During the Thanksgiving season, we all recognize the things we’re thankful for. Maybe you sit around your table and mention to your family over the feast about how much you appreciate them in your lives, or be thankful that your football team is having a great season. Personally, I’m thankful for a lot- flannel, the color blue and JK Rowling, but there are two things that really rock my world- my city and my school.
Photos from the 2012 Folk Festival
Every morning, I leave my warm house with a mug of coffee and wait for my car to warm up on the way to school while I weigh the pros and cons of skipping my nine am to sit in Starbucks and look pretty. And as I leave my neighborhood, all I can think is that I’ve loved living here for sixteen years. Once I reach the stoplight, I pass the bank where the tellers know me by name. Buford Road Pharmacy is right up the street from that, where I personally know my customers, and the librarians at Bon Air library have watched me since my mom was picking out children’s books for me. Wow, I am the luckiest person to live in Bon Air, where everyone knows everyone. It’s not that everyone knows your business way either, like high school. People are checking in with each other, and we’re all on friendly terms. I love this place.
By the time I go across the Huguenot Bridge, I’m into the rich part of town and pass the old street I would use to go to my job at Sweet Frog. Yeah, Sweet Frog had it’s moments where I wanted to pull my hair out but Libbie and Grove was a neighborhood and I loved my customers there. Around this time, I like to reflect on how it’s barely been ten minutes and I’ve gone from the suburbs to the city all by crossing a river. Wow, I am so lucky to be a Richmond native, and I could never imagine leaving this city.
Only minutes later I’ve reached Carytown, and passing through all the eclectic, local shops and restaurants I am overwhelmed that Richmond has so many fine places for me to spend my paycheck that I can’t find in other cities. Your favorite restaurant is a chain? I’m sorry, you non-Richmonder, please let me change your mind in seconds with Joe’s Inn spaghetti, Village Cafe milkshake, Carytown Burgers and Fries, or if you’re feeling fancy, French delicacies at Can Can. You want to find something cool? Let’s go to World of Mirth, the only Need Supply Store on the East Coast, or Bygones Vintage. Oh, you only have $2 to spend? Why don’t we catch Despicable Me 2 at the Byrd Theatre? As I speed past the many, many more shops in Carytown, I remind myself that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and my Saint Gertrude High School are just three or four blocks over- how lucky am I to have gone to high school in such a premier part of town?
I push the gas a little faster to get the green light and pass the Boulevard- and I’m immediately greeted by the Sunny Market where my angel Sultan saved the day for me when my car overheated a couple weeks ago and I’m reminded of the good in the world. As I finish jamming to “Blurred Lines”, I reach VCU, silently thanking the scheduling gods that my nine am means that I will always get a first floor parking space. I may hate running to Hibbs Hall in the cold, but by the time I get there la mia professoressa Vera’s lighting up the classroom with her Italian flair and I’m even more content. I’ll be meeting up with Sean and Vivian after this class, just like we do every MWF in the Commons, and they keep me entertained. I’ve got History 101 with Gavin after that, an intellect who interests me- we both advocate the importance of the humanities and he’s well versed in his field- canceling class once because he was “called in to Europe”. (Wait what do you have something secret going on on the side?) I’ll be meeting Alison, Ramya and Aayushi for lunch afterwords, thanking God for amazing new friends and just great people in general. I feel like after all this time, I’ve found people who really get me and you don’t understand how happy I am to be with amazing souls. I know VCU has 33,000 students and Richmond has a population of 210,000, but as I lock my car door and start making my trek across Cherry St, I feel like this school and city were made for me. Where else can I leave the city for elbow room in suburbs in fifteen minutes? Where else do I get to be around young, creative, and intellectual minds (and liberal okay I had to say it)? The best part is that I can be at a VCU building and cross the street and it’s a locally owned coffee shop. I just can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
It’d be easy for me to complain about living with my mom, or not leaving my hometown for college, but why would I? I get to see my family every night, eat better food than Schafer and sleep in my own room for free. So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you have- it’s easy to look at things in a negative light, but it’s a lot better for your mental health to look at what you have and say, hey isn’t this just beautiful? Because we’re all beautiful people, and there’s beauty in every situation.
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places, if you look at it right
– The Grateful Dead, “Scarelet Begonias”
Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your pie and this gif, you awesome reader. I love you and I’m grateful for you!