Home is where your heart is as they always say. Home is a place you feel comfortable, where you can truly be yourself with no bounds and no judgement. Home is where you find comfort, passion, inspiration. Home can be a place anywhere in the world for you, full of memories good and bad, happy or sad, any kind of memory that takes you back. For many, home means happiness because of all of the magical memories made there. It’s a place you might take pride in, somewhere you’re proud to say you call home.
For me, home is in the Chicagoland area. I grew up here, I know the area, I have memories in many places. I grew up in a suburb about thirty minutes from the city. It’s a largely populated area with lots to do, many people, and many places to go and visit. Everything I did when I was younger was in a five mile radius of my house. My friends, my first job, school, local shops I frequented. I liked my hometown for the most part. There wasn’t always something fun, new, or exciting to do, but it was comfortable and safe.
It’s said that many people don’t leave the area that they were born in once they grow up and get jobs. I understand that as I’ve gotten older. You don’t want to leave the comfort of where you have been your whole life, where you know everything and have friends and family nearby. Why would you? The suburbs for me have always been safe, never any major crime, a more relaxed area that isn’t so high strung all the time. Sometimes I picture myself living in the suburbs with a family and a nice house. Not necessarily where I grew up, but a place like it; somewhere I am comfortable.
Some feel the urge to move, to get out and start a whole new life. They get tired of the same old thing day after day; they want new experiences, new people, new places. Felling stuck where you grew up is something I have experienced. I felt that if I stayed where I was, I would be very unhappy with my life, to the point that when the opportunity presented its self for me to move out, I did. I didn’t hate where I came from, I hated who I was when I lived there. I wasn’t flourishing like I should have been; I felt trapped.
I moved closer to the city, still a suburb, but about twenty minutes from the city. I could see the Sears tower (yes, it’s still the Sears tower in my mind) driving down my street. I was, and still am, much happier than I was. While it’s still a suburb, it’s different enough that it’s exciting to me. I work within a two minute drive from my house, I have a Target three minutes away, I have a nice yard in a safe area. I have to drive for school or to go see my boyfriend, but it’s still worth it to me.
Home is where your heart is, and my heart has always been where I live now. It’s where I always longed to be when I was younger. Not for the location, but for the people and the love I have always felt in the house I now live in. I frequently have nightmares where the house is sold. Those are the only dreams where I wake up crying, actually crying, in my sleep. This house is where I was raised, where I was taught how to be a person, where I played and learned. I love it more than any place in the world. It’s where I am most comfortable.
Chicagoans tend to be very prideful of where they come from. They are proud to come from the windy city. I am biased in this statement because I do believe Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the country. Many people from many backgrounds are here. Everyone has their own story of the area in the city that they come from, where they are now. It is a city where you can go get some of the best Chinese food you’ve ever had, to shopping in upscale boutiques. You can see the Bean and go get an $8 latte across the street from the park. You can find gems anywhere you go of the best food you’ve ever had or unique hand made pieces you will always treasure.
I think when people visit Chicago, they think of a few sights that they want to see because they’re world renowned for whatever reason. You can spend your whole visit in the city and never make a dent in everything it has to offer. There are great festivals in the warmer months, go to different museums that range from art to history, you can even go to the beach and enjoy the sun. The warmer months are the best times to visit for tourists because you can be outside and walk hundreds of miles without being uncomfortable. For every sight you see, there are five that you didn’t.
Winter can be brutal here, but if you can stand the freezing temperatures, it’s worth it to see the snow covered buildings. Chicago turns magical in the winter; blanketed by white powdery snow with lights galore. While you have to walk in grey slush on the ground, slip on some ice, looking up makes it all worth it. You can never find anything more beautiful than the trees in snow, kids playing, people ice skating. It’s almost picture perfect.
While Chicago has it’s flaws, many people call it home. They are comfortable where they are, they know the area. They know that if you walk down the street you can find the best tacos you’ve ever had. They know if you go Wrigley you can count on countless Cubs fans surrounding you with their beer and hot dogs, telling you why they are better than the White Sox. You can see for miles, all the shops and unique buildings all around you, creating a concrete jungle to be amazed by. Chicago for me isn’t just a place, it’s a home that you can see and feel and be welcomed into, wether you’re in the suburbs or deep in the city. Home is where your heart is; mine is here.