For the last couple of weeks, I've been in Athens, Ohio visiting my boyfriend. Athens is a nice place: a small college town with a pretty campus, a great bike/walking path by the Hocking River, nice people, and good food. Being here, though, I've thought about where I've lived for the last 8 years--and the fact that, much to my surprise, Fresno is where I've actually put down roots for the first time as an adult. When I leave Athens soon, there are a lot of things I'll miss, but I'll also be glad to be home.
Things I love about Fresno (in no particular order):
1. My morning walk along Van Ness and the landmarks along the way: the houses I wanted to buy, the canal where I sometimes see egrets and ducks, the people I say hello to each morning.
2. The view from my bedroom window out of which I can see my 18 fruit trees, the red brick patio, and my grape/wisteria arbor. In all four seasons, I feel a sense of well being when I look out that window.
3. My bookshelves at my office: the rest of the office is in need of serious organization, but I love the colors of my books and the fact that so many of them have fed me emotionally and intellectually. They make my office a happy place to be.
4. The Tower District: good restaurants (I wish I could eat at Senses once a week), Fresno Filmworks in the Tower Theater, the Chicken Pie Shop's green vinyl benches, the unique stores (read: they aren't chains!), and the twinkly lights in the trees.
5. Anywhere my friends are: I feel lucky to have so many people I care about who also care about me.
6. The Farmer's Markets: one of the things that makes hot Fresno summers bearable is the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies available.
7. The courtyard at Arte Americas with its great series of outdoor concerts during the summer. I love sitting under the stars and hearing mariachi music or ska (okay, I don't sit when it's a ska night, I dance). The stars come out and the music echoes off the nearby buildings.
8. All the places I can drive within 3 hours: like everyone else in Fresno, I love that I can leave occasionally and be in San Francisco, Yosemite, L.A., the coast, or the mountains within 3 hours.
9. Downtown: the public library, Fulton Mall, Potters' Studio, the Water Tower, Chinatown, even the baseball stadium. Downtown is quirky and quiet and economically depressed, but the lovely buildings remind me of a time when downtown was vibrant. I still hope that Fresno's downtown can be revitalized.
10. Since I'm at #10 and there's still so much more to say, I'm going to cheat and say that I love the recurring events in Fresno: the Rogue Performance Festival, Vintage Days at Fresno State, Jamaica My Weekend, Mardi Gras, Christmas Tree Lane, and Summer Arts are just a few of the events that I look forward to.
All these things and more have contributed to my well being. I may post sometime in the future about the things that make Fresno less livable, but, for now, Fresno is home.