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Sometimes when my friends post pictures of gorgeous, snowy Paris, or when they make the decision to head across the pond to study or live, I get very jealous. It makes me almost want to go back. I realize that I could have stayed, that I had a place to live and friends and connections and a voice teacher…

But then there are days, like today, when I feel very fortunate to live in Chicago.

Today I finally remembered to bring my camera to work. Two days a week I work in the Willis Tower–formerly the Sears Tower–which is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, a fact which I didn’t know until right now.

These pictures are of the view from the 34th floor–which seems pretty arbitrary, but in order to get the restaurant floor at lunchtime, I have to go down from 35, where I work, to 33, which is the lobby of the Skydeck (the 103rd), then take the escalator to 34, where I catch the elevator down to the 2nd floor. Oof! But the good news is that on my way from 33 to 34, I get to see an amazing view of Chicago architecture.

And then today after work, I was exhausted and stiff from sitting all day, and the air outside was more-than-usually bearable, despite the low temperatures, and everything was just glowing in the lamplight and the fresh snow that fell last night.

So I played tourist.

It was at this point that my camera ran out of batteries, so I ran into Walgreens to get new ones, knowing that if I let this opportunity pass me by, I might not get another chance to take a picture of the Bean covered with snow.

I always forget, when it’s icy and frigid and I’m tired from schlepping all over the Chicagoland area (one far-flung suburb at a time!), that this is a gorgeous city and an exciting one to live in.

Or, as Ferris Bueller might say: