My peaceful Sleep Cycle alarm brought me from a crazy dream about flying back to reality around 6:00 this morning. I dressed quickly, kissed my husband and my dog goodbye, and left my cool Midtown apartment for the semi-dark, warm Atlanta morning. I walked a block to the coffee shop across from the place Christopher proposed to me, got a soy chai tea latte, and nostalgically waited near the infamous “arc” for the Atlantic Station shuttle. Lorde’s “400 Lux” lulled in my head while I gazed at the tall, shiny skyline that I now call home.
My heels clack on the concrete floor of the Arts Center MARTA Station. I smile dismissively at a group of Jehovah’s witnesses and walk down the moving escalator to the north bound red line train. Several stops and a bus later, I’m at work.
My name is Mary Chase Breedlove Mize, and I’m a city girl.
I may be laying it on thick with the narrative, but I’ve come a long way from my West Tennessee roots.
A few weeks ago marked one year of living in Atlanta. And since the world now thrives on the likes of BuzzFeed, here’s a list of 4 things I’ve learned while living in Atlanta.
4. People from Atlanta aren’t exaggerating when they talk about the traffic problem.
Traffic in Atlanta is horrendous. Highway 64 in Fayette County is a dream compared to the last three miles of my daily commute. The interstates here are crazy. Atlanta, for the most part, is a driving city. Over 6 million people live here. I live about 30 miles from where I work. I drive in the “opposite” direction of normal rush hour traffic flow since I live inside the perimeter and work outside of it – and there have been plenty of days when my commute home was 2 hours. I also often wonder what would happen if people drove less selfishly and with more common sense.
The silver lining, however, is enjoying the traffic in other places where the interstates aren’t gridlocked on a regular basis.
3. I’m surrounded by people who look, act, think, and believe differently than me (and I love it).
Atlanta is crazy diverse. It’s a city of homeless people and billionaires. Over 60 languages are spoken in 1.1 square mile of Clarkston, a suburb of Atlanta. I grew up in a small town. To put this in perspective, it was a big deal when a black student went to my high school. College, of course, brought it’s own diversity, but I was still in a bubble of sorts — I was around more people who were like me than people who were different from me. There’s a freedom that comes with the diversity of Atlanta. I can’t quite explain it.
2. I’m thankful for my hometown.
I can’t put into words how grateful I am for progressive parents who raised me to treat everyone–regardless of gender, age, or religion–the way Jesus would treat them. I love so many things about my small hometown. I miss walking into the courthouse and knowing all the clerks. I miss the quiet farmland surrounding my house and the smell of honeysuckle on summer nights. I’m grateful I can call Fayette County my hometown.
But for now, in this season of life, I don’t think I could go back to living in a rural community. I love the city. I love walking to places like the grocery store and the movie theater. I love Piedmont Park. I love the food. I love the concerts. I love it here.
1. People from Atlanta don’t call it “the ATL” or “Hotlanta.”
They just don’t. That’s for outsiders.