Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where I come from

As much as I love to write, I've always been horrible without a prompt. I don't do well starting many things from scratch, but if someone gives me an idea, I can go on for days. That is why I think this month I will be doing a lot of Blogtember participation with Jenni at Story of my Life. She's got some great prompts in store for us, and the first one really interested me. Click the button at the end of this post for the complete list.

Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

"Where are you from" is always a questions I never really know how to answer. Ohio? Definitely. But Dayton? Cincinnati? I'm not sure. I've lived about 1/3 of my life in Dayton, OH, another 1/3 in Cincinnati, and the final 1/3 in St. Louis and Central Illinois. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so in some ways I think of all of these places as my "home".

Dayton is usually my first answer because that's where I went to high school, and it is the city both of my parents are from. Unfortunately, I've honestly never felt intensely nostalgic over the city. I love my friends and family who I wouldn't have relationships had I never lived there, but all in all, the place just stinks. I hated high school, and that's what it reminds me of. I also hate that it's a dying city and so many people get stuck there, living these lives with little to no potential.

That being said, there are some positive sides. It's a true "normal", midwestern town, and I appreciate getting to grow up in a part of this country where I had an all american, traditional, childhood. We got to drive the hour to Kings Island for family vacations, and on really special occasions, make the 8 or so hour drive to the beach. There were always creeks and rivers and lakes to visit and all four seasons to experience. People's parents were teachers and factory workers and members of the military. It was just normal, and in a day and age where a lot of kids expect to be constantly entertained and get handed out participation trophies (which I think is crap), I'm glad I was forced to have an imagination. And to know what it is like to not have everything handed to you.

This is the only pic I can currently find that includes all my best friends. Ghosts of best friends past covered with smileys :)

Living in St. Louis was similar to this. In St. Louis we lived in the suburbs, and it was a kids dream. Our subdivision had dozens and dozens of kids to play with, and we were within biking distance to the pool. I spent many days outside from sun up to sun down, swimming, riding bikes to the Saint Louis Bread Company (Panera, but the Bread Co was just somehow better), and playing in the creek or having kickball tournaments with my neighbors. It was where I started middle school, where my sisters were born, and where I made my first best friends.

Some of my best friends at what I think was a going away party they threw me before I moved. The hair. It still haunts me to this day.

In Illinois, it was a little different. We lived in little farm town outside of Decatur. There were 2,000 people in the village, and it was a complete culture shock. Most of the kids had known each other since they were toddlers, so it was tough being the new kid from the "big city". It's the type of place I think I could have grown to love, but we weren't there long enough for me to really ever get used to it.

Apparently they've expanded in the past decade. Source.

We left after a little under two years, but Forsyth did teach me a few things. What soybeans smell like (disgusting). What detasseling corn is. A lot of other various farm related information. And of course, a few things about Illini football. I was in a classroom there when they told us about 9/11. It's where my sisters had a lot of their firsts as toddlers. I had my first, and really only thank God, experience with the "mean girl"mentality that can make school so horrible. Those are things I will never forget.

Last but not least, Cincinnati. Oh, Cincinnati, how I love you. In my heart, this will always be home. I never really thought after college that I'd want to stay here, but now it's hard to imagine living anywhere else. I love the food. Oh, the food. So many restaurants I love, and so many I still need to try.

I love that people from Cincinnati, love this city. I love the parks. All of the things to do and places to go outdoors. I love the variation of food and atmosphere as you move from neighborhood to neighborhood. I love all the colleges. All the rivalries.

I could go on. This is my perfect place to live, and a place I am excited to hopefully raise my family in. I love that my husband is from here and that he has so many memories associated with what seems like every building we pass, or new road we travel. I love it that he loves this city more than I do. This is where I come from.

Erin LFF said...

Long live Cincinnati!!! :)

Kari P said...

As a Penn Stater, I can't really sign on to the Ohio State love :) But I really do know what it's like to feel connected to a certain place. I grew up in various cities in NY, went to highshool in a town 20 minutes outside of the city, but spent weekends, days off, and even snuck into the city all the time. Most importantly, the place that I love, the place that excites me is what I consider home. It seems you feel the same :) Great post!

Anonymous said...

Love this post (and your blog!) I can relate to finding a home in a new city. I'm originally from the Midwest (Iowa, then school in Michigan) and have been a West coaster living in San Francisco for the past 3.5 years and really love it. Except for the fact that most people have never heard of Iowa or think I grew up on a farm (not the case) ha! Look forward to following along with you :)

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