Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And I Owe It All to . . .

Our apartment--1339 E. Madison Park Avenue #3 Chicago, IL 60615

What has made you who you are today?

I've wondered that many times in the last few months.

I don't see myself as anything like I was in high school.  I have mellowed tremendously since college.  I guess if I were to put my finger on one thing, it would be living in Chicago.

I grew up in rural Idaho, fairly sheltered and definitely naive. I had big dreams but nothing stellar. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Art History and a minor in Humanities. But I knew nothing of the world until we lived in Chicago.  And not Chicagoland, either.  Hyde Park.  The South Side.  Home to the Sox, Louis Farrakhan and The University of Chicago.  Real city.

For the first time, I was exposed to world-class museums and music--American Gothic and the Chicago Symphony; food and culture--Thai food and true intellectuals; race and racism. For the first time, I was outside of my bubble, testing my own strength and convictions. I discovered that I truly believe what I profess, I definitely love what I studied in college, and the world is endless, ready for me to enjoy. I grew to love study and learning, sewing and crafting, book clubs and aerobics.

While there, memories came back, and so did a few regrets: Why didn't I take advantage of it while I was there? Why?

I was too busy living my life--overwhelmed with two little kids--to enjoy much of it. But the taste, the smell, the view of the wide world was ensconced in my brain.

Chicago is where I turned the corner, from child to adult. From girl to woman.



  1. What a great post! And what an awesome thing to be able to pinpoint such an important "moment" in life.

    I'm glad you're home too. And I'm "almost" home. Still got my Greer trip starting on Saturday. Feels like forever since I've seen you and had some Jenny time.

  2. This post just made me feel good.

  3. It's great to be able to look at oneself and understand a little bit more of what makes one tick.
    I really liked this post - the insight, the energy and the honesty that speaks out loud in it.

  4. Funny, mine happened in Mesa, AZ. I had been on a mission but never really had to make huge life choices independent of my parents. Bry and I learned so many life lessons in those 7 years. Definately made me who I am.

  5. awesome!

    mine was eastern idaho.

    granted i was 25-29 while living there, but until that point i'd never lived more than 30 minutes from where i was born.

    and despite not growing up in eastern idaho, it felt like home. i felt stronger connections with some of my ancestors there. learn alot about myself there. so yeah, it's as much home as where we live now, which is only a few miles down the road from where i lived before.

    eastern idaho's my chicago. ;)

  6. you have inspired me and got me thinking...love this post. i'm going to copy you and post mine soon.... :)

  7. Your post makes me want to reflect a bit on what helped shape me into who I am. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I want to visit Chicago now. I have fond memories of my coming of age home. Even though I've returned to my hometown I feel as though that part of me is always very near.
    your question? 43 is the magic number

  9. After college, I too, lived in Chicago. the city. met my husband there and had my first baby there. we now live in the suburbs... but love our weekends in the city.

    new to your blog... had a wonderful visit!

  10. I recently wrote that my travels after college made me who I am. I've gone back to visit some of the places I lived during that year. I love the feeling you get by touching the past a little. :)

  11. This has me thinking.

    We visited Chicago about 15 years ago. We had a great time. We need to go back with the kids. They would love all the museums!

    Glad you are enjoying the hat!

  12. Dave and I lived in Chicago the first three years we were married. (He's from Evanston.) It was a real change from California, and I did love all of the big city feel and fun.

    I should have appreciated it all more. Being from such a warm climate, I spent most of my time there complaining about the winters and the lack of mountains and/or ocean.

    Looking back, though, we had some wonderful times living as newlyweds in Chicago with no pressing responsibilities to keep us from enjoying the town.


  13. It's amazing that you can recall when that happened. And even more fun that it was in a tough city.

    Did they have the corn stands when you lived there? When I was there, there were these little corn stands everywhere. They grilled it and then rolled it in mayo and then parmesean cheese. It sounded totally disgusting, but as usual it turned out to be so so good.

  14. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and was exposed to all that cultural goodness all of my growing up years. I am so thankful for that.
    When we moved our young family to Idaho I was a little worried that my kids would not have the same experiences but it has been fun to give them those and watch them fly on their own and learn and appreciate even more things as they broadened their worlds.
    For me I feel like I grew at an early age.

  15. It's so hard to not have regrets. I look back and sometimes am amazed at the opportunities I passed up. I'm sure in 15 years, I'll think the same thing about this time in my life. I try hard not think about the regrets, but think about how far I have come.

    I love your posts, I really missed reading them and decided I just HAD to give you a shout out!

  16. For all of the places I've ever traveled, I hate to admit that Chicago is one of the few that I've never been to ... with all these recent posts, my stomach is telling me I need to get there!

    I love this thought-provoking post ... fun to hear why Chicago is such an important part of you!

  17. Love this post :) I think moving away from home and our comfort zones always does wonders to the way we see and live our lives. It's really an amazing experience to be able to see so much of the world and want to experience it all. Sure we all have regrets when we don't take full advantage of things when we had a chance to but there are some things that are worth sacrificing for, right?