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City and Adventure

nightowl's picture

This picture was taken inside Atlas Eats Kitchen and Bake Shop. The shop is cozy, internationally themed, and has a cheap breakfast. It is located in a residential area, where you would not expect to find a restaurant. When I first went to the shop I wasn’t expecting anything special because of its peculiar location. I ended up being surprised by how unique and delicious it was. Since then it has become one of my favorite places to eat.

For me the city is a place of potential beauty through risk. By taking risks with my time and money to try something new, I am going on an adventure. In this adventure I may meet new people, try new food, and see new things. I will also have a unique space to reflect.

The statements, “That was great.” or “That was terrible.” are both more interesting to me than, “It was the usual.” Whether or not I have a positive experience going out, my experiences combine to form a picture of what to expect from the city. The feelings of love, hate, or indifference I associate with the city particularize my connection to that place. This connection forms a relationship between the guts of city and me. The guts are the people, food, sights, sounds, and smells that become my overall feelings towards the city.

The curiosity I feel when discovering something new engages me with my surroundings. I see the reflection of my own imperfections in the city. My own privilege and personally held stereotypes in neighborhoods separated by culture and ethnic groups, my greed in high rises and discount stores, and my self-image insecurities in advertisements and shop windows. But, I also see the good side of me in the city, through random acts of kindness on the street, networks supporting art, soup kitchens, libraries, and parks. By being willing to engage, I am accepting that I could find something good, bad, or ambiguous in the city.

The feeling that there is something out there to discover gives me a reason to go outside, and brings out my love for the city. The infinite possibilities of what I might find makes me feel happy and nervous. The duality of these almost opposite emotions helps me to be more comfortable with new things, or in other words, change. I see the city as a trove full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Exploring the city is an adventure that is a humbled version of breaking the law or becoming a pirate. I can go down a street I did not know existed and find a new cloister of restaurants, or I can drive through a street hundreds of times before noticing something new, like a small Greek grocery store. In my hometown of Rochester, our economic glory days have faded. This means that when I do manage to find a nice place to eat, shop, or socialize, I treasure it.

Exploring my city gives me the chance to reflect, try new things, and become comfortable with change. It is full of treasures like the Atlas Eats, waiting to be discovered. The city in general has the potential to be almost anything, and that excites me. It is a place for adventure.