Seriously, in August 2011 we moved into the heart of the city. Some people thought we were nuts. Others thought it was a cool idea, just not for them. Still others completely understood our reasoning.
Life has changed a bit in that year. We were so far out in the boondocks before that having people over was a challenge, so guests were few and far between. We were in a cramped space, surrounded by the sounds of birds, tree frogs and crickets.
Today, guests are frequent and numerous, our home is spacious and the buzz of city life has replaced the sounds of nature.
We’ve discovered the good, the bad, and everything in between of inner-city living. Friends have had their cars broken into, we’ve had parking challenges, late-night sirens, on-going construction and road repairs and discovered that in the city, two miles is a big deal.
I suddenly understood how people could be live and die, rarely leaving the neighborhood where they grew up.
We’re in the middle of a historic arts and cultural district with a nearby park – so there are festivals, and fairs, and concerts, and all sorts of community events. Which means extra traffic and parking woes. It also means a ready source of entertainment within walking distance, sometimes quite literally right outside our door.
We’ve addressed the unique challenges of city living – grocery shopping (a post in and of itself one of these days!), parking, and safety (fortunately, in our neighborhood, the only real crime is breaking into vehicles – just don’t leave your valuables out!) and we’ve settled in nicely.
I’ve learned that my easily-accessible fire escape can double very nicely as a convenient spot for friends who smoke. I’ve learned that old buildings have old elevators and when the fire department comes to get people out of one they do so with lights and sirens blazing on a rig that discharges no fewer than five burly guys.
I’ve enjoyed walks through the park, meandering the neighborhood checking out all the little shops, and clambering onto the building’s roof to watch the Blue Angels, check out the fireworks, or enjoy a balmy summer evening with friends.
Routines settle in. I’ve moved to a different parking lot, so the window masturbator is no longer part of my daily life. Now it’s the valets at my new lot and the workers who are coming into the city for their work day. The Farmer’s Market is part grocery shopping; part adventure and all people watching.
A life-long friend recently asked me where, exactly, in the city we were living, and when I told her, and described the neighborhood, her response was, “That is so totally YOU.”
After a year of living here, I have to agree… Good, bad and everything in between, this place is so totally me.