This time tomorrow I will be on a plane, headed back to Chicago! I’m only going to be there a week, but it’s a week I’m really excited about. I’ll see my best friend Elspeth, the amazing¬†Caro and a bunch of other awesome people.

I’m also going to use it as a chance to scope out Chicago again, now that I’ve had an eight month absence. (It’s actually the longest I’ve been away from Chicago since I was eighteen!) We’ll see how I’ve changed, how the city has changed, and whether all the changes are compatible.

I’ll also check out my favorite Chicago spots: the Art Institute, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, the lake, the river, the parks, the pizza, my wonderful alma mater.

It’s funny, because as much as I adore Boston (it’s impossible to grow up 20 minutes away from that city without falling head over heels), it never really felt like home. Reading was home, and New England was home, but Boston was just that wonderful city I went into to see concerts and baseball games and museums. I always felt like a tourist in Boston.

But Chicago. Oh, Chicago. For the better part of four years I lived and breathed and adapted there. I grew there. I changed there. It was more than “that place I went to school.” I occasionally felt like a tourist and I always felt like a transplant, but I always felt a connection.

One of my friends out here in LA said “I don’t think of you as someone from Boston; I think of you as someone from Chicago.” And in a way she’s right–I’m not from Boston.¬†I never lived in Boston. I can’t draw a map of the Boston T with my eyes closed or give directions on how to get from the MFA to Quincy Market.

But Chicago. Oh, Chicago.