Alicia and I left Charlotte on December 19th and pulled up to our new apartment building in the rain on the evening of December 23, having crossed the continent and driven through thirteen states in five days. Much of the drive was spent surprised and thrilled by our surroundings, and I’ll remember driving through Montana for the rest of my life. But now we are here and settling into our new home.
Much of the first few days was spent getting the apartment set up and ready for us to live in. Multiple trips to IKEA, drives to other parts of the city to look for furniture, learning where the different Target stores are (including the one we went to our first night, right in the middle of downtown, in the pouring rain; oops). But those little trips allowed us to get our bearings of where we live in relation to the rest of the city; we live on the northwest side, across one of the many bridges from downtown. Our neighborhood has apparently just recently turned from a small shipping and boating neighborhood into a hip area for yuppies to live, a fact we’ve been told more than once and had confirmed by employees at a consignment store next to our apartment who were complaining about “people in the new apartments next door paying three times what I used here to for a whole house!” as we shopped and didn’t tell them that we, in fact, lived next door in one of those apartments. It seems like there is a divide in our neighborhood between people who wish it had stayed the same and people who welcome the change and the vibrancy it brings. We are able to go to multiple restaurants, coffee shops, record stores, grocery stores, boutique shops, and a movie theater within a two-block radius of our house. I’m glad for that and don’t feel any loss of the old neighborhood because, well, I wasn’t here then. But I imagine for some people I am the walking embodiment of gentrification.
After a week here Alicia and I both love it. We can be in multiple distinct neighborhoods in under ten minutes, the weather here has been beautiful and pretty sunny so far, and we have so much available within walking distance of our apartment. Our building is nice and so far fairly quiet because it’s so new and not full yet. Personally, I feel a new sense of vibrancy here that I didn’t have in Charlotte. I feel more creative, more alive, and more connected to humanity here, and I’m glad for that. The street intersections here are, outside of downtown proper, absurd, but we’re learning how to drive more comfortably. Even though it’s a big city it seems like people don’t rush around as much as they do in, say, New York, and are friendlier than I would have expected. It seems like people live here because they enjoy it, not because they have to. The apartment is small but the world outside it is really big; I’m enjoying finding out more about that.