Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Via Chicago

So, now that the dust has settled, I have been in Chicago for officially a week. Charles helped me move in and stayed with me to help me adjust. I have always thought of myself as a strong-willed, independent lady, but I really needed him to be here. It was an emotional and exhausting experience, coming into the city to live and work for the summer, and I don't really know if I would've managed very well without his support. We had a beautiful time.

I've thrived in small towns my entire life. I've always been a big fish in a little sea. That isn't to say that this is the first time I've felt humbled by my surroundings.

Charles left today to go back home, and, at first, I didn't think it would be very difficult. After we said our goodbyes, and he pulled away from the parking lot, I came back upstairs to my lonely, dorm-sized apartment, and I felt a little lost. Then the tears came. I guess this is suppose to be the point when I realize what a great opportunity I've been given. I have to slap myself out of sadness and coach myself to focus on the positive. So, I will.

I know I am not the only one, but I grew up modestly. I come from a lower-class family in mid-Ohio. When I was little, I became accustomed to my father's frequent bouts of unemployment. Pancakes and grilled cheese for dinner. Thousands and thousands of dollars in credit card debt and bankruptcies and foreclosures. Quaint birthday celebrations. I didn't have friends over very often for fear of their judgement. I have never wanted anyone to look at me as the poor, disadvantaged girl. Luckily, despite their vast irresponsibility, I have completely loving, completely naive parents. I have worked very hard throughout my educational career to ensure some sort of foundation for myself. As an independent, I struggle financially all the time, but I hope that all this discipline leads to some sort light at the end of the tunnel.

At the same time, walking around the city, I realize how I have been so privileged to experience the comforts of family, education, and love. There are so many wounded souls on these streets. So many individuals with all the hope in the world, though they have nothing but the clothes on their backs. They say "God Bless" even if you refuse their pleas for spare change. And when you scrounge for a mere dollar, they are so grateful for your generosity. I guess this post is turning into something rather cliché and mushy. I am sort of lost as to what I originally intended to say.

This journal will be the first of many detailing my thoughts and feelings about living alone in the city this summer. My emotions are pulled in so many different directions. At the end of the day, I am, for the first time, a little homesick, but so, so hopeful.

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