You know how you have a habit of parking in the same area of the parking lot every time you go to Giant Eagle? In Marietta, first row past the front door on the right, close to the cart corral. You sit in relatively the same place in your favorite restaurant. You know which lane to be in for the next turn or exit. The unconscious habit things in your life that are that way just because you’ve done it enough times that you don’t have to think about it.
I’ve been living in Cleveland long enough for those ‘unconscious’ things to have kicked in. I don’t have to use the GPS to find the Giant Eagle or the church parking lot in Tremont where I pick up my awesome CSA. I know which lane to get into when I’m driving down Ontario based on whether I’m getting on I77 or I90. When someone says “It’s on Cedar” or “It’s on Lorain” I know if that means the east side of town or the west side of town. I know that when I go to the West Side Market on Saturday morning around 8am I will always find a parking space and the vendors will ask me what I’m cooking and wish me a good day. And truly – every time I’m at the West Side Market I look around with a stupid grin on my face - I can stop there for locally made Italian sausage or pierogies or pastries whenever I want because it’s a mile from where I live. It’s heaven for someone who loves to cook.
So I’ve been here in Cleveland for 6 months now, and it truly feels like home. I love my job and my coworkers, and am involved in really interesting projects. I am meeting new people every day. When people hear my story I’m often asked how I like it here, and my very truthful response is always “I haven’t regretted it one single moment.”
Not one single moment.
It is a new life for me, but one close enough that I can get to Marietta for important events, and my Marietta friends can & do visit me here. I’ve joined the local Modern Quilt Guild, and connected with my sorority alumni chapter. I’ve found new doctors and a new dentist. I love Cleveland and it’s abundance of other people with ethnic names. If I was still Karen Lazzaro – they would know how to pronounce it without asking.
I still have museums to explore, and will hopefully soon see my first minor league hockey game. My list of restaurants that I want to try is always longer than the list of ones I have tried, and I’ve still never had a bad meal here. I haven’t been to the zoo or the botanical gardens yet, and my friend Mary Ann just told me that I there are 3 places in Cleveland where I can learn curling!! (The cute Olympic sport with the ice & brooms & Norwegian harlequin pants – not the hairstyle). So many great things to do and see.
Moving my life to a different location hasn’t cost me my old friends, but has made me cherish the time with those friends so much more. And I love showing off what Cleveland has to offer when they visit me here.
And as one of Jamie’s twins said to me when they visited a couple weeks ago “Miss Karen, we’re sad that you don’t live in Marietta anymore, but we love Cleveland!”
Photo: Jamie's kids getting on the trolley from my neighborhood to the Indians game.