But for a place that is grey and dreary for about nine months of the year, it sure is gorgeous when the sun comes out.
|This is the view from my apartment window. I'm spoiled forever.|
My family stopped in Ithaca when we were on vacation in Watkins Glen, a few years before I was applying to colleges. We walked around the Commons - Ithaca's downtown area for pedestrians - and got delicious smoothies at Collegetown Bagels. (By the way, if you are ever in Ithaca, GET THEE TO COLLEGETOWN BAGELS POST HASTE.) I liked the vibe of this place, this strange little city essentially in the middle of nowhere. "There's a college here," my mom said. "We could look into it."
And now here I am.
I have a tendency to refer to Ithaca as "Hippieville USA," and it is. But I like that. I like that I can compost my plate in pretty much every cafe and that so many interesting people can be found here. I like that it's a little microcosm of a town set in between Ithaca College and Cornell University.
For most of my time here at IC, I was basically a hermit. I didn't really go much of anywhere. I stayed inside on weekends, watching Disney movies and doing laundry with my roommate. And now there's so much I have to catch up on before the great and terrible diaspora of graduation - things that technically speaking I'd have time to do later, but not with the people I want to do those things with. I have to go to the gorges and waterfalls that Ithaca is so famous for (we have t-shirts that say "Ithaca is Gorges," as well as various spoofs; my favorite is "Ithaca is Cold"). I have to go to Waffle Frolic (seriously, what a great name for a restaurant). That lake in the picture above? I've been staring down at it for four years and never been.
I've had so many adventures in places that are not here, and I think it's time to fix that.
I never really thought that I'd stay here after I graduated; I'd always thought that my chosen college town would be the place where I went to college and that would be that. But here I am, making plans to stay. And I like that. This town is giving me the chance, or at least, I hope will be giving me the chance, to make my transition from "student" to "real actual adult person" a little easier. I'll be able to tear off the Band-Aid slowly here. This is a place that is safe and familiar for me, a place I've spent four years tucked cozily away between cinder block walls and cocooned by textbooks. It's a place where I have friends - my roommate who will be staying here with me and who is kind of my best friend, as well as some other friends who won't be graduating yet. It's a place where I can navigate all the scary things adulthood brings - paying rent, buying groceries not on my parents' credit card, owning a car, paying off student loans - with some sense of solid, familiar ground.
I'm looking forward to discovering this place I halfway know. I'm looking forward to turning Ithaca into more than just South Hill and the IC campus. I'm looking forward to really claiming this place as mine, for a little while longer at least.
And, let's face it, I actually really like snow.