Feb 18, 2005

Inspired by a recent GB fuel, I'm feeling the need to justify my existence here in the city of broad shoulders. It makes me angry that so many close-minded angry people consider themselves better just because they know more trivia, have the entire streetgrid of the city memorized, or have lived here all their lives. Being angry at successful young people moving into trendy neighborhoods is detrimental to the growth of the city. Neighborhoods change, people change, and cities change with them. Just because I moved here from somewhere else, have a professional job near the loop, and am making enough money to allow me a nice apartment in Wicker Park doesn't mean I am the stereotypical "yuppie" that people talk about with such disdain. And so what if I was? I love my city and I love my neighborhood. If there were no successful young people in the city, the city would simply grow old and die. "True Chicagoans" who claim to love this city so much are hypocrites for hating such a large part of Chicago culture that makes this city what it is.

I am a Chicagoan. Even though I've lived in Chicago (and the surrounding areas) for only two and a half years. I'm not a native, and I'm not trying to pass myself off as one, but I love this city; it is my home. I respect it's history and I'm excited for it's future, with me being a part of it. I have done a lot of the sightseeing, visited a lot of landmarks and classic spots, eaten much of the food this city has to offer. I live here and I love it. I am a Chicagoan.

Not thinking I was a city girl, I moved here from the East Coast expecting the worst and receiving the best, and now I never want to leave. I have fallen in love with Chicago: the lake, the streets, the el, the museums, the parks, the people, the food, the highways, the neighborhoods. I know the difference between the Ike and the Kennedy, I know the ingredients that go on a Chicago-style dog, and I know how to get around on the CTA. I look forward to visiting every theater, eating at every local restaurant, attending every street fair at least once, experiencing every inch of this wonderful city.

Some of my favorite places to go and things to do in Chicago are not on the tourist path. I know where to get an awesome taco (or two). I've visited more music venues than just the House of Blues, I visit coffee shops other than Starbucks, bookstores other than Borders and record stores other than Tower Records. I will never know everything about the streets, visit every single streetcorner or know every trivial fact about this city, but I appreciate the diversity and history that this city has to offer and I embrace it with all of my heart.

If this makes me something other than a Chicagoan, I'd like to know exactly what it is.

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