Just a small town girl, living in a lonely … kidding. Just trying to set the mood of my “Journey”.
I grew up in London, Ohio — a town of roughly 9,000 people. I went to college at Ohio University in the college town of Athens, Ohio. My career has taken me to Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong and eventually Cincinnati.
Though Cincinnati is considered a “medium” city, here’s what I learned during my tour with the bigger masses.
- Holy rent. While Athens was no bargain for “decent” housing (our poor little, better than average house was also home to a rat, a mouse and a bat .. just the ones we saw), big cites are on another level. I quickly learned the value of having a roommate to not only divide rent with, but to divide utilities with as well.
- Speaking of roommates. Finding a good roommate is harder than finding a first job out of college that pays more than $30,000. I had roommates I adored and roommates I couldn’t believe were real – cue the singing of the Star Spangled Banner whenever we drank, continuing to use a non-functioning toilet for weeks and eating my entire fun-fetti cake (the worst offense to me).
- Rats are bigger in the city. Splinter, our aptly named OU rat was, by comparison, a small little fella. The rats I saw in Chicago and Hong Kong, put poor Splinter to shame. I vividly remember having a standoff with a rat outside of my apartment door one morning. I’m pretty sure calling into “sick” to work because a rat is in the way is totally legal in Chicago.
- The traffic is real. Pack your patience or even better, take public transportation if you can. I remember countless 2+ hour commutes for those 20 mile trips from home to work and an especially lovely 3+ hour commute during a very timely Chicago snowstorm. Getting out of my friend’s car on the highway, don’t worry, we weren’t moving, and wiping off her windshield with a pair of jeans was the cherry on top for that commute.
- Affordable options do exist. While big cities are home to amazing, and usually pricey restaurants, it’s not hard to find the choices that are more on your level. We spent plenty of evenings at Duffys for $1 burger nights and Friday happy hours for $10 all you can drink at Kendalls became a staple for our group.
- The world is a pretty big place. The city I grew up isn’t shown on most maps and while that’s desirable for some, it can be easy to forget the larger world we live in. Living in a big city offered me the opportunity to travel the world, meet friends from all walks of life and experience a true taste of the global experience.
- You can have whatever you like. You want a beach? There are multiple. Street fests? Every weekend in Chicago. Cupcakes at 3am? Yes please. NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL? They’ve got it. Restaurants and bars? Countless. Boats on the lake? Done. Dance until 6am? Get it. Trolleys around the city? My fav. No matter what the time of year and what you are into, there is always something to do.
While I will always be thankful for my small town roots, I am forever grateful for what living in a big city has taught me. I made friendships with people that I can’t imagine my life without. I learned lessons that have guided me to where I am at today and I gained experiences I will forever treasure. Thank you LA, Chicago, Hong Kong and especially Athens and London. You all hold a special place in my heart. I’m forever yours … faithfully.