Artic freeze. Polar vortex. Chiberia. These are just some of the terms that have been running through my social media networks as Chicagoans hanker down in preparation for the coldest weather to hit our city in more than 30 years.
Schools are closed. Museums are closed. Restaurants are closed. Stores are closed. The city is on virtual shut down, with most people choosing to stay indoors today as much as possible. But, through the cold, the windchill, the layers, the snow and the shoveling, Chicagoans remain strong. Why? Because we've been through it all and then some - and we live for the summer that will be here one day soon. We chose to make Chicago our home - for better or worse. And, for us, the worse often means brutal winters.
But, between the grocery store stock-up trips, the last romps down sledding hills, the constant checking of school closure lists and the mad dashes to grab materials needed to work from home, our collective spirit hasn't faltered.
On my social media streams, I've seen friends take comfort in knowing we can all stay connected - even when we're stuck indoors. I've seen friends cheer others on in the final stretch of their never-ending journeys home in blowing snow and fierce temperatures. I've seen friends update others on important school and business closings. I've seen friends in other locales (warm and cold) send their regards and warm wishes. And, I've seen friends commiserate together in preparing for the bitter cold that has descended on us today - in our fair city where we've all chosen to live and enjoy life in no matter the temperature.
Settling in on what has made us settle in "Chiberia"
As I marvel at the never-ending piles of snow and falling of temperatures, I continue to go over and over what keeps me and my family in Chicago - our home for so many years now. The answer albeit a cliche is true at to the very core - it truly is where the heart is. And, that heart is multi-faceted to say the least.
Chicago for us is ripe with family and friends who we hold dear. Chicago is where much of my family lives including my parents and my twin sister. Chicago is where I met my New Yorker who came here, temporarily, on a consulting project 17 years ago. Chicago is where our two sons were born and where they now go to school. And, through it all, Chicago is where we've felt joy, overcome challenges, and learned new things - together.
Cheers to Chicago on this bitterly cold day
Chicago is a vibrant urban city that teems with life, learning and love, and offers amazing opportunities and activities all year round - no matter the temperature. And, as evidenced during these bitterly cold days, it's a city that doesn't stop for anything, and a place where people exhibit amazing strength, compassion and camaraderie - even when bundled at home, warmly tucked away from winter's harshest conditions or huddled together under a heat lamp on a CTA "L" train platform.
All of that is what makes Chicago a great place to call home - no matter the temperature or the amount of ice creeping up our windows. But, like most Chicagoans, I can't wait for my home to reemerge from the cold, ice and snow, and for us to head back outdoors to enjoy the city now - and in warmer climates that we're all hoping get here soon.
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