Sunday, May 4, 2014

As I drove around Chicago today pointing at places to my friend from out of town ("That's the bar where I had my 21st birthday", "That place has $5 huevos rancheros so big you can split them for breakfast"), I realized how much of life in the city for me, and many young people, is devoted to this lifestyle of eating and drinking. In Honduras, my social life was limited. Work was central to my life and the time I had off, I used for simple pleasures: a run where you would end up finding yourself behind a herd of cows, a swim in the nearby dam, a fifteen minute walk through pine trees to a shop that sold hot coffee.

Chicago offers so much stimulation and even though I know that much of the stimulation doesn't do anything for me, I still find it hard to slow down in the city. Thank goodness for Lake Michigan and the stretches of grass where I can sit and forget the concrete behemoth behind me.

A couple weeks back, I took a friend to Pilsen to walk around in the predominantly Mexican neighborhood. When we drove in, we soon realized that the heart of the neighborhood, 18th street, was closed off because it was Good Friday. Once we miraculously found a parking spot, we raced onto the street, found a lady selling homemade food from her red cooler and bought Mexican hot chocolate and a tamale for breakfast. Men walked past us through the procession pushing shopping carts, trying to sell us palms and golden framed pictures of the Virgin Mary. After we followed the procession to its end, my friend and I opted out of the church service and ducked into a nearby pupuseria where I smiled at the sight of a Honduran flag on the wall and thought, well, even though Chicago offers me way too much, it also offers two things I very much want right now: a job, for one, and an avenue to transition.

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