to stick around more than a year…
We found our home through an apartment finding agency — the guy thought we were crazy because we fell in love with our apartment and all of its teeny, tiny charm: the upgraded kitchen; the “efficient” bathroom the size of an airplane bathroom; the “big” closets; the steep city stairs that led us through two-tone sea foam green hallways with 80’s carpet. We moved in on Cubs opening day in April and managed to get our stuff upstairs between opening pitch and the close of the 9th inning. Welcome to the Windy City!
We explored the city. We fell in love with the art museum that made us want to know more about art and dive in to an impressionist painting. We loved the ricotta and honey dish in Little Italy. We went to the restaurants that were difficult to get in to because we could save enough money to enjoy the rich tastes, romantic candlelight, and $15 cocktails. We also split the vegetarian bowl at Penny’s and got the Turkey Turkey at Panes more times than I care to admit. We celebrated the small things and rode our bikes through the city streets in our “dress up clothes” avoiding the potholes and intoxicated by the smells of summer (and a little wine).
We hosted. We loved to show off this great city we lived in. An annual pass up John Hancock, summer festivals, free concerts at the park, and city tours down the Chicago River. We welcomed friends to our small guest room…
And then our guest room became home to our son (and a lot of whales!). We welcomed Brooks Joseph in this beautiful city. The sun rose on a crisp morning in January and we looked out of our hospital window over a frozen Lake Michigan with our first born son in our arms. We told him about life in a city and pointed out firetrucks, skyscrapers, and sirens when he was too young to learn but we didn’t care. We look forward to the day we tell him about his unique first year of life, living on the cusp of Wrigleyville and Boystown.
We met the most amazing people. There are some things in life that only make sense in light of a loving God that has got your back. I feel this way about our friendships here in Chicago. We are blessed with deep, rich, friendships – some that stemmed from continually showing up and some that stemmed from chance meetings in alumni bars over football and an IPA. God has been good to us and we have friends for life that sprung up and grew in Chicago soil.
Two and half years have come and gone – by far some of the best of our lives! God is opening doors that lead us out of this great city and we are walking through those doors. We are leaving with a love in our hearts for the people and experiences we leave behind and will carry with us for always. I understand why God loves cities so much – because people live in cities, beauty lives in cities, passion lives in cities, joy and sorrow live in cities. Urban life is invigorating and I feel like I know God’s heart better by spending two and half years in a city like Chicago.
We leave Chicago, sad to go, but anticipating what God has for us in the days yet to come.