I love this city.
I'm sitting here, alone, on a bench by Buckingham Fountain, feeling all nostalgic and pensive. I just spent at least an hour at my favorite yarn store in the south loop (I think... I always had a hard time figuring out how all the loopy stuff works. Probably because I have yet to take the El). Then I walked a bunch and ended up here.
Over the past three years, I have loved venturing down into the city. I usually take the train, usually alone (there was that one time with Corella, which involved us getting a bit lost in a semi-scary neighborhood. But we survived...). I've always enjoyed making the trip by myself, for purely selfish reasons. I love to walk, and it's typically a much faster pace than most people appreciate. It's a great way for me to get some serious exercise once a month or so. Also, I like the fact that I don't have to have a set plan or itinerary, so I can walk around as I please and then, whenever I start getting too tired, I start walking back toward the metra station.
These trips, for me, have an almost healing quality, not unlike my hiking adventures in the hills back home. I get to be a part of something larger than myself, to be among a whole lot of people that I never once have to talk to (not to mention the people-watching!), and to enjoy the sights and sounds and flavor of the city. And then, whenever I get good and ready, I leave it all behind and go home.
When and if the time comes that I leave northern Illinois, one of the things I will miss most are these random day-trips. I know I would want to visit again, and I hope Future Me would make it a priority. The pulse of this city has gotten into me, and it will forever be at least a small part of who I am.