ah, how good it feels to be back home in san diego. i had a great time at my reunion, catching up with old friends, laughing and reminiscing, seeing family and friends in okc, but i am very glad to be home.
while back in okc i had a bit of culture shock. not the culture shock you would assume coming from the west coast back to middle america. it was actually socio-economic culture shock. i went to a small independent private school in suburban oklahoma city. the vast majority of students who attend there come from wealthy families. (on a side note it was interesting to see how much more money has poured into that school since i left.) my family didn't have a ton of money...we were comfortable, and my parents did a lot to be able to provide for me and allow me to do a lot of the things i wanted to do, but we certainly didn't have the same money that most of my classmates did. my mom was a teacher at my school, so that helped with our tuition significantly. regardless, i was around and in a pretty upper class, white, suburban world.
fast forward 10 years to me living in a neighborhood under redevelopment frequented by police cars and helicopters, with bars on the windows, cool local coffee shops and the constant parade of homeless people. i've been in this neighborhood 1.5 years, and i love it. it's home. i am lower middle class, living paycheck to paycheck and rarely need to go more than a mile from my house, walking to church, riding my bike to the office, walking to the grocery store and countless new local restaurants and bars. going back to okc was weird. i've been back for holidays, but something was different. i was at a luncheon at the home of the parents of a former classmate with their 5,000 square foot home on the lake eating lunch under a tent on their tennis court. it's a gorgeous home owned and opened up to us by a wonderful family...but it was so foreign. please hear me - this is not an indictment on white suburbia. if i had stayed in oklahoma, there is a strong likelihood i would still be in that world. but now i'm not, and it felt much safer, in a weird way, to be driving back into my far more urban neighborhood as jay drove me home from the airport on monday. it's not the world in which i grew up, but it's now normal to me...home sweet urban home. ~aroll