Sweet Home Chicago

Since I am on a roll with song titles, I’ll add one today, and express my love for Chicago.  After having the good fortune to celebrate our wedding anniversary on a sailboat ride over beautiful and thankfully calm Lake Michigan, I am reminded of the many beautiful moments I have experienced in this my home city of Chicago.

Starting with meeting my husband, I can’t think of a better memory than of him walking through the doors of a well-known Lincoln Park establishment and gathering spot where I happily talked with him and immediately fell in love.  Chicago provided the backdrop for this turning point in my life and continued to play a big role in our courtship.  Studying and trying new restaurants as well as finding favorites like Settimana on Division (no longer there) made up a major part of our dating days. 

We ran through the city one March during the Shamrock Shuffle and coincidentally stopped in front of what would become our first home.  After needing to take a long sleeve layer off during the race, I happened to look up at the 111 South Morgan building and read a banner advertising condos being built starting at a relatively reasonable price.  Not even a few days later, the condo was under contract and as they say the rest is history. 

We would live in the West Loop until we moved for a brief time to Cleveland.  While we loved Cleveland and our fun year exploring a new part of the country, living there only elevated Chicago in my perspective.  The beauty of the lakefront in Chicago is remarkable compared with the lack of vision to protect the lakefront from industry in Cleveland. 

My love for the city predates our marriage and courtship of course, having been born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago.  I grew up excited by every excursion to the city – musicals, special exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago and classes during high school summers at the School of the Art Institute, Bulls games during the Michael Jordan era, White Sox and Cubs games, and a Bears game or two – all added to my foundational love of the city.  However, Chicago became my true love and resting place in college.  After having such a rough start in college, moving to Lincoln Park felt like moving home.  Exploring all that the city has to offer and learning my way around built my confidence back up as a young adult. I found my own sense of independence while living and learning in Lincoln Park and the Loop.  I found a way to work all over the city while an undergrad at DePaul University from offices in hospitals to graduate schools to hotels to state government.  It is no wonder that after spending two years of law school in St. Louis, another city I loved living in, we planned our wedding and got married which caused me to come right back to Chicago.  I spent my third and final year of law school back in the heart of Chicago at Loyola University School of Law in the Gold Coast.  Yet again Chicago gave me a place to land and live, this time with my newlywed husband. 

The love story continues now as we raise our children bringing them to Chicago to learn and explore as much as possible.  I love to think that I am instilling in them the same love that my parents instilled in me while I take them on walks through Millennium park and Navy Pier, have scavenger hunts through the Art Institute, or swim in Lake Michigan at the beach as the Air and Water Show practice day roars overhead.  I hope these memories stay with them while giving Chicago a special place in their hearts. 

Before today, I have never thought to be grateful to Chicago for all that it has been in my life.  But now looking back, I realize I must be and  I am.  I am thankful to God first for creating this gorgeous city by His Hand and for guiding all the hands that founded and created its beauty.  The streets continue to be alive with possibility and the neighborhoods are filled with genuine people.  Chicago’s history, architecture, landscape, and culture are to be treasured.  Chicago has been so divided and negatively viewed as of late, but looking at it in perspective, there is so much to love and appreciate.  Maybe taking a step back and seeing the city from the water is what gave this appreciation to me, but I know God had a hand in it as well.  “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8.

© 2021 Megan Davia Mikhail

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