I love where I live. I love the people, I love the food, I love being able to say the word ‘y’all’ and get away with it, I love it all. I love the fact that it gets entirely too cold in the winter here, but so blazing hot in the summertime that you can’t step on pavement without getting a first degree burn. I love that after a late night of play practice on my drive home I see a maximum of ten cars and police officers stowed away behind trees not expecting any sort of riot coming their way. I love all of the familiarity that comes with your hometown, knowing the places, the people, and all of the right parties to go to, I am in love with this minuscule fishbowl of a town. But inside of my heart, I know that this is not where I will stay. Of course I could have some provincial dream of marrying my high school sweetheart, Mr. Right having his job at a bank bringing in the majority of the money and myself answering phones at someone else’s office, but I don’t. Oh no, my dreams are far bigger than that, and they reach many, many miles away from this town that I adore so much. I like the quiet and widely known town curfew of about 8 PM, but I long for Chinese food at one in the morning and Au Bon Pain on the way to my job. I long for close living space and busy noises outside of my window in place of the chirping birds. I want the constant sound of distant horns beeping, and having to always be on your toes in fear of a taxi cab running you over. I want the adventure that radiates from the city and the independence you gain from living there. I need to pull my thumb out of my mouth and learn how to read a subway map and to manage my money, I need to feel the struggles of paying rent and living for weeks on Ramen. It sounds silly, but I feel like I lack so many of the experiences I thought I would encounter that I need this opportunity to actually live life. I want these things so much more than I can tell, but only for a little while. I want to experience the feeling of having everything you could possibly need and want at your fingertips, the feeling that there are thousands of people living right down your street and any one of them could be the one for you. One who doesn’t know what cow tipping is and can’t fathom owning a camouflage jacket, that’s the one for me. I will find this love I adore, find my niche in society and who I want to become, and when the time comes for me to have a family, I want my children to have this childhood that I have. I want them to wake up to the sound of nature scurrying outside of their bedrooms in place of cars, I want them to know what cow-tipping is, and to keep the same friends their entire life that they’ve known since kindergarten as I have. I want them to love this countryside as I do, despite the bubbling racism, the awful boredom, and the one-store mall. Despite all of the rednecks smoking inside of the run down school bathroom, despite the judgemental stares of most everyone, I want them, too, to know the ease of saying y’all and the comforting smell of a BoJangle’s biscuit. I want them to have these things in their life, and to be able to go, when their time comes, and experience how the other half live, and be so grateful that their mother was a city dwelling southern belle with a love of adventure and a thousand stories to tell like I so long to be.