Learning to love your city: a trip to Washington Avenue

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I’ve always wanted to live in a city- New York City to be exact. The animalistic roar of a untamed crowd, the thin rays of street lights- hundreds of street lights- and the smell of fried foods, thick and trapped in the collar of your coat. The sense of boundless community and adventure that was so easily portrayed in every episode of “The City.” These were all the things that made living in a city so desirable and dream-like. These were all the fantasies that made reality lackluster.

For a long time I believed living somewhere other than STL would be the match that ignited the flame- a solution to all my problems and the only way to success. I still believe this to be partially true. Let me explain.

Just like how you get a hair-cut before the beginning of a new school year, or how George Clooney picks up a younger lady-friend after each 50th birthday, New York represented a fresh and fun adventure.

I could be who I wanted- do what I wanted. I could finally step up to those skyscraper dreams that I had promised myself were impossible to achieve in the Midwest. I could flatten out my fears of failure and take over the world.

Yet, it was this false paradise that hid the opportunities and adventure right outside of my window. The more I romanticized future city-living, the more I disliked my present destination.

A few weeks ago, I walked down STL’s Washington Avenue and couldn’t help but notice the herd of dog-walkers, runners, professional coffee- goers and even tourists Inching toward the nearest art gallery or gluten- free pastry shop. Strings of wind-cut flags and yellow bulb-lights softly swung between loft buildings, a handful of friends celebrating the beautiful spring day- this is what I had been missing all along.

I realized that it wasn’t the city that made the person, it was the person who made the city. That a change in scenery didn’t mean a change in myself. I’ve never been to the Big Apple. I’m a long way from visiting, let alone living there. For now, I am happily comfortable.

Each week I discover something new about my city, and the best part is discovering it with great people. Doing something you really don’t like to do–or, in this case, living somewhere you don’t exactly like to live– is a lot easier when you know adventurous and kind people- thankfully STL is full of these people.

I would know,  my best friend is one of them. I am one of them.

– romana

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