I am writing to formally declare that, after almost eight years residing in your pseudo-rectangular borders, I am moving on.
I want you to know that it's nothing personal; my wife and I just need a new challenge; we need a place more in line with our ambitions; crucially, we need a place where trains—and not just those of the freight variety—are a thing. This is why we're moving to Chicago.
But don't think for a minute that I will forget all of the good times we've had. I will forever recall that first night, on November 10th, 2008, when I commuted from Indianapolis Airport to the little town of Anderson. The latter's neon lights had been so captivating to this fresh-faced expat, even if the illumination signified Burger King, Holiday Inn, and Blockbuster.
Incidentally, it's such an agonizing reminder of the rapid passage of time that Blockbuster is now all but a footnote in the history of American consumerism. I've been here so long that I remember renting the 2009 Robert De Niro film Everybody's Fine from that now-defunct store in Anderson.
But while that faded Blockbuster sign—no longer a member of the neon family—remains a shrine to what went before, my own gaze is set very firmly on what is to come.
Chicago is a city of immense size, dwarfing your good self in population, area, and height (at least as far as its architecture is concerned). You'd be forgiven, then, for thinking that such a move might prove a mental challenge of equal proportions. The truth is, I rather get the feeling I will fit into Chicago as well as a glove fits into a glove compartment. The irony of that comparison, by the way, is that I will no longer have a glove compartment: we're getting rid of our vehicle.
Indeed, the thought of not owning a vehicle and relying on Chicago's public transit system was one of the chief motivators behind the move. You have served me well, Indiana, but let's be honest: given that you are the second-largest capital city in America you don't boast a particularly comprehensive public transit system. I've warned other potential British expats on numerous occasions that America in general is simply not, unlike the UK, a land connected together by mass rail service. My hope is that this will eventually change.
But, sub-par public transport notwithstanding, there are things about you I will miss in abundance. How could there not be? When you live in a place for more than five years, parts of it devour you like ants on an ant hill. Perhaps that's not the kindest analogy; after all, your central region is not noted for its hills.
I will miss friends and family. This of course goes without saying. If there is a drawback to living a somewhat nomadic existence, it is that the people closest to you often become furthest away. There is no finer example of this than the people I have left behind in England. But your people—upholders of the term Hoosier hospitality—will be missed in equal measure. For it is precisely their hospitality that has made living within your borders such a heartwarming chapter of my life. And some chapters are worth re-reading every now and then.
I will miss the low cost of living. Chicago might not quite eat away at your wallet on the same level as London or New York, but it is nonetheless quite a leap to go from a $530-a-month apartment to a $950-a-month apartment. (Begin shameless plug) Even more important, then, that revenue from my YouTube channel picks up (end shameless plug). I will forever be thankful that you provided my wife and I with this financial platform, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the recession that accompanied our move.
In all, I will simply miss your day-to-day existence. That's not to say you will vanish the moment I cross the Illinois state line; I just mean that you will likely retreat, as Blockbuster did, to the back of my mind for a while. But that's okay; because unlike Blockbuster, you will still—I assume—be open for business.
And so, I'd sooner not conclude this letter by rattling off a laundry list of sentiments; rather, I will finish by simply saying "cheerio!" I cannot think of a more appropriate salutation for a state that remained so fascinated by my British vernacular.
A British Hoosier
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