A love letter to Chicago

By Samuel Charles

This is potentially my second to last column ever, so I better make it good, right? I’ll try not to let you down, but bear with me.

After graduation, which is 13 days from today, I’m fortunate enough to have a job. Well, an internship, actually, at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in, you guessed it, St. Paul, Minn. I have a plan after graduation, which is sadly more than a lot of people who are more deserving than me can say.

But I’ve never been out of the Chicagoland area for longer than two weeks at a time.

I’m terrified of being a stranger in a strange place and terrified of the potential loneliness and boredom. But what scares me more than anything is the idea of not being in Chicago. This is my home, always has been, always will be.

The thought of being away for three months scares the living hell out of me. Either I’m losing my mind—which is never out of the realm of possibility—or Chicago is just that great of a place to be. I’ll bet it’s a mixture of the two.

Don’t get me wrong—the fact that I’ll be working at an excellent daily newspaper in a major metropolitan area is a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m eternally grateful to all those who made that possible, as you’ll read next week.

This city has been better to me than I ever could expect or deserve. The people, the culture and the perpetual narrative that serves and will continue to serve as the referential timeline to my life have made me who I am. If you ask around, people will tell you I turned out pretty great. I know, I know. I’m really modest, too.

As I write this, I’m sitting in The Chronicle’s newsroom. I’ve spent more time here than anywhere else in the last two years. It’s not even close. Our office, which sits at the intersection of East Congress Parkway and South Wabash Avenue, has been victimized by dozens—at least it felt like dozens—of construction projects that constantly disturb the work flow we have. I hate it.

That old adage about there only being two seasons in Chicago, “winter” and “construction,” has time and time again proven to be horrifyingly true.

When I stop to think about it, the continuous construction happening mere feet away from me is reflective of Chicago as one complete entity, representative of the spirit of the city and its citizens.

Even when I hate this city, I know that if I look hard enough, I can see it getting better.

I miss you guys already.