“Before we go, look at how hilly it is.”
“And then look how flat it gets on the drive.”
And off Matt and I went to Michigan, where it was indeed much flatter than hilly Ithaca and seemingly everything was made of brick.
I only had 36 hours in Michigan before flying home to Portland, and I was excited to finally see the state beyond the confines of the Detroit airport–a lovely place, but it could be anywhere and I’d like it just as much.
Finally seeing someone’s town after knowing them for a long time is exciting. Matt showed me the high school (which was enormous, despite only having 1/3 more students than my own), where he’d had his first job, and the strangely close distance between McMansions and trailer parks.
And then we went to downtown Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. I expected it to feel like Berkeley, and it definitely had that same cool college town vibe, with cheap cultural food and unique bookstores.
Matt and I talked about how our lives would be different if we’d chosen large state schools instead of a medium-sized liberal arts one, but we can never truly know the extent of that hypothetical.
I was repeatedly astonished by the number of school spirit stores, reminding me that you can tell a lot about a place by what’s being sold on every street corner.
The next day, Matt drove me to the Detroit airport, the only place where I’d spent hours without ever seeing the exterior. And for the first time when I lifted into the air above the city, I had something to say goodbye to. It can’t be anywhere, because now it’s there.