During the summer of 2007, just before I graduated from college, I interned at Cleveland Magazine. It was an incredible, fun, educational experience. My commencement took place the day after my internship ended, & the day after that, I moved to Washington, D.C., to begin a one-year fellowship as a legislative assistant for a nonprofit. I told my mom that when the year was up, I was coming back to Ohio - back to Cleveland.
Nine summers later, I still work for that same nonprofit. And though it took a long time & a few states in between, I did, finally, make it back home.
I always knew I would eventually move to this city - & that, when I did, I would love it. I could just feel it, you know? (Remember this poem I wrote?) I gave up on the Cleveland dream for awhile when I was dating someone whose military career didn't allow him - or me - to choose where to live, & after that, I briefly fled back to D.C., my comfort zone.
But one day in October of 2013, I decided to pull a LeBron & take my talents back home to the Buckeye State. I lived with my mom for eight months first, & I wasn't always sure I'd made the right decision. In fact, for awhile I doubted for awhile whether I even liked Cleveland - but then, on July 24, 2016, I moved into the one-bedroom apartment in Tremont that I so serendipitously found on Craigslist. It was the first apartment I looked at.
And damn, it's been a jam-packed year.
I fell further in love, adopted a cat, moved in with my boyfriend, & made/solidified lots of new friendships. I attended a Cavs game & a Browns game, watched three shows at Playhouse Square & went to three Cleveland Scene events, checked out (& had cocktails at) two museums & explored one giant cemetery, ate at as many delicious restaurants & bars as possible, celebrated a Cavs championship, survived the RNC, & consumed countless lattes at my favorite local coffee shops. I celebrated two holidays I didn't know existed (Packzi Day & Dyngus Day) & sampled every pierogi I could find. I've even started drinking Great Lakes beer & wearing CLE shirts & embracing my accent, that nasally "Akron A" - all things I'd teased Clevelanders for in the past.
I was right along when I thought I would love it here. Here's to another great year, Cleveland. After all those years of wandering, I cannot thank you enough for making me feel, finally, like I belong somewhere.