Just outside Cincinnati, across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky, there’s a stretch of highway along I-71 and I-75 fondly known as The Cut in the Hill. Heading north, as you round the curve and descend down a steep incline, suddenly the city of Cincinnati is sprawling before you. A perfect, picturesque view of the Queen City that you catch for only a moment before you continue speeding down the interstate.
Exactly a year ago, I remember coming up on The Cut in the Hill as I made my way into Cincinnati to begin my new life here. My sister and I screamed with excitement as she snapped pictures and the U-Haul that my parents were towing rattled along in front of us. It’s a moment that I will never forget – seeing a new city that I would shortly be calling home. Knowing that I had arrived and that I’d be here for the foreseeable future.
It’s been a year. It’s been a fast year. It’s been a year well spent.
As awfully cliché as it may be, I can’t help but think of lyrics from “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”
It’s been a year. A year of 525,600 minutes. Daylights. Sunsets. Midnights. Miles. Laughter. Strife. Truths I learned. Times I cried. Love.
It’s been a year…
- Of learning that hot sauce on oyster crackers is delicious, and that I actually really like Skyline Chili.
- Of realizing that trying to make friends is a lot like awkward flirting and dating at times.
- Of flirting and dating and also being happy on my own.
- Of figuring out how late I can sleep and still be to work on time.
- Of stalking journalists on Twitter to build relationships, and ultimately convincing them to include Cincinnati in their stories.
- Of late nights spent dancing at Mr. Pitifuls, followed by Gomez turtles or Goodfellas pizza.
- Of FaceTime chats with the best of friends.
- Of taking pride in the work that I do, and being rewarded for it.
- Of being humbled, brought down to earth, and practicing patience.
- Of lots of porch sitting.
- Of sharing my faith with a community made of amazing 20- and 30-somethings.
- Of countless introductions.
- Of hellos and goodbyes.
- Of drinking wine and eating popcorn on Bachelor Mondays with the greatest neighbors.
- Of having a cousin become a friend.
- Of pretending to be an adult by buying a car, following a budget, investing money.
- Of slowly uncovering the stories of Cincinnati.
- Of opportunities to go behind the scenes, try expensive restaurants, meet fascinating people and be part of the pulse of the city.
- Of following my heart, trusting my gut and hoping that there’s a plan.
- Of miles flown and driven to be with the people I love.
- Of lots of smiles.
- Of creating a home.
It’s been quite the year. Cincinnati has been good to me.
In the next year, I’m planning on being good to Cincinnati in return.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 12 months. Now, I want to learn a lot about this city.
Fun fact for you: Cincinnati has 52 neighborhoods, each unique in their own way.
In my second year as a Cincinnatian – the next 52 weeks – I will be visiting each neighborhood to learn about what makes them distinctive. I intend to take photos, talk to people, try foods, visit shops, learn the history – dive deep into each segment of the city. I’ll then blog about each stop, with the intent to cover each neighborhood by next June.
This may sound familiar. I seem to always set out with these goals of blogging once a week, writing something every day. Well that hasn’t quite panned out the way I had hoped. Life gets in the way sometimes.
This time, though, I’ve told way too many people to back out. You know how people who are trying to lose weight sometimes tell their friends about their workout or diet plan, that way there’s someone to hold them accountable? That’s essentially what I’ve done here. I’ve talked up this new project with a lot of people – so now I really have to do it.
I’m excited about what the next year will bring. Similar to when I was first starting out last June, I have no idea what’s in store. All I know is there’s still a lot of Cincinnati I have yet to explore, and a lot of my life that is yet to be revealed. Regardless of what I’ll explore and reveal, I think I’m moving in the right direction. One week, one neighborhood at a time.