You know, when I first moved to Kalamazoo there were several people (actually, most of them) that responded with surprise. "Why on Earth would you move to Kalamazoo??" was the most common thing that I heard.

It was a bit shocking to see how many people seemed to loathe Kalamazoo. With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find an appreciation letter to Kalamazoo posted on Reddit just one day ago.

The post, made by Reddit user Rhiannonbecks, was simply titled, "Appreciation Post."

The post starts off with,

Dear Kalamazoo, I moved here for college and never left. I bought my first home here, met my now husband here and have created a place I call home, here. I’ve always loved Kalamazoo for the diversity and the openness of the community to embrace new folks in. Even when not directly connected with a community group, I’ve always felt connected to the community.

I moved here from an area that was dominated by rich, mostly white retirees. Trying to push for equal rights for the LGBTQ community and for people of color was a struggle. I share Rhiannon's sentiment about loving the openness of this community. It's a welcome change of pace.

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Rhiannon's post goes on to say,

Yesterday my husband & I joined several others at Bronson Park for the Women’s March. I made signs galore & brought them to share. Connected with community & got to know a few people running for positions in the upcoming election. I felt connected. I felt PASSION. I felt home. Yesterday I think really solidified that my passion is ignited when I’m a part of something bigger, something that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul. Community.

A quick sidebar - I want to say thank you to the over 2,500 women that showed up for the Women's March in Bronson park this past weekend on 10/2. Being surrounded by that many women passionate about the same thing was empowering. If you missed it, here are a few photos from the event:

And, much like the post says, I too felt connected to this community more so than I have the entire year I've been here. Moving to a new place in the middle of a pandemic can have that effect, though.

Rhiannon finished her lovely post by saying,

All of this to say - Kalamazoo - I appreciate you. I appreciate the beauty our city has to offer. I appreciate the diverse communities that enrich the lives of others whether unknowingly or not. I appreciate that you are a place that has given me space to learn, to grow, to heal. Kalamazoo & the people who live here - you are home & I appreciate you immensely.

Often times, it's so easy to fall into the habit of only focusing on the "bad" which is, admittedly, very easy to do. Especially with the ongoing pandemic. But, today, this was a very refreshing view on someone's experience in Kalamazoo and I'm grateful to have come across it.

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