Many of my college friends are in Chicago this week for a wedding, which makes me a little sad that I don't live there. I have been thinking about living in Chicago for the last few days, since I stumbled across the pictures for HGTV's upcoming giveaway.

I won't win this one either, but I am trying really hard to figure out if there's a way to affordably DIY the Frank Lloyd Wright Tree of Life lightboxes from the living area. Looking at the photos of the view out the apartment's window has brought a flood of memories (though some of the memories, I realize, are actually scenes from Divergent playing in my head, others are real).

Some of my most vivid memories of Chicago:

When we accidentally gave a drug dealer a ride home from the Jazz Festival.

When I got suckered into giving a guy $20 to help me walk my luggage to Ogilvie (a cab ride would have cost less than half as much).

When I changed for the opera in a McDonald's bathroom, leaving Jenny to carry my snow boots around the city.

When my sister Amanda visited and we wandered farther north in the city than I'd ever been before on foot with her friend Reed and we stopped to eat in a random little restaurant and I tried pumpkin ravioli for the first time and it was underwhelming.

oh, the days of black sweaters and red lipstick

My first trip into the city, with Jenny and Micah and Chaeli, to the Art Institute, where I had my first conversation with the latter and she asked each of us in an intent and deeply interested way, "What are your passions?"

The midnight study run to the 24 hour Starbucks where, during my reading for Art & Theology, I stumbled across a picture of Constantine and realized that my friend Brendon looked exactly like him. (The next day I approached Brendon and said "Guess who you look like?!" thinking how glad he would be to look like Constantine. He gave an epic scowl and said, "I know." Three minutes later, I realized he thought I was going to be the hundredth person to point out his resemblance to Conan O'Brien, which was also uncanny. I tried to apologize, but we haven't really spoken since...).

The first time I saw the water along the lake shore turn to ice from the parking lot of La Rabida Children's Hospital.

Photo from Steven S. Gearhart. More through the link.
The view of the city coming in on the Metra, an indelible sight. If any part of Chicago makes it into a novel of mine someday in the future, it will be that train ride.

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