frances in the city

August 27, 2009, 7:30 am
Filed under: Chicago!

Even before moving to Chicago a realistic possibility, I remember daydreaming about what it would be like. Our family visited New England when I was ten years old, and I was particularly taken by Boston with its tall buildings and busy sidewalks. I fell in love with the idea of big-city living that summer, and I carried that little fantasy with me for the next eight years, building on the scenario and adding details from books and movies. It all seemed so glamorous and fabulous, not necessarily in a Hollywood way, but the idea that I could live near so many people and buildings and landmarks peaked my interest because it was so unlike my home environment.

I distinctly remember wishing my parents had raised me in a city so that I could take public transportation (excuse me, 12-year-old self, but exactly what parent in their right mind would allow you to ride a city bus unattended?) and shop at exciting stores and eat at exciting restaurants. I felt that my parents were robbing me of valuable life experiences by living in boring old Kansas where we drive cars everywhere and sometimes go to the movie theater. Aside from the fact that time allows you to see what exactly how skewed and unrealistic you are in your early to middle and even late teenage years, I really and truly appreciate where I am today so much more because of my seemingly “boring” upbringing in Kansas. My roommates are all from suburbs of Chicago. This is all just an extension of their childhoods, a place they visited on weekends for concerts and shopping. I know there are parts of living in the city they really value, but I think sometimes my enthusiasm seems silly to them. It’s “just” a park. It’s “just” a building. It’s “just” a bakery. But it’s the experience I was never sure could be possible, and it’s all so special to me.

Even after a full year of living in Chicago, I am still acutely aware of how blessed I am to be here. I pinched myself probably once a week last year and just kind of looked around at where I am. It’s still surreal.

A year ago today when I started this blog, one of the first comments was from my uncle Kenneth.
“Reminds me a bit of my first impressions of Philthydelphia. Go ahead and enjoy,” he said.
“It seems as though the city ethos is to build all these impressive edifices, and then pretend to be bored with them. I say stare. Point out the beauty. Drink really good coffee in the best spot you can find. You’re only young once, but if you do it right, that is enough.”

I remember those words often, especially when I’m feeling snarky about the overly fanatical tourists or trying to justify spending money on a dinner out with friends. I’m so fortunate to be here at all, and I can’t let cynicism or penny-pinching get the best of me.

I’m only young this once, and I’m determined to do it right.


This was just going to be a fluffy little “First Blog Birthday!!” post and look what it turned into! I can’t thank you all enough for reading and commenting. You’ve allowed this adventure to be so large and made the distance seem so small.

Now onto the next year!


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

congratulations on the anniversary! Keep enjoying it. We will have to have another photo shoot with random statues next time I am up there. Miss you!

Comment by reynoldskd

Loving the life that God has placed you in is what it is all about. You make my day!

Comment by Grandma

You are very coherent at 7:30 in the morning. Good job!

Comment by Grandma

it is most certainly not just a park. 😉

Comment by Kacie

Awesome post. I agree, do it while you can and do it right. Happy Anny.

Comment by jdizz15

No public transportation? The school bus came by at 7:05 every weekday morning.

Comment by dad

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