I don't know what started it, but I am feeling an awful lot of home-town pride lately. And not just Worthington or Ohio. Last night, as Todd and I were driving back into the city after a wedding weekend in Worthington, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of home. This city has been so good to me for the past eight years, and I don't often give it enough credit. So as we made our way through Chinatown and Pilsen and Ukranian Village and Bucktown to get to our humble apartment in Logan Square, I was suprised by the surge of pride that rushed through me. "I live here," I thought. And then I looked over at Todd as he navigated the side streets to avoid the traffic on I-90/94. "WE live here." This is our home, together. I'm not alone here - I never have been. More and more family has made their way to Chicago. Our lives are expanding in this town - marriages, babies, partners, jobs. We love each other, and we are at each others' fingertips if anyone ever needs a helping hand.
Whenever I wear a t-shirt rep'ing Columbus or Ohio or Worthington, I am not doing it for the athletics. (Sorry, Buckeye fans!) For me, The Ohio State University, the Columbus Clippers, the Crew, script Ohio, all of those mean "Home". They mean "Family". They mean "Friends". They all stand for where I was raised; where I came from; where my family is; where my Home is, was and always will be.
But now I realize that I have those same feelings about Chicago. Chicago is where I am now - where all the rest has led me to. It is where I moved in with my sister when my first plans didn't work out. (Sorry, Pittsburgh. But not that sorry.) It is where I made grown up decisions about life. It is where my 'neice' was born. It is where I met the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. It is where we will will be married. It is where we live, together. This is also where my Home is.
I have a family here, beyond my own cousins. Friends that I have known for years. Friends that are way beyond "friends". We've been family from day one. Todd's extended family is here. They all open their homes, hearts and lives to us, and I feel so fortunate. So blessed. When I wear my Cubs gear, I am wearing it for my Chicago life, my Chicago family, my Chicago Home.
And in our last four years together, we've spent a lot of time in Todd's own hometown. Milwaukee and Wisconsin have found their way into my bloodstream. The lakeshore, the parks, the cheese, the beer, the sausage, the Packers. Todd's parents have been so welcoming, it is impossible for me not to feel comfortable there. It is a beautiful place. And if I root for the Packers for any reason, above all else, it is for Todd's home. (And, well, his mom's cooking.) That is where he was raised; where he came from; where his Home is. And it is mine now, too.
How lucky am I two have three homes? (With great sports teams, through which we can show our pride! Go Buckeyes / Clippers / Crew / Cubbies / Packers! ...I don't much care for hockey. Or professional basketball.)
Now, houses? That's a whole 'nother story. Ask me in about three to five years.