Some days it hurts how much I miss Chicago. It hurts not feeling like part of a big and bustling city, it hurts watching my friends there make plans without me, it hurts knowing fantastic bands will be there this fall and I won’t, and it hurts knowing I have to wait at least nine more months before the rest of my life can begin.

But sometimes I forget that while I’m waiting for “the rest of my life” to start in Chicago, life still goes on here. Before I left in May, I was blogging elsewhere and wrote about leaving Des Moines.

This will be the first time I’m leaving Des Moines and saying to myself, God, I can’t wait to come back in August. Look what I made for myself this year. Look what I have to look forward to.

I didn’t magically happen upon that this morning. I browsed through old posts several times this summer, but it’s not until today that I’ve allowed myself to really believe what I know I felt three months ago when I left.

It’s little things: being able to stop by my professors’ offices and greet them by their first name, bullshitting with the associate dean of my college in the hall of the ugly and loveable building where I now spend all my time on campus, having rapport with local businesses both online and in-store, feeling at home and well liked and known on campus. Yeah, they’re things I could have had if I had chosen to go somewhere else, if I had gone to school in the city, but I’d like to think Drake and Des Moines are special in these ways.

I left early for class today, shoved in my earphones and blasted The New Pornographers. I walked to the tempo of “Moves” and felt an excitement — hey, there’s a bit of Chicago for me — for the upcoming year that I’ve been hoping would kick in at some point.

Just in the nick of time. Good morning.