While looking for some new music on iTunes yesterday, I happ'd upon a series of language learning podcasts that happen to be free. Now, I imagine that there are about a million of these out there for Modern, Conversational Hebrew, but I thought I'd give this one a go, and it turns out to be incredibly well produced and very easy to listen to. There's a website, which I imagine can direct you to the iTunes, over at LearnHebrewPod.com.
I managed to get out and about today, grabbing some groceries, through the goods in the crockpot (I'm making Crockpot Creamy Italian Chicken, and boy does it smell good), head back out to Crate and Barrel where I grabbed a pepper grinder and a brand new shiny grapefruit-eating device. I have to say thanks to Kosher Academic for giving me my first taste of grapefruit at last week's shabbat lunch. I then went to the bookstore to see if there were any good Pesach books, and happened to pick up two copies of the Passover Haggadah with comments by Elie Wiesel, because well, it was on sale!! So it was a good day of getting out and doing things, darn't.
For the first time, today, though, while riding the Sheridan bus downtown and watching runners along the lakefront and the skyline of Chicago's downtown get closer and bigger, I realized that the moment I leave Chicago I will most certainly be devastated. Chicago is *the* perfect American city. I missed Denver desperately when I left several years ago, because I was the happiest I'd ever been when I was living there. I was eating healthier and was active and engaged in life in so many ways. But the way I feel about Denver and the way I feel about Chicago are very different, and I know that when I'm done with school I intend to move to either of these cities. Chicago, though, holds this special, unmovable place in my heart. Everything is so close, almost scrunched, there are areas of town that are so jampacked with people and stores it almost looks dirty, but it's just the way a blue-collar city was meant to look. There are bars and little joints selling burgers and dogs on every corner. Cars are unnecessary and the lake is right there. People go out, they do things, and without their cars. It's a moving city that rarely ever sleeps, but not in the same manner as a place like New York. The people here are -- for the most part -- friendly, working people who know what it means to earn and lose a buck. Yes, it's gentrifying like every other city in the U.S., but it will never lose it's classic roots that define it as a rough-and-tumble town where people work to get by, where people stop in after work for a beer, and it's easier than you'd think to become a regular just about anywhere.
So there we are. On that note, I can say that I also realized today that I am happier right now, in this very moment, than I have been in quite some time. I feel good about where I'm going, and I feel good about where I am right now. I have a solid group of friends, including several who I can talk to about the most personal, emotionally devastating events in my life. I'm excited about what I will be doing with my life, and I feel like there are big, big things in store for me. I feel like I'm on my feet. I feel like there is nothing that will keep me down, and that I am growing evermore every day in my Judaism and identity of the self. I feel like I'm doing really well with my blogging, and that, if anything, maybe I'm helping someone out there in some way. Basically, folks, I feel good. And it feels so, so good.