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Good kid south bend city

| Monday, September 21, 2015

I was born and raised in China for 13 years. I spent those years slaving to one homework assignment after another or counting down to the next exam in one of the three subjects I ever had in school: Chinese, Math and English. Everything changed a month before my 14th birthday.

I got on a plane and flew to John F. Kennedy airport to move in with my mother in Queens, New York. I can’t say that I fell in love with New York City at first sight, considering I got a good stretch of traffic on a highway before I saw the New York I was expecting, but I was excited to be in the infamous city. This is the “city that doesn’t sleep,” the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of.” The streets are supposed to make me feel brand new and the lights were going to inspire me. And they did! The city became as much a part of me as I was a part of it. I was having the time of my life. But about six years later, I was all packed up and leaving for South Bend, Indiana.

While I was anxious to start my college career and all, I was not happy about leaving New York. I am a New Yorker: I jaywalk all the time and I hate tourists, I walk to the exact spots in the subway station where the train doors open and my closet is a spectrum of navy, grey and black. How could I survive four years of this small midwestern town? And it wasn’t just me who felt like this. Notre Dame students in general have a feeling of dislike towards South Bend as a city. We call the locals “townies” and we make fun of it all the time. Thinking back now, I want to slap myself in the face for being such a brat. After spending three years in South Bend, I have grown to love this small community of people. One of the most important reasons for this affection is the fact that I feel like I grew with South Bend.

I still remember doing a South Bend tour as a freshmen and meeting the young, newly sworn-in Mayor, Pete Buttigieg in the College Football Hall of Fame thinking why would such a young politician want to dedicate all his time to this city. But walking through downtown South Bend today, having witnessed all the change its gone through, I can’t help but feel a warm affection. While I learned to dispose of my preemptive judgments about things I do not know, South Bend proved itself to be a wonderful place filled with wonderful people.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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