Today I have been living in Chicago for exactly 13 years. An unlucky number for some, it has always been a positive in my life and today more so than ever. Inevitably, with the passing of time and anniversaries memories come flooding to the surface.
Little did I imagine, all those years ago, that I would end up living in one of my favorite cities in all the world. A fact especially surprising given that I never, in my wildest imaginings, thought I'd even visit here, much less end up spending the largest portion of my in this amazing place.
Oh sure, it's had its less than wonderful moments. I have seen more of the inside of a divorce court than is strictly necessary in one lifetime. And I am more familiar with the insides of INS buildings than I would have thought possible. The US government now possesses not one but three separate sets of my fingerprints, and is absolutely certain I did not arrive here with either a drug habit, criminal record or TB. I have sat next to more strange people on public transport than the pope has new underwear. At least, that's what I suspect, although the figures on the pope's underwear purchases are hard to come by.
But on the wonderful side I have met the most amazing people who, in taking me under their respective wings, have allowed and encouraged me to become the person I was really meant to be; no small feat considering the original material: a very uptight, boarding school educated englishwoman. I am able to be here because of qualities that are essentially down to what I attribute to the American generosity of spirit: I have a therapist (thank you Dr. S), I have a studio (thank you BA & Adam, Nic), I have friends (too many to list), I have causes to fight for (thank you Dawn, Jenn, Tara for opening my eyes) and things to think about (thank you Jon) and last, but not least, a slightly nutball cat, Malu.
So on this, the dawn of my 14th year, I want to say this: thank you. It may only be two small words but the sentiment is huge.