It was right around this time last year that I made my very first trip ever to St. Louis. I was in the midst of figuring out what to do with my life. My options were a couple of drastically different directions. Long story short, I could play it safe and stay on the east coast (where I was born and raised), or I could spread my wings and try living in a new city. Needless to say, I was beyond torn. I wanted to stay close to my family and my friends, but I also wanted to gain some life experience by living in a city and exploring a different part of the country.
My parents and I flew into St. Louis for a two-day visit. One day consisted of my interview at Fontbonne and one day consisted of tourism and sight seeing. I remember my initial drive into St. Louis. I looked to the right and to the left. Saying something along the lines of “what’s with all the brick houses?” I slumped down in my seat to adjust the radio dial. I look back and think of myself as a bungee jumper. I was standing on the ledge, gripping onto my bungee with white knuckles. Looking down, I could only see how far the jump was and how jagged the rocks below appeared. Over the course of the next two days, I dominated my interview, ate some delicious BBQ, meandered my way through Forest Park, dipped my toes in the Mississippi River (that’s a big deal for an East Coaster!), and stood below the Gateway to the West. The bungee jumper in me began to embrace the cool breeze on my face, the beauty of the view, and the exhilaration of the moment. I realized that St. Louis has charm, beauty, history, pride, and culture. As my eyes slowly came into focus, I noticed that the trees throughout the city were magnificently exploding in pink and purple flowers. The brick architecture that I once mocked suddenly seemed to play a role in the distinct flavor of the city. After those two days, I became hooked–my inner bungee jumper took a fateful leap.
I am falling in love with St. Louis, particularly in the spring. Whenever I walk beneath the flowering trees, I am reminded of the decision I made around this time last year. I’m grateful to be here, and I’m grateful for my surroundings. I always try to slow my pace and absorb not only the beauty of the trees, but to also take note of the message that they so naturally emanate: I am exactly where I want to be.