Journal Entry 4 – Change of Scenery

08.22.21 – 8:15 pm

At this very moment, I am writing before a fireplace on a rooftop in Chicago. Magnificent buildings surround me, and the night sky is a gorgeous deep blue. Strangers are eating and conversing in other areas of the outdoor lounge. The day is coming to an end, and this is one of several cinema-worthy moments I’ve experienced since waking up at about 7:40 am from pure excitement.

It is quite surreal, living on my own, in a completely new city. St. Louis has been my one and only home since I was three years old. Chicago feels like an entirely different world. To be fair, it is not far from St. Louis distance-wise. Most of the residents to whom I’ve mentioned StL have nodded knowingly, or made some remark about being familiar with the area. But every aspect of this city is a total change of pace for me.

The buildings here are titanic. At any given moment, I’m guaranteed to see an absolute spectacle if I choose to glance upward. They’re beautifully constructed, well-maintained, and look delightful in the daylight or evening glow. I’ve always preferred looking out at the sea, or mountains, or some massive natural beauty. But buildings of this sort definitely rival that awesomeness. Especially at night, when the scattered illuminated windows create their own alluring sensation.

Being in a big city (the third largest in the country, as I was recently reminded) means I get exposed to lots of people from different walks of life. The diversity is wonderful. My Uber driver from Congo is one of several notable individuals I’ve met in just the last day.

I’m renting a room for the month in a fifty-six-story building on the famous Magnificent Mile. I’ve met two doormen in the lobby, both of whom have been very kind and helpful. The first was named Lavell, and the name of the second escapes me (I’m really terrible with names, and I’m proud of myself for remembering Lavell.) I met a young man in the elevator with a golden dog and a black dog; their names were Thor and Loki. I met a woman who has been living in the apartment complex for fifteen years, and is a member of the board. I met a kid roughly my age, starting his first year of college here in Chicago. I met a young man working at Target who wore a Black Panther necklace, which became an easy conversation-starter. I met a sweet and funny woman working the desk at one of the twelve (yes, twelve) School of the Art Institute buildings. And I met a kind gentleman on a bike with a dog named Snowball; he was charging for rides and I caught one to Navy Pier. I followed Snowball on Instagram, gave the gentleman my business card, and was promised a discount on future rides for featuring Snowball in the video I was filming.

So far, I have been doing my best to document the unique experience of living in Chicago. I plan to produce as much art here as possible. Within the next four weeks, I hope to complete an awesome travel vlog, a short film, several poetry videos, several videos involving cool people from the city, and lots of written works. I want to make the absolute most of my time here, and use the scenery to enhance and inspire the stories I tell. But I also hope to simply experience everything.

Some of the greatest stories are ones that never reach a paper, and are not captured by a camera. Of course, I’m referring to memories. I want to make good friends, eat delicious food, encounter lots of animals, see unforgettable sights, encounter noteworthy strangers, visit unusual attractions, step out of my comfort zone, and make this month one that I will forever look back on with a smile. Like the all-too-common posters framed in many rental homes… I want to “Live. Laugh. Love.” I’ve already trudged through torrential rain, dined in a Mexican cantina, walked under The Bean, stood before Lake Michigan, and awoken to a beautiful skyline outside my bedroom window. Memories are already being made.

As I’ve always believed, but learned even more so in recent years, no part of life should be spent solely in preparation for the future. The “real world” is right now. Whether I’m in school, at a temporary job, in between homes, or working toward some bigger goal, I must enjoy the present. We only have today. And I believe the next month will be full of some fantastic todays.

3 thoughts on “Journal Entry 4 – Change of Scenery

  1. I’m so excited to follow along in your journey!! Loved this recap. I felt like I was there with you!!

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