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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: A reflection on my move to Bloomington


When my dad told me we were moving to Bloomington 13 years ago, I immediately started crying. I panicked. I wouldn’t live in Philadelphia anymore. I’d have to make new friends. These thoughts freaked me out, and it seemed impossible to comprehend. I remember pacing around our living room, and suddenly saying, “It’s okay. This is fine. It’ll be fun.” My coping mechanisms have always confused me.  

Watching our apartment empty right in front of my eyes was unsettling. It was the first time I saw my room without my dresser or toys. The space looked so much bigger than before. It wasn’t supposed to look that way. I wondered who would move in next. I still wonder who lives in our apartment on the ninth floor and what my old room is used for. Does the view look any different? Can you see any new skyscrapers that weren’t there before? 

The morning we left for Bloomington, I watched the moving truck load all our boxes. I narrowed my eyes; I doubted they’d make it all the way to our new home. Would we beat them there? Where were they going before Bloomington? I also thought about the friends I was leaving behind, and how, ideally, I’d keep in touch with them — in reality, I’d probably never talk to them again. 

As we loaded into our navy-blue Honda CRV – his name was Peter – for the last time in front of our apartment building, I tried not to cry. Even though I was excited to explore a new place, I didn’t want to leave Philadelphia. Over the last 8 years we’d lived here, I’d become a city girl. I loved walking through the city to school and riding the subway to summer camp with my dad. I loved going to smell the real Christmas trees by the Home Depot, even though our apartment didn’t allow them. I always looked forward to driving by City Hall and riding on the horse carriages.  

But what I would miss most was driving into the city from the highway: The skyline was so beautiful and inspiring. I would get so much joy from watching all the skyscrapers come into view, and being able to live within that skyline seems like a faraway dream now. Driving away, I hoped I’d be able to one day come back and visit, or even live there again. 

I don’t remember much from the 13-hour road trip. Since we hadn’t unpacked enough to sleep at our new house in Bloomington yet, we stayed in a hotel by Texas Roadhouse and Pizza Hut, where we’d often get food. 

When we drove around town, my dad would tell us to try to remember the roads as much as possible. We hadn’t gotten to the point of using Google Maps on our phones yet, so every time we needed directions, we’d print them out from the computer.  

I missed Philadelphia, but I was also curious to explore this new town. There were a lot of kids in my neighborhood I was shy to meet. There was also a park a few minutes away to play at. 

Now, 13 years later, I’m tired of living in Bloomington. Yet I’ve also come to appreciate what the town has to offer. Even though I feel as if there is little to do here, it’s safer than a big city. It’s easier to go on runs and drive around because there isn’t much traffic. I don’t feel overwhelmed here; I don’t feel as if I’m in a huge rush and need to try to go to so many places in a day like I would if I were in still in a big city. There is space to relax and breathe.  

Sometimes when I drive in my neighborhood, I imagine how I saw it when we first moved here. The space felt foreign, and the houses seemed to loom over me at night. I remember how we were so excited to have our own garage; we wouldn’t need to forage around the city for parking on the street anymore. It was suddenly so much easier. 

It was easier to learn how to finally learn how to ride a bike as a 17-year-old and start driving in more mellow conditions (though Bloomington drivers are still the absolute worst). Bloomington gave me the opportunity to grow up and do things I wouldn’t have otherwise done in a big city had we never moved. I was able to familiarize myself with Indiana University and find opportunities to pursue my passion in journalism. Who knows if I would’ve fallen in love with it had we not moved. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the city rush though. I miss the huge crowds and city noises. I miss the excitement and adrenaline. I miss riding the subway and unconsciously walking over 20,000 steps a day. I think the past 13 years helped me realize that I want to eventually move back to a big city. Exploring journalism in college and all the opportunities it has to offer in the country, especially in cities, makes a potential move back to Philadelphia worth it. There is so much to explore and experiment in cities after graduation. There are more stories and perspectives to investigate. There is so much there waiting for us, whether you’re a journalist, lawyer or a psychologist. College — and ironically Bloomington itself —  encouraged me to dream about what lies beyond the small town of Bloomington. 

And even if moving back to a city comes with paranoia and overwhelming feelings, it’s still all worth it. I love Bloomington, but if I had to choose, going back to Philadelphia would be worth it every single time. 


Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian. 

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