Saturday, January 3, 2009

That's who I am

I've been wanting to write this one for a while now...

A little over two weeks ago, we left our comfy, mild, conservative town here in Virginia to head back for a Christmas visit to Buffalo. The day we left, we heard that everything in Buffalo was closed. A snowstorm hit. No one was in school, Christmas parties were cancelled, and driving bans were in effect. Oh boy, welcome back...

See, two and a half years ago, we left all that was familiar to head to something different from what we had become accustomed to in NY state. We were not sad to say goodbye to the attitudes, politics, and bad weather that we'd known all of our lives. Virginia was refreshingly different. We have enjoyed it even more than we thought we would.

Going back to Buffalo has been nice in the past. But we usually leave our visits thinking, "Hmmm, nice trip, but it's a good thing we don't live there anymore!"

This time, it was different. We were extremely excited for this trip. We were prepared with our list of restaurants we wanted to hit, foods we needed to bring back to Virginia (gosh, it really is all about food, isn't it?), and our clothes to ski and sled in. We were going to experience Buffalo to its fullest.

And...we did.

We hit DiCamillo's, Viola's, Tim Horton's, Bagel Jay's, Tim Horton's, Ted's, the Anchor Bar, Tim Horton's...we had REAL pizza twice (NOT from a chain!)...we hit Wegmans and brought home Sahlen's, Weber's, Spiedie's, etc...we saw and played in enough snow to make 1000 snowmen...we almost crashed while driving on an unplowed thruway (while Greg talked illegally on his cell phone)...and yes, we were in public with Buffalonians...we saw and heard all of the classics...the guy in the Starter jacket and Bills Zubaz pants declaring his undying devotion his precious, yet pitiful team...the italian princesses with their black leather jackets and long black curly hair, stiff with gel to look wet all day...the lady that looks like she hasn't slept in weeks that nearly runs you over with her car in the parking lot because she's lighting her cigarette, and then tells you off for being in the way. At one point I think I saw a family of all three of these people at once. Every time we got in the car, I looked at Greg with sheer excitement in my eyes, laughing, saying, "we're really here! I love it!"

Suddenly all of those things that we once found annoying about our hometown were the greatest treasures we'd ever known. Even the crazy ladies in the parking lots warmed my heart. They made me feel at HOME. This is where I'm from, and I'm proud of it. There's no place like it in the world.

I don't think I'll ever live in Buffalo again. But I am so glad to say that my heritage is found in Niagara Falls and Buffalo. Greg is too. It is such a big part of who we are. It has molded us and influenced us. We are happy to take our kids to infamous WNY hotspots and explain to them why those places are special. We look on the city's oddities fondly, and, most of all, we CHERISH so many people there. Greg said that he couldn't stop singing the theme song from "Cheers" to himself.

There's no place like home.

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