Back when we visited in February and again in May, we got the whirlwind tour, and there were so many advantages that we could pinpoint right away. We've been in our house for almost a month now, and in that time we've been trying to take advantage of the city's offerings. As I've walked uptown, sat on the front porch, or ridden my bike around the neighborhood, a few things have stood out. As a new resident, here are some of my random thoughts on our new hood.
- Bookstores! There are bookstores! I might not need to purchase textbooks, but I love browsing bookstore shelves. I know I can buy books cheaper online, but when I saw a new picture book on display at a local independent bookstore, I knew that I was meant to buy it there since I had it right in my hands.
- How wonderful is an actual vibrant downtown area, even if it's supposed to be called 'uptown.' There's an art-housey type theater within walking distance, and we've already seen two independent films there. There are unique shops, restaurants of all kinds, and a wonderful art studio where artists with disabilities work with artists without disabilities to create really incredible pieces. Shopping will be interesting, for sure. Oh, and how could I almost forget? There's a cookie shop that is only open in the evening until the wee hours of the morning. (Talk about knowing your main clientele!) We may have sat in our minivan one night eating cookies and drinking overpriced milk while bar patrons streamed by on the adjacent sidewalk. We're old, but we know what we like.
- University = opportunities for concerts and live theater. Yay! And this spring just happens to see the 20th anniversary tour of RENT coming to town. Yes, please!
|Not between classes, not late at night, so you can actually see the sidewalk|
- Drunkenness on full display, no matter what time of day? Okay, I'm going to chalk it up to the very beginning of the semester, and the craziness that accompanies a bunch of not-quite-adults enjoying an environment of freedom, but it's been wild watching the huge parties on front porches in the afternoon and masses of wobbly walkers on the sidewalks at night. I've heard more than one, "I'm not drunk!" protestation that couldn't have been further from the truth, and I even had an oddly innocent and encouraging version of a catcall as I walked uptown the other morning. Two shirtless young men called down from an apartment balcony, "You guys have a great day! Go get 'em!" in the direction of the sidewalk where I and another woman were walking. Okay, then.
- When students return to town, the culture shifts a bit, and I've found myself wrestling with how to address some things with the children. Thankfully, they didn't notice the few signs hanging from off-campus houses in this disgusting fashion the other day, so I didn't need to tackle it in that moment, but I was happy to see a response to a local story about the signs that reflected a community that won't stand for these misogynistic displays.
- As the university seems to employ the vast, vast majority of folks in town, we're definitely the odd ones out having no affiliation whatsoever. We've baffled person after person in saying that neither of us got a job at the university as the reason prompting our move.
- Above all else, I'm finding that living in a college town is making me reminisce even more than I'm already prone to do. Since my husband and I met during our freshman year of college, it's a vibrant time in my memory, and seeing college students again on a regular basis is making me think a lot about that time in my own life. So let's just say that I'm feeling pretty old these days, but the recollections are making me smile at least.