Saturday, July 20, 2013

The 313

I am really amazed and nervous about how quickly time flies away. Our first wedding anniversary was this past Sunday already (I LOVE YOU, DARRY!!). Maybe time flies because things are going so swell -- the first year of marriage was not as hard as I had expected it to be. We got into tiny little tiffs and misunderstandings about dumb things, but the time spent biking in the woods, trying not to sound suspicious crossing the border just to get alcohol at the Windsor duty-free store, playing N64 in the basement, growing and killing plants in our yard, and all of our other adventures was way greater. 

What also really blows my mind is that right around now must be my one year anniversary of moving up to what a Floridian considers "the Great American North." (Yes, Michigan is typically categorized as the Midwest, but we seriously touch Canada. That does not make much sense to me.) Not only did I relocate to a much colder place with a higher percentage of wild bunnies running amok, but to a metro area that most people were pretty shocked to hear. "Detroit? You know that people are leaving there, right? And you're leaving Orlando for that? Good luck to ya." The decision to move up here was out of practicality more than a driving desire to defy all conventional expectation, but living near the Motor City became a lot more than that.

I had some fairly serious reservations about Detroit prior to being two miles away from it. Mind you, we do not live in the city, and anyone who says that they're "from Detroit" but do not live there are kind of being cheap to you. It's not really the same, so I can't say that I know from experience what it's like to live in the city. Darin sure can. In fact, his experiences had me a little traumatized to the point that we had to settle on somewhere else to start out. No little twenty-three year old girl enjoys her fiancé's car getting completely destroyed by semi-automatic gunfire because his neighbors had an argument with someone else, where a bullet hole went straight through the driver's side window. I agreed to be the one to move away from my family and home as long as my setting was a little less dangerous. And that's what we did, and I am happy with our home in what I guess is the "suburbs," although I've also gotten looks of surprise about Lincoln Park. I guess there are shadier parts of it? Not really sure.

We do things here and there in the city. We get saganaki in Greektown. We watch the Tigers play at Comerica. We shop for flowers and food at Eastern Market. We look at the cars at the Renaissance Center and then take the elevator to the top. We have a pretty darn good time.

We see beautiful things. 

(If you have ever watched the Superbowl, it is pretty clear that I did not make this video.)

Detroit is a city that most of America can't understand. Why would people stand behind a place that is essentially zombie land? Why don't they just let it fall to rot and let the crime lords take each other out? What good is it anymore? People who think that Detroit is a toilet and that its people are subhuman can stay home, keep shopping at their strip malls, and reading their Oprah book club books. Those people don't like culture, grit, history, flavor, diversity, resurrection. 

"Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus -- We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes."

All eyes are on this place now that the emergency manager declared Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. It's a public spectacle to see the biggest American city let the court help in restructuring the massive debt, caused by the worst of government cronyism and con artists elected to office. This move sealed the deal for a lot of people's opinions, that they'll keep themselves firmly planted where they are and pick somewhere else to go on vacation (as if Detroit was ever on their mind). It may not look good, but it's a chance to make a comeback.

Darin and I are not planning on leaving anytime soon. We in fact hope to move into the actual city someday. (Fingers crossed, maybe the BK will open up some nice real estate! Haha.) Does it make any sense? Not really, if you haven't set foot into the city, and have no idea that there are hundreds of incredibly committed individuals to making the city a better place and trying to change it into something unexpected. It seems like a dumb place to settle down and one day raise a family. 

It might be nice for our kids to say where they were born, and people already know where they come from.

Florida is great and will always be my stomping grounds, but I am enjoying the four seasons, the sports, the music, the art, the food, and the life. Orlando had no shortage of fun around every corner, but Detroit is an old soul, one that whispers in a way that many people can't hear it, or refuse to hear it. We want to hear and give back.

All of my thoughts might sound silly since my experiences are really from a point of observation, still living in another chunk of Wayne County. I do not have the feelings and thoughts that someone would who was born here, and died here after a hundred years. But I have some. Detroit, you have one more voluntary visitor and promoter -- I plan on backing you up in my heart even when the world says to tear you down.

Godspeed to the future, Motor City.

Love, Lara

P.S. I realize that writing has fallen by the wayside, which is a shame. We will get caught up someday. I especially owe my awesome, BFF spouse a tribute considering that I just waxed eloquent about the most dangerous city in America, hahaha. Much love!