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By Jenny Jiao, ’16

I moved into a small townhouse off Kenny Road in third grade, mesmerized by the tree-lined streets and pickup basketball games that seemed characteristic of this town. At first, I was an outsider; I didn’t have a cousin, a neighbor, or family friend that I’ve known for my entire life to talk to at school or play with on the playground.

Little by little, however, I meshed into the Upper Arlington world. First, it was the race to the “king” space for four square. Then, it was the Pink sweatshirts and Uggs, and now, it’s carrying a bag around school and saying “laz.”

I began to despise living in this community; I hated that we had little diversity: in our people, in our lifestyles, and even in the things we did. I not only thought Upper Arlington was too homogenous, I thought we were just plain boring—after all, we live in Ohio.

But in the last year I’ve grown to appreciate the little quirks about this place. I discovered the Book Loft, a bookstore with 32 rooms, on South Third Street, where I squeezed into corners on rainy afternoons reading. I explored the waterfall off Dublin Road, where I jumped into freezing cold water and my swimsuit top almost fell off. I went to the creek at Miller Park, where Maeve O’Brien and I found a little zipline. And I was introduced to the Short North, where I can get my weekly dosage of peach bubble tea and Plain-Ass pepperoni pizza.

Just two weeks ago, Secret Service agents stood in my front yard because Hillary Clinton (in her glorious pantsuit and all) was speaking across the street. How’s that for boring?

So I encourage you all, especially you seniors who have only one more year here, to make some good memories.

If you’re at a loss for what enjoyable things you could possibly do in this quaint little town, don’t fret. Flip to page 24-25, where writer McDaniel Hartranft and photographer Elaina Downey showcase upcoming concerts in the area. Or check out one of the interesting places mentioned by the Arts staff in “Corners of Columbus” on page 26-27. If you’re still not satisfied, peruse that magical gadget we call the Internet.

Anyways, I still don’t love this place, and I don’t particularly want to return and live here when I’m older. But, Upper Arlington is my hometown, and it’s yours too.

Many a person will ask you where you grew up, and you’ll have to say “Upper Arlington.” Will you grimace or will you grin?