An open letter to Planet Earth about my favorite city

Dear Planet Earth,

You may not realize this, but there is a small town in the middle of the United States with a pulse. It’s a city that lives and breathes, and its heart is constantly beating.

This small town, in the state of Illinois, in the county of Cook – the City of Chicago – is the best thing that ever happened to you.

Earth, have you ever visited Chicago? If you did, you’d know what I mean. It’s a city rich with history. It’s a city bursting with culture. It’s a city filled with pride.

If you came to Chicago, you’d fall in love. You’d fall in love with the breathtaking views. At the top of the John Hancock building, you’d be 100 stories closer to the sky. In a boat along the Chicago River, you’d wave to employees working by the windows of architecturally unique buildings. And walking at street level, you’d pass by people shopping along State Street, people ice skating at Millennium Park, and people eating at an outdoor café.

Have you met anyone from Chicago? You’d know us when you saw us. We’re the ones who look like you, Planet Earth. We’re black and white, Latino and Asian, religious and secular, blonde and brunette, tall and short. We speak hundreds of languages and we accept people from all cultures as our friends. We know how to use a snow shovel, a leaf blower, an umbrella, and air conditioning, and we often use all of them within one week. We love, love, love to laugh. We bleed our sports teams’ colors, even when they disappoint us year after year. We know the proper way to make a hot dog and that pizza is only real if you have to eat it with a knife and fork.

Planet Earth, we invited you to come explore our city in the year 2016 along with the best athletes you’ve produced. We are saddened that you will not be able to join us for the Olympics, but consider this an open invitation to come some other time.

Because if you came to Chicago, you’d see why we love it. You’d fly into O’Hare and see how many people come through our city. You’d take the L into downtown Chicago and you’d visit the statues and the museums. You’d visit Lakeview and taste sushi and cupcakes with the 20-somethings. You’d go to Pilsen and see the artwork. You’d go to a Cubs game or a Sox game – but not both, of course. You’d go to Greece, Italy, China, Mexico and India without ever leaving Cook County. You’d visit the suburbs like Winnetka or Schaumburg and see our shopping and our schools.

I’ve lived in Chicago for nearly 23 years, and I still cannot get over how wonderful it is. And I want to share it with you. So please, visit us in 2016 anyway. Or next year. Or tomorrow.

Because until you come visit us and experience Chicago for yourself, you won’t know what you’re missing.

Lia Lehrer
Chicago’s biggest fan


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