Chicago at 6 Months, a set on Flickr.
We drove to Little Vietnam last night, a tiny neighborhood just off the red line in Uptown Chicago. Our goal was the highly flavored broth, noodles, meat and vegetables known as Pho.
Chicago is so full of these enclaves, I feel like it will take a lifetime to visit all of them. And that’s one of the things that most appeals to me about living here. Each day, each week, each weekend is another adventure, an escape to a new place, a new culture, new food and new sights.
We have barely scratched its glass and steal surface in our six months here.
What a fun six months it has been though. Drenched in sunshine upon our arrival in July, we thawed from our two-year Alaska sojourn by visiting the beaches of Chicago as often as possible. We grilled our food outside and watched the fireflies and listened to the cicadas late into the evenings.
As fall arrived, we ventured out to the wine fields of southwest Michigan and the pumpkin farms of eastern Illinois.
By the holidays, we were well-practiced at getting around town by public transportation or by car.
We visited the Kristkindlemarket and spent Christmas quietly and on our own for the third year in a row.
In some ways, Chicago is what I expected. The food is unimaginably good, the creativity and variety is as endless as the neighborhoods that radiate out from the Loop.
It is passionate about its sports, Cubs on the North Side and the Sox on the South Side. The Bears impact everyone, as do the Bulls. And hockey fans might be as passionate here as they are in our neighbor to the north.
More than all of that, Chicago is the promise of continual intellectual stimulation in its myriad museums and unmet citizens. In the precision of its architecture and the squalor of its failed social design there is a laboratory of civic innovation that could, should build off the platform of its past.
That is something uniquely Chicago, a city that rose like a phoenix from its ashes, where design and form were reconsidered a lifetime after New York and other East Coast cities were already long established.
And yet the city is weighed down, mired, as it were, in a racial divide with boundaries powered by poverty and its children, violence, alcohol and drugs.
I look forward to the next six months in this city.
Our first six months in the Windy City. Lots of great memories already and so much more to explore.