As people reach reach high school, they either have an immense sense of adoration and respect for the place in which they grew up, or they can not wait to leave. I was on the latter end of that.
I grew up in York, Pennsylvania. I knew what parts of York I should and should not have visited; I knew the stores to go into, and which restaurants were the best. There are multiples of anything one would ever need: two Wal-Marts, two Targets, three Panera Breads, three movie theaters, etc.
Because of the accessibility and the options, those in York have grown very comfortable in their set routine; I was absolutely one of the aforementioned people. I lived on the east end, so I went to the east end Wal-Mart and the York Galleria mall (perhaps too frequently).
However, as people get more and more set in their routines in York, it grew incredibly more obvious that people were tired of these routines, yet continued with them anyways because of ease and comfort. The older I got, the more I understood this.
I soon grew jaded to York; if no one else liked this city, why should I? It wasn’t a great place to be part of, and I thank my lucky stars that I was able to leave that town. Perhaps that had everything to do with me not wanting to leave my comfort zone, much like the others who I had just previously mentioned.
When I moved to Lancaster city in 2014, many things had just happened: my mom had passed away, I graduated high school, I got my very first apartment and my first ‘big girl’ job. I was scared, but I was also invigorated.
In York, you didn’t walk the streets of the city. If you did, you dare not speak with anyone, as bad things could happen. In Lancaster, however, it feels more natural. The three-block walk to Square One isn’t threatening. The people in Lancaster genuinely seem happy with themselves and their surroundings.
I quickly fell in love with Lancaster; not just downtown, but also the surrounding areas. The bar scene is expansive and inviting, the nerd scene is thriving and well, the hipster scene (much to their dismay) is becoming mainstream and popularized. I felt as though the people were easier to mesh with.
Lancastrians seem proud of where they’re from; this is emulated in the numerous events, vigils, protests, festivals, community gatherings and cultural celebrations that happen nearly each and every week. On any given day, you can surround yourself with like-minded people; they’re not hard to find.
On a side note, the food scene is amazing. Never did I think there would be a place like Silantra, which does the most amazing Asian-style burrito ever. Never did I think I’d encounter something like Dough Heads Waffles, which is a food truck that sells sweet and savory waffles. And don’t even get me started on Sprout on Orange St.
For me, Lancaster was definitely a step into adulthood, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. There is no routine to fall into, as this is very much a city that does not require routine to be satiated. Perhaps this is due to many people in Lancaster being younger and more aware of events, or maybe it’s just pure speculation.
Regardless of the reason, I’m definitely here to stay. At least for a little while. And while I’m here, I know I’ll fall a little more in love with Lancaster every day.