More than two weeks ago I returned from a business trip to Chicago. I was excited to go to the city: learn a lot, see family and friends, experience a new atmosphere for a while.
This was my first time away since we purchased our home in June. And I didn’t realize how unprepared I was for the city life until I inched my way downtown through rush hour traffic.
Lessons I learned (the hard way) while traveling in the Windy City:
1. Do not attempt to be charming with the toll workers.
2. In the country, 15 miles = approximately 15 minutes. In the city, to travel the same distance will require 90 minutes or so.
3. In the country, three inches of snow means you may need to break out your windshield brush. In the city, people will start using the word “snowpocalypse” and all forward motion from your fellow commuters will cease.
4. It’s probably a good idea to watch the signs in parking garages. This helps you avoid head-on collisions and driving aimlessly in circles.
5. You look like an out-of-towner, Always.
But I think the biggest realization for me was how much I missed home.
I missed the quiet and how I can travel to work on the Interstate on not see another car. I missed how everyone in the parking lot or on the street would strike up a friendly conversation with you. I missed how you can be running late and still make it to work on time.
I always thought I would live alone in a big city with a bunch of cats. And sometimes I still feel inadequate to my fancy, big-city friends because we chose to live on an acreage, outside of a teeny town in a flyover state. But it’s funny how life will deliver you exactly where you are feel most complete.