Chicago, I love you…

Nearly eight months ago, I left my South Loop apartment for the last time. As the door closed, my heart grew hollow… I felt as empty as the space I was leaving. It was a dreary day, as is often the case when you’re dealing with a long, tough goodbye.

For me, Chicago was both a blessing and a curse… there were some incredibly high highs, and some awfully low lows. I moved there to follow my passion and to fulfill my dream of working for the world’s greatest aerospace company — I knew the job itself might not be perfect, but I knew it was a step in the right direction.

It was tough… tougher than I thought.

Scott still had a year-and-a-half left of school up in Minnesota, so I was living alone with our two cats. I was acclimating to my new surroundings while trying to master an incredibly challenging, stressful and demanding job. Don’t get me wrong, I will never regret having taken that job, as it shaped me into a better person and a more valuable employee.

I couldn’t have made it through, though, without the love, support and encouragement of the amazing people I surrounded myself with. These friends, family and colleagues encouraged me to do my best, look on the bright side and persevere. At times, they saw a lot more in me than I ever saw in myself… and I’m so grateful for each one of them.

Today, I’m living in St. Louis, Missouri… and let me tell you, it’s NO Chicago. In fact, in the last eight months I’ve probably complained more about this city and everything it lacks than I’ve complained about any other city in my life. But… it’s home (for now). And more importantly, it’s where I’m writing my next chapter.

I’m in my element here. I’m learning, I’m growing and somehow I’m becoming an even bigger AV geek (I know, right?).

I still owe so much to Chicago though… to every neighborhood I didn’t have time to explore and to all the friends and colleagues I didn’t spend enough time with. That’s why I went back there this past weekend — it was my third return visit since having left. I got together with friends, I worked out of my old office and I went to see the planes… all the planes.

Yet somehow… it just wasn’t enough, which means I will be back. That city and everything about it tugs at my heart on a daily basis. And even though I miss it, even I can’t deny that I’m a better “me” here in St. Louis. I’m finally with my husband, I literally cannot WAIT to get to work every day and my overall quality of life is just so much better. I feel healthier, happier and more balanced. This is where I’m supposed to be… and being able to not just recognize that but embrace it is a pretty neat feeling.

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