I’ve been in love with Atlanta since I was probably five years old.
Something about the skyline driving through to Braves games or the combination of road-side farmers stands and urban graffiti. I have always loved the eclectic southern-ness of Atlanta and it was a beacon of “the good life” for me since I was a teenager.
“Man, if I live in Atlanta when I grow up — I will be the HAPPIEST,” I thought and wrote in my diary probably 50 times from 2001 to 2010.
I couldn’t wait to be able to go to The Ted on any given day of the week, read the AJC on the reg and officially be considered a peach state resident. Strange aspirations maybe, but they were all tokens of the city that I obsessed about.
I had and have been to other cities of course; but Atlanta has always been magical to me.
Growing up I would tell anyone who would listen about how one day I would probably be VP of Communications for the Braves and if not that maybe I would work at CNN. Lofty ambitions, but life is funny. And great sometimes.
You can imagine what people said when I announced four months ago that I was moving here. It was the smallest surprise of the year. Half the people I told thought that I already lived here.
Now, I live here.
I don’t think I’m a bonafide Atlantan yet by any means. I DO have a Marta card; but I’ve never been to a number of the local institutions like Manuel’s or the Landmark. I’ve yet to really run very far on the Beltline and I’m not sure I could find my way around on the west side of I-75. I have no idea what the best restaurants are in Decatur and I haven’t been to a single festival yet. There is a lot to still see and experience on my “Atlanta To-Do List.” In fact, I probably need to create an actual list.
Related: If you live in Atlanta and have suggestions on what earns me my Atlantan certificate. Please advise.
But now on any given Tuesday I can go to Braves games, explore new restaurants, neighborhoods and museums.
Atlanta is home.
And I love Atlanta.
The trails. The parks. The history. The culture. The diversity. The food scene. The music. The access to hiking, swimming, home, friends and family.
There are so few things that could improve this city for me. (Aside from much improved public transportation. That’s it.)
But I found an Atlanta that I loved even more when Andy visited last week.
It wasn’t in a specific place or an activity. We had:
- normal nights at home
- tacos at Superica
- drinks on the Beltline
- King of Pops shade breaks
- hikes on Stone Mountain
- tent time at Lake Lanier
- tomahawk chopping at Turner Field
- picnics at Piedmont Park
- meanderings downtown
- sightings at MLK’s childhood home
- lots of neighborhood explorations
It was a normal week of me trying to share why I loved this city so much.
Since moving here, it has been so fun–but I promise you that each exploration was paired with “I wonder what Andy would think of this?” or an “I can’t wait to show this to Andy when he visits.”
Can you imagine how lovely it was to just adventure and have him there to talk about it?
It was the BEST Atlanta yet.
Turns out when you combine the city you love + the person you love, it results in the BEST days. But, not to cheese ball, basically Andy and I always have the best time regardless of what city we’re set in.
I was pretty close to right at 14 years old when I thought that living in Atlanta would be the end-all to pure happiness.
But this week I saw a side of an even sweeter Atlanta that I hadn’t quite experienced yet–and oh boy, I cannot wait to visit that place again.
In the meantime, I get to keep exploring. I get to keep finding new reasons that Atlanta is my favorite. More parks to venture into and more neighborhoods to wander. More days to learn about myself in a city that–over the years–has been integral to my figuring out who I am.
While I really wish Andy was coming back tomorrow or that my trip to Portland started Wednesday instead of three weeks from now–I have Atlanta. And if I have to be patient for the day that we get to make a city ours, I’m positive that 95-degree heat, 80-percent humidity, and all, I wouldn’t take any other place while I wait.