You aren't the best state out there (you're really not), but you've been home. I'm allowed to hate on your high taxes, your terrible roads, and your awful governors who always seem to end up in jail because I've been a resident of this fine state for fifteen years. If anyone who doesn't live in Illinois says something derogatory, I pretend you're the best state out there. Thankfully, I won't have to do that for much longer.
I won't lie, it was great living so close to Chicago. That meant trips to the American Girl Store when I was little, monthly trips to the Art Institute one year in school, and a lot of authors come here on tour (not as many as New York and the East Coast, but still more than Kentucky and Virginia get). I've loved my little town, with its Square and indie bookstore (yeah, Richmond has a few but they're no Read Between the Lynes) and Groundhog Day celebrations. I'll miss this little stone house even though my parents don't like it nearly as much as I do. (They don't have the whole upstairs to themselves. That's probably why.)
Thanks for the memories, Illinois. I'll be back, I'm sure. BEA is happening in Chicago next May, and I really want to go. My friends will still be here and I love them as much as I love Taylor Swift. (Speaking of her, why is Soldier Field so freaking far away from everything else in Chicago? Try walking all the way there and back to your hotel. Your feet will be sore and you will be crying.)
So long, Illinois.