There's nothing that brings back better Chicago brisk Autumn weather memories than an afternoon at the Grind in Lincoln Square. Since the first time I visited four years ago around this time, I fell instantly in love. The employees are pleasant and welcoming and there is a shelf of random books people have left for others to enjoy.
Today I'm enjoying a cafe au lait while I read "The Slow Food Guide to Chicago" (2004 version, mind you) that I pulled from the shelf. I can't help but flip through and see how Chicago has changed since then and how much it will change in years to come.
Before driving to Lincoln Square, I stopped in Evanston to pick up Australian and New Zealand dollars for my trip. I found myself looking around more as I walked through the town, breathing in the crisp air and admiring all the color changes in the leaves that have emerged in the past couple weeks. Days like this make me appreciate my Chicago area upbringing. I set out today to take a mental picture of home that I can bring abroad, and I ended up with a couple actual photos, too.
These past couple days, I've been at ease with my decision to explore abroad again. More and more I realize this ease is because I know it's not permanent. I can see myself living in Chicago again, but still keeping travel a large part of my life. I need a healthy balance of exploration and stability. This adventure ahead of me will balance out the monotonous stability I had the past two years so I can come back with a new, open-minded view on what to do next that incorporates the two simultaneously.
3 days to go!