There’s a lot to appreciate about city where the place I now go home to every day is in, like the fact that there are always people walking around at night on the streets, the always-present soft glow of the light that somehow manages to even shine in the sky in a pink hue, or the somewhat comforting feeling of never being alone.
It’s so incredibly different from where I had spent the last 10 years of my life prior. In a smaller town of only 80,000 people, 30,000 of which disappeared during the summer because they came to study during the school year and had other things to do during the break, surprises were minimal. There, I knew my street names. I knew every corner and exactly where I could escape when I needed, how to get there, and who to take with me.
It’s a sense of unfamiliarity that I can’t escape, and similarly, I can’t escape in my new home. I can’t camp out in my backyard because it’s a campus in a city that is notoriously dangerous – this aspect isn’t what deters me though. What diminishes my desire to hang up my hammock outside and sleep there through the night is not a fear of being taken or hurt, but the lack of fresh air. I don’t see stars in the sky most nights. Small things like throw me off.
I didn’t realize how much I’d once loved my alone time, hiding in my room, the woods, concealed by thoughts, until I came to a place where I am constantly surrounded by some happening; that’s what a city is to me. It’s hard to say no to people, but sometimes I just need to go away somewhere no one will be. (It’s kinda hard to do without a mode of transportation and limited time, though.) I miss the outdoors, the true outdoors – not a urban park – a lot.
I am in no way complaining. This new home is great, just different – different from my Bloomington upbringing that I know realize was not part of everyone’s childhood. But I’m growing up.
Who knows? Maybe going back to Bloomington will start feeling weird after a few years. Maybe the city will become the familiar, and life will beat to a new pulse.