I'm participating in #reverb10, a month-long challenge to blog every day of December based on prompts provided here.
Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of one moment in which I cannot describe the texture, smell, voices, noises or colors. I thought of every time I am driving on I-55 as it becomes Lake Shore Drive and see the skyline of Chicago.
Every time I see this panoramic shot I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I feel like the skyscrapers – these Chicago ones in particular – offer so much hope. As if these sturdy buildings will give me something to lean on anytime I might be apprehensive about the future. That something good is going to happen soon because I am in a comfortable place that I am proud to be from and proud to live in. That I have left anything unknown behind me on I-55 because I am coming home.
I feel like I have talked ad naseum about my decision to leave France and come back to Chicago, but I am going to come back to it again. I remember driving into the city shortly after I returned, and this jolly feeling of coming home being a gazillion times more powerful because a familiar song was playing on the radio. I don’t know what the song was. But it was one that I knew, and that felt great. Understanding the language in a different country is such a small small very small (although kind of big) piece of feeling like you belong there. There's so much more to it than that.
Knowing a song by heart that was a huge hit in the ‘90s, the one you put on mix tapes and the one that every time it comes on the radio, every single person present knows all the words by heart, too, and will randomly burst out into singing the lyrics… that is feeling like you belong in a place. I never had that in France. I wasn’t a ‘90s child in France. I was a ‘90s child here. This song was one of those, and although I was alone in the car on Lake Shore driving against the backdrop of the skyline of Chicago as I bust out singing the words, it felt really good to belong with every single person here.