I am a person of many dreams. Some of them are pretty unrealistic – befriend a dragon, marry Natalie Dormer, get enough sleep in college – but others are achievable. One of my dreams since I was a little kid has been to live in town.
And I live in town now, finally – inside the city limits, not way outside of them. I was thinking about this the other day and it surprised me, although I don’t know WHY. I mean, one of the reasons I chose the University of Iowa was because I loooooved how seamlessly Iowa City and the school blend into one another: The main street borders the center of campus, and many university buildings are downtown. I love being so connected to the town!
Back home, I didn’t live in town. My house is sort of in between two towns, outside the limits of both of them. Neither of them are within walking distance.
To be honest, I think that’s a big part of what surprised me about living in Iowa City: Everything is so close! I CAN WALK TO THINGS. I walk to classes and the dining hall, obviously, but also to soooo many other places.
I can walk to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center AKA the school’s gym. Ironically, back home I had to drive to the YMCA to exercise! (I mean, I could’ve exercised at home, too, and I sometimes did, but… the Y has a pool. My family doesn’t have one. So.) Here, the gym is just a few blocks away.
I can walk to the public library! It takes about ten minutes if I stroll, and five if I hurry. I no longer have any excuse for overdue library books OR fines! The university library is even closer.
I live within walking distance of multiple bookstores, which is DELIGHTFUL but also a little scary because now I have the power to be around books ALL DAY and hide behind the shelves and burrow underneath heaps of books and not go to class. I’M KIDDING. Even I wouldn’t do that. But I do appreciate all the bookstores in this area, and how I was able to walk over there to pick up my last few textbooks!
I can walk to meetings! I had another Spectrum meeting tonight, and a Students For Bernie meeting last week, and possibly another comic book club meeting in a few weeks?
I can walk to restaurants. OMG I CAN WALK TO RESTAURANTS. I’ve already gone out to eat a few times with my friends, and it felt really weird to not get in a car and drive there, because that’s what I’m used to. There are no restaurants near where I live, so I couldn’t exactly wander around until I found something that looked good.
Aaaaand last but not least, I can walk to the movie theater! I actually live within walking distance of at least three: FilmScene (a neat little indie theater that I plan to post about eventually!), the Englert Theater (which I have not yet visited, but see all the time on my way to the library, FilmScene, various bookstores, et cetera), and the tiny movie theater in the Iowa Memorial Union (or IMU for short – it has a lot of meeting rooms and offices and stuff).
I’m unused to so many awesome places being within reasonable walking distance, but I think the difference between watching movies here and watching movies in my hometown(s) is the most striking. Previously, I had to drive twenty to thirty minutes to go to the movies, so choosing to see a film wasn’t exactly a spur-of-the-moment decision!
Last Saturday night I was just sitting around with a book because I’d finished all my homework, and then my crush asked if I wanted to go see Pitch Perfect 2 with her at the IMU! So I went, even though I haven’t seen the first movie, because… crushes, right?! And because student tickets are $2. And because even though the movie was about to start in like ten minutes, we could walk there in about two.
ALL OF THIS IS SO WEIRD AND NEW FOR ME. I’ve always envied my friends who do live in town – especially my friends who live right around the corner from the library! AND AND AND THEY CAN WALK TO RESTAURANTS AND STUFF. LIKE WHATEVER EVENTS ARE HAPPENING IN TOWN AT THE MOMENT. I can do that now!
I can walk over to a friend’s house, too, which I could not do before – my bestest IRL friend lives almost an hour away from my house! Now all I have to do is walk to another dorm, or possibly just up or down another flight of stairs, OR EVEN JUST ACROSS THE HALLWAY. OMG. (And I see my crush every day, which makes me as happy as the bird in this GIF.)
THIS IS THE LIFE, I’M TELLING YOU. THIS IS THE LIFE.