Note: Kapil and I moved out of STL after having lived there for almost 3 years. Since I had been clamoring for the big city life for so long I had not anticipated the wave of loss to hit me as I got ready to “leave on a jet plane”. Putting my thoughts to paper, I had planned to publish this post sometime ago, but the craziness of the shifting, packing and unpacking got in the way. Now I am glad for the delay because living in different place has given me more perspective and makes my goodbye even more meaningful
As I turned my car into the parking spot in front of my house one last time, I could not help getting a little misty eyed. Today is my last day in St. Louis before we shift to Los Angeles, and it seemed not so long ago that I moved here from India and made this city my home. Even though I had traveled to the US before, St. Louis will always remain my first American experience. And out in here in the Midwest, it’s as authentic as it can get.
Sitting in the parking lot, staring at my cozy suburban apartment, my mind wandered to the things that I will remember the most.
I know that when I will face the infamous LA traffic, I will dearly miss the five-minute drive to work at the lovely campus of Maritz, from where hubby and I would often take a detour to the Krispy Kreme nearby and indulge in “Hot Now” donuts. And I will miss heading out to the smaller parks that surrounded our neighbourhood in Ballwin for long walks or bird-watching. My particular favourite is Queenie Park which has nice trails into the wilderness where the sounds of the traffic are all but muffled and it is easy to spot owls, robins, yellow finches, mountain jays and blue birds. Sometimes the longer drive to Lake Creve Couer were rewarding simply for the shimmering view of the lake in the sunset.
I will miss waiting for the weekly Riverfront Times edition that kept me updated about the small but active theatre scene in St. Louis. I remember catching some excellent performances in UMSL. I will miss watching really good productions of Shakespeare in the Park. There is something very gratifying to watch these dramas the way they were meant to be performed, in the open for the general population. Sitting in the green grass of Forest Park, sipping wine in the twilight, as fireflies circled above you – these memories already seem like a different time.
I will also miss the cute little town of Kirkwood and the many, many weekends that we spent there. I know that the Loop is the more popular hangout area in St. Louis but I personally prefer Kirkwood – it’s just so quaint and pretty. During the daytime there is the little farmer’s market to browse through and in the evenings you can just walk around, or walk into the dozens of restaurant that line its streets. I have eaten some great food here, including Mediterranean at Ranoush, gourmet pizza at Dewey’s and fancy Italian at Amicis. A great place to drink down a few beers is Bar Louie. If you ever drop in at Bar Louie’s you must sample their loaded fries. Speaking of fries, I am going to miss dirt cheap booze and spicy fries at our neighbourhood bar, Fandango’s, where we went when we had nothing else to do and getting drunk was fun enough. Aah those aimless summer evenings!
I will miss lusting after the European styled lavish houses in Kirkwood and Clayton. I love the apartment life, but it’s hard to resist the beauty of a French Villa.
I will also miss the change of seasons. I may not miss the freak thunderstorms, tornadoes and six-inch snowfall, but I will miss the glorious colors of autumn and the new born beauty of spring which is made more meaningful after months of grey.
So dear St. Louis, I might have sulked and complained about your small town life, about never having anything to do, but for what it’s worth, I am never going to forget the time I spent there and I am going to miss you.