- Describe your home away from home. How is it the same or different from where you are from? Are there any misconceptions about where you are living and working that you would like to clear up?
Although I am working in Washington, D.C., I am living outside the city, in College Park, Maryland. This allows me the ability to travel into such a busy city as the Capital, and return home after work and outings to a college town with a more suburban atmosphere. I was born in Lansing, Michigan, but grew up in a town next to Lansing, which is much like an average town, not too big, not too small. The town was very much so a suburban town, and so I feel at home in College Park too, especially after two years in Ann Arbor.
One interesting difference about College Park is that it almost seems a mix of Ann Arbor and my home town. It’s more suburban, so it feel like my home town, and it’s not a college all rolled into a city, like the U of M, it’s more sprawling and spread out. I actually have to take buses to get to places!!!! Who would have thought?! But it’s like Ann Arbor in that so much of it is focused on schooling and so many people you see here are students. This is also like my home town, which is right next to East Lansing, and gets a lot of college kids all year long due to Michigan State University being so close.
One misconception about Washington, D.C., which I was coincidentally just talking with someone about at a volunteering event I was participating in last Friday, is that many people believe that D.C. is a city everywhere, with little green, and with tall buildings and apartments. However, there are a great deal of residential neighborhoods, where, if you’re standing in them, you might not know you’re in D.C. at all. I believed this before I came here for an extended period of time, too. I thought of D.C. as a big city, and not so much as peoples’ homes and neighborhoods.
Something which is a very important part of D.C. right now is also gentrification which is happening all around the city. For a long time D.C. was run-down due to the lack of money from the people living in the city, especially from Black families, which were not able to make as much money as their White counterparts due to the typical racist attitudes. Because of this, white flight, and urban sprawl, for a while Black people made up a great deal of the city’s population. Now, people are coming to D.C. and building incredibly expensive apartments and houses, virtually making it impossible for the city’s poorer inhabitants to continue living there. This not only affects Black families, but also elderly people, who aren’t able to keep up with rising house prices. I think this is one thing I don’t hear about as much as I do hear about gentrification in other cities, but it’s becoming a major problem in D.C, and it’s important that this problem gets a lot of attention.
To this post I’ve included a picture of myself at the volunteer event I took part in last Friday. SHARE Food Network works to share food with local community members, who pay low prices for good sized and good quality food.