If I were to tell you where I live, chances are you haven’t heard of my city. Or, if you have, you probably don’t know much about it. It’s not a terribly large city—a little over 100,000 people live there—but where we may lack in numbers, we make up in community.
I haven’t lived in many other cities before, so I can’t really compare, but I’m amazed and impressed at how active our community is. If you like volunteering, you’ll feel nearly overwhelmed by the opportunities you have. Looking to give away old clothes? We have four Goodwills and a Salvation army downtown. Like building houses for people of lower income? We’ve got at least two organizations for that. Want to pack meals for hungry children? There’s a whole organization full of volunteers who do that every day of the week. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
You’ll notice that we also have several elementary schools, four high schools, a community college, and one university. So I guess you can say we’re a bunch of scholars nerds here. But hey, what we put our efforts into pay off well. I have been told countless time by individuals that my community college is a good school to attend. The education there is definitely not average, and I feel like it’s really challenging me. My brother transferred from there to the university, and he loved both of them. We really put effort into our schools. We value education highly here, and I love that.
It should come to no surprise, then, that we also have a very active library community. There are four of them, and they’re always occupied: the one on the northeast end of town is always packed, the main library downtown has its fair share of visitors, and the other two have moved into new buildings because they didn’t have enough room for patrons! I’m always amazed at the selection there—you can often put books on hold that haven’t even come out yet, and, if it’s a popular one, expect it to be on your waiting list. Aside from the usual library services, we also offer several programs for the community—computer skills (fashionably titled “Tech Tuesdays”), movie nights, activity days for kids, Halloween events, and even a NaNoWriMo event that was hosted last year! The list goes on and on. I can hardly keep up with everything they have happening there!
One of the things I love the most about our city is the location. We’re right near the beach. Literally, all it takes is twenty minutes or so and I’m at the beach. I’ve lived here for so long that I can’t imagine not living near the beach. Over the years I’ve realized that it’s a privilege I’ve taken advantage of for so long. People come to vacation here; I’ve had some friends who didn’t live here say that they couldn’t move back home because they would miss the beach. And who wouldn’t? There’s so much to like there: the distinct smell of the salty seawater, the fresh air, the cool, delightful feel of the water on a humid summer day, the sadistic joy of chasing seagulls away, and the gritty feel of sand underneath your toes. Yes, even the sand, as annoying and pervasive as it is, is something I enjoy. You know why? Because it reminds me of the beach!
I’m very happy and thankful that I live in the city that I do. I do believe that I’ll be happy wherever I live, but there’s something very special about my city. No, it’s not big, and no, it’s not perfect, but it’s unique. If I ever moved from here, I would never forget this place.