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The City and Me

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     I grew up with a backyard and peaceful, quiet nights. I grew up climbing trees and driving fifteen minutes just to go to the store. I grew up knowing my neighbors and loving my community. I guess I grew up in the “suburbs”.

     Although cities are foreign to me, I find myself to be increasingly comfortable with their quirks and characteristics. The notion of public transportation has grown on me, and I love how every necessity is only a short walk away. However, I don’t think I will ever adjust to the apathy when it comes to nature. I don’t understand how city dwellers can live for months without seeing a real forest.

     North Carolina is different. Great pine trees grow everywhere they can, and no one wants to replace them with noisy highways. Also in North Carolina, however, there are some less appealing qualities.  Public transit, although free, is equivalent to a horse and carriage—not frequently seen or used. In addition to this flaw, my hometown is pretty quiet.

     Chapel Hill, North Carolina has over fifty-five retirement communities, and considering how small the town is, that is a considerable amount of the population who is past their partying prime.  The only “hot spot” in Chapel Hill is Franklin Street, the main street near the local college. There, some stores are even open past nine!

     Even with these downfalls, I love North Carolina. But I am not as closed-minded as one might think. Just by looking at the image I’ve chosen, my love for the suburb can be questioned, and replaced with dumpling-filled confusion.

     With all this talk of my suburban self, questions probably have arisen about my photo; what is up with the dumplings? Every year since I was little, my family and I have visited New York for Thanksgiving. My father’s family is from the Big Apple, and my dad loves to walk the familiar streets. His pace quickens as we near the city, and it’s almost impossible to keep up with him once we start spotting the yellow taxis.

     Although these trips terrified me as a child—with the aggressive horns and the constantly whirring activity, I now focus on the wonderful aspects of the city. I love the theater, I love the subways, and I love the food. New York is where I found my favorite restaurant and made some of my best memories.

    Joe’s Shanghai is a world famous eatery where one can find everything their heart might desire, as long as their heart desires delicious Chinese cuisine. Their menu is most appreciated for their soup dumplings, but my family has stumbled upon another treasure, the eggplant and chicken dish. Together, these foods create a meal that can never be forgotten, and the “family style” setup of the restaurant, in which you might end up sitting next to a total stranger, results in some of the best conversations. As a matter of fact, Joe’s Shanghai is where I first learned about Bryn Mawr.

     My father and I were driving through the Northeastern states, doing the bildungsroman-type “college search” that we’ve all been through. We stopped in New York and were eating our favorite soup dumplings when the woman next to us (a Bryn Mawr alum) started talking. She told us wonderful things about Bryn Mawr, and even pointed out the owl earrings she was wearing. As her friends stared, the woman talked us into visiting Bryn Mawr on our way back home.

     Once I stepped on the Bryn Mawr campus, I knew this was the place for me. I have been very grateful to that woman, and Joe’s Shanghai, ever since. My relationship with the city, although not always perfect, is immensely strong. New York houses my favorite restaurants, shows, and memories. “The City” brought me to where I am today.



ecohn's picture

The Picture

The image shown of Joe's Shanghai's Soup dumplings was found online.