you can take the girl outta Chicago…

but you can’t take the Chicago out of the girl?

The other day somebody asked me what I planned to do when I finished school, if I intended to “go home”.  I said “I don’t even know where home is anymore!”.  After thinking about it I realized that I have spent less than 2 years in the USA in the last 10 years, and that was not 2 consecutive years.  It was 12 months here, 8 months there, a summer and a few weeks squeezed in from time to time.  While I did live in and around Chicago for the first 2/3rds of my life, the most recent 3rd has been spent in a number of different cities and countries.  The longer I spend away the more distant it seems, but the grid-like streets of Chicago are still carved into my memory…and maybe always will be?

I have been watching this cheesy TV police drama called “The Chicago Code” lately, which is nearly driving me mad with homesickness.  In nearly every street scene a CTA train or bus goes by.  A lot of scenes take place inside the Skylark… my former Pilsen hangout.  They have lunch at Manny’s deli, eat hot dogs at Maxwell Street, drink Old Style.  It’s almost torture to watch.  I hate Wellington!  I want to move back to Chicago!

Actually, Wellington is not that bad.  On Monday Ticker and I went for a walk up to the Mt. Vic lookout.

Wellington: has cool rope swing

As I have mentioned previously, there are lots of green spaces and wild places minutes walking from downtown.  I like that.  But whenever I ask some one from somewhere else if they like Wellington, inevitably the answer is “It’s ok…”.  Then, I ask them if they intend to stay when they are finished studying, and again, inevitability I hear “No.”.  This is especially true when I get together with other Americans.  I once spent an entire afternoon listening to a bunch of people ranting about Wellington and describing how much they want to leave.  I will not deny joining in from time to time (especially to criticize the public transit and cost of living in New Zealand), but I don’t really hate it here.  It’s just probably my least favorite place I have ever lived.  I’m sure there are way worse places to live… like Dubai from what I hear!

However, I try to be an optimist and make the best of any situation.  Even so, I can’t help but feel homesick from time to time.  I think that’s normal.  I also lived in Chicago from the age of 18 to 23, so, part of what I’m feeling is of course, nostalgia for my lost youth.  Unfortunately, nothing I can do will ever bring that back.  But, maybe someday, I’ll be able to move back to that glorious city by the lake.

But I did take this cool picture of a flock of little yellow-winged birds in flight.

Wellington wildlife

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