Thank You, Chicago
by Basel Al-Aswad
Forty years ago, in August, 1973, an ambitious young man, I arrived at Michael Reese Hospital in the heart of the city of Chicago to start my Orthopedic Residency. I knew but two friends from back home (Baghdad) and all my belongings would fit in the back seat of my small Toyota. It would have been difficult for me to imagine how this great city and its environs would embrace and support me, making it possible to succeed professionally, raise a beautiful family, and develop most treasured relationships in all aspects of my life.
In addition to sustaining me in material ways Chicago offered me an education in the arts, music, and architecture, and civics. I have celebrated my most joyous occasions under its wings yet this city with broad shoulders has consoled me in my darkest hours. Over the last four decades I feel we have both grown and matured, forging an everlasting bond; my hope is that we can also age gracefully together.
I have traveled to many interesting and exciting places but always find comfort and relief coming back to my beloved Chicago, a place I call home, where a large concentration of family and friends reside (along with my professional associates and patients). I honestly cannot fathom living anywhere else.
Two years ago, in December, 2011, I wrote a short post in EIL on the 40th anniversary of my arrival to this great country expressing my gratitude for its acceptance (hospitality) and generosity.
Today on this very American holiday, Thanksgiving Day, 2013, I extend the same to the city in the Heartland of the USA, CHICAGO.
Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family.