In some respects, it seemed a lot like it was when I left. Most of the same buildings were there. Students waited in long lines to get into bars. I would walk past a place, and a memory would come rushing back. But, of course, there were many changes. New buildings. Shinier things. Recycling was everywhere. The Loop bus was nowhere to be found (I think there is a different version of it, and it is not blue).
A few times, I caught myself missing the college life and wishing I could turn back time and do it all over again. Learning. Going to bars and parties. Acting crazy. Not owning a car and being able to walk everywhere.
But this weekend, I went with my mom, an aunt, her daughter, and a family friend. Not my kid and husband. And the reality is, is that even though I did have fun--particularly seeing college friends (including one whom I had not seen since I graduated in 1993 and another since I got married in 1999) and even hanging out at the hotel bar until 1 p.m.--I am a grownup, and I have a family I love. They are my world, most of it boring, I realize. But it is a life I love and one I would never give up.
Besides, can you really go back, when you are so clearly not a college students and no one bothers to card you?!
But I will go back. And I will try not to let almost eight years go by before a return visit, particularly now that there is a nice highway to get there.