sweet home chicago
Most of my May and June was spent back in the states visiting family in Chicago and Indy. It always seems so different going back to the U.S. after being abroad for a while. Getting to see how the rest of the world lives and how global cities look and feel makes you either love or hate going back to the states...Sometimes it's a little of both.
Chicago is and always will be home for me. There's no question about that. I love the skyline with the buildings I've known fondly over the years. Then, there are the busy city streets with people that have dutiful purpose but still know how to have fun. The lake is amazing especially in the summer when the breeze makes you want to stay by the water all day. Oh, and don't forget about the neighborhoods...Each one is special in it's own way, and yet they meld together beautifully to make a diverse but cohesive city.
I'm definitely always excited to go back and see the place where I grew up and the people that I love. However, each time I have a different perspective of it. I guess, that's what makes travel so great. You learn to appreciate the things you have but also to broaden your horizons. For me, it has helped to solidify the way I truly like to live and the environment that I like to live in...A crucial thing for someone obsessed with urban planning and the built environment.
When I would go back to the states from the UK, it would make me sad to see all of the boring buildings in the suburbs, the big box stores, and the never-ending cookie cutter houses. Going back from Okinawa, I was excited about the neighborhoods to rediscover. I realized that living here in Okinawa I've been missing how great it can be to change the vibe of a place just by moving down the street. It was time to get away from the typhoon washed concrete buildings and sushi go-rounds for awhile.
While in Chicago, I got a chance to see some much needed tree-lined streets, shady boulevards, and homes with fresh coats of paint. Of course, I can still do without the boring cookie cutter houses, but this time I've focused on how charming the neighborhoods can be. Downtown is great, but the neighborhoods are where it's at. So, thank you, Okinawa, for giving me a new perspective on my old hometown.