Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Ann Arbor


Welcome to Detroit! The current air temperature is really insanely cold with a wind-chill that will rattle your bones. Get ready for a week of no sun and gray as you enjoy your stay at your final destination in the greater Detroit area. I have returned for a visit to the one place that was never quite my second home but, after living here in Michigan for two years, the familiar chill grips me like an old acquaintance.

My four best friends are waiting for me in the car and forty minutes and countless cornfields later we pull into the ice sheet that is my friend Matt’s driveway on the University of Michigan campus. As the week progresses I find myself following old paths. Matt’s, coffee shop, corner store, Matt’s, bars, and back to Matt’s. While the University of Michigan is associated with both a big populace and a big campus, as I walk my route I see old landmarks that suddenly make me aware of just how compact this campus really is. My walk is spotted with old faithfuls such as “Big Ten Burrito,” “Quickie Burger,” “Espresso Royale,” and “American Apparel.” I realize the influence of the last as I see approximately 50 percent of the population decked out in the aesthetic. A weird mix of hipsters and sorority girls alike wear this style, the only difference being a thrifted coat versus a down feather Northface jacket and Ugg boots. Practical, some may say of the latter, but the stamp of Daddy’s BMW with New York license plates sits nicely on these girl’s foreheads.

A return trip is great because I know I will not have to step foot on one of the big maize and blue busses that once to take me to class in the art school on North campus. The knot of anxiety in my chest makes itself aware as I see the hundreds of kids queuing up all over campus for the bus, freezing and blanketed with only an eerie silence as everyone goes about their daily routine. The unkempt fraternity houses and the elegant class buildings are covered in crawling ivy, a sure sign of a prestigious institution. Only in mid-January, the plant is unrecognizable as such because of the absurd amount of snow. “You never gave it a chance, Carrie. Ann Arbor is beautiful in the summer.” Yes, maybe, but I went home in April.

Sent by Carrie from Ann Arbor

One Response to “Ann Arbor”

  1. Libby Says:

    Sounds like you’re in that time of life when nostalgia isn’t such a seductive liar. Hope you’ll keep an open mind about all areas no matter where you end up (because you’re sure to move a few times as your life unfolds beyond college) – everything has its pros and cons. Ideally, you’ll find the place with all the pros you need to satisfy.

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