Monday, December 11, 2006


It's seeping in. Mainly through images. I've always been a visual person. If you tell me a location, my mind puts me there. Driving down that street, recreating the environment.

The images have always been there, but for some reason there is an increasing emotional element attached to them. I remember that place and all the memories attached to it. It's nostalgia and always has been, but there's an increasing yearning for that place.

Homesickness is sneaking in.

Part of it is due to seeing great "slice of life" shots of the city in images on Flickr. Excellent photos taken by Patrick , April, and Devyn. Along with photos from my old neighborhood by Shannon. Everyday images and angles you see when you live in a city.

Last night was another instance. We saw the movie The Lake House. It was a good movie with a common sense flaw that left me asking why she didn't pick up a phone book. But it was the images of the city and how the story was firmly planted in the city. Keanu's character is an architect passionate about the city and it's buildings. It entered into my world even filming in an architectural bookstore I frequented. And one of the characters had the same last name as my mother. It was kinda surreal and definitely left me homesick.

All this and I was just noticing this past couple weeks how far I've come adjusting to living most of my day in another language.

In some ways, there is no going back. Just as I can't go back to Europe as a naive student or go back to life as a kid. Moving back would be a different experience. My life has changed.

We won't be going back until next summer, but part of me will always be there.


Anonymous said...

Imagine my surprise, an ex-New Yorker living for the past four years in Chicago, to come across your blog which in many ways mirrors the culture-shock filled, equally sudden, and equally one-way journey I've had since moving from Gotham to Chitown.

And then I look at your current post and you're linking to the blog of my boyfriend, Devyn, over at Looper. He's made it his cause celebre to amass a photographic record of the downtown of this city like no one else has these past two years. It's a thrill to see him getting mentioned in one of my favorite cities (we almost traveled to Montreal this year--Devyn's never been--but we didn't make it).

I was touched by what you said today. I recently went back to NYC for only the second time in four years. And in that time, I've come to love Chicago, the people here, the quality of life, and God knows the pizza (if there were only Poutine here and a couple of Portuguese restaurants, the town would be perfect). I saw the trip as a litmus test for whether I'd ever want to go back.

Don't get me wrong. I'm the kind of New Yorker who has preferred most things Chicago to the lifestyle I left behind in NYC, and I truly think Chicago bears a favorable comparison to Gotham, staunchly in CHICAGO'S favor, thank you very much.

When I got back "home" I remembered why I had left Atlantic shores for this Midwestern one. Like you, I realized--although I had known it all along--that this was a one-way ticket onward.

You can't go home again (as I opined recently on my "I swear I'll update it soon" website, Chicago Carless). But you know, sometimes you get lucky and find that home has, simply, followed you.

Peace, from your old home and my new one...


Anonymous said...

Over time, I'll bet you're going to miss Montreal even more than you missed home. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Mike. It's interesting to hear from someone in a similar situation. I was quite passionate about the city and city-living like yourself and Devyn. I kinda still am, but life is dictating otherwise. It's comfortable here in the burbs (an older close in one), but we will likely move back in the next phase of our lives.

In the past years, I've thought it would have been nice to live in Manhattan for a year just to experience New York as a resident. That competitive tension between Chicago and New York that I grew up with disipated considerably in the past few years. Maybe the next lifetime.

Rachel, I don't know if I would go that far. I may eventually get nostalgic for how Montreal was at the turn of the century before we ditched cars and returned to horse driven vehicles. Though I never say never. I used to always say I would never live in the burbs. Now look at me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah clearly, I was projecting. I think I forget that some people don't experience Montreal as I do. :)