Another Valentine’s Day is upon us. While I’m not a huge fan of the Hallmark Holiday, I do appreciate the opportunity to think about my loved ones for a day. And it’s always nice to have an extra excuse to shower a little extra attention on my wife Linda.
For, me however, Valentine’s day is linked to another important event: It was three years ago today that I made the move to Phoenix, and as long as I live here, it will be a reminder of this momentous life shift. I have joked that while Linda is my wife, Phoenix is my mistress. On reflection, this isn’t really too much of a joke. When we first moved here, we wanted to give living in the US a try (I have always been am America-phile) combined with a desire to escape winter. (Believe me there is no better time to move to Phoenix than February!), and a love for the city’s mid-century architecture. While I knew that Phoenix was an auto-dominated city best known for sprawl and golf course, two things I abhor, I saw enough of a glimmer downtown Phoenix to make the gamble and move down here.
The past three years has been a whirlwind relationship. If you give Phoenix a chance, it can grab you in completely unexpected ways. When I first moved here I was a naïve Canadian with a 9-5 job at ASU and few friends. Three years later, I am a passionate Phoenicians, without a job, but with a robust circle of friends and an engagement calendar so fat, I need a secretary to manage! While I remain frustrated by many aspects of living in what I have referred to as an ‘urban desert’ the city and people has given me the opportunity to realize my true calling. While I have always been an urbanist at heart, I had always lived in vibrant urban neighborhoods so I had never had to think of it something that requires effort. Being an urbanist in Phoenix definitely requires effort. However, like the most demanding mistress, there is something about the city that compels me to put in the effort to make the relationship work.
As many of you know, I write occasionally for the Downtown Phoenix Journal. In honor to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, the staff was asked to share 14 things we love about downtown Phoenix. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, and my third anniversary as a Phoenician, here’s a list of 14 things I ‘heart’ about downtown Phoenix:
- Business meetings at Lola Downtown
- Chatting up tourists on the Metro Light Rail
- Co-working at Lux Coffeebar
- Buying unique housewarming gifts at Frances
- Lusting after jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson
- Discussing ‘infill development’ at After Hours Gallery
- Having breakfast for lunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast
- Stretching out on the grass at Roosevelt Park (3rd Ave, south of Roosevelt)
- Searching for ghosts at the Hotel San Carlos
- Winding down with a cookie and coffee at Royal at the Market
- Losing myself in James Turrell’s light sculpture “Mohl ip” at the Phoenix Art Museum
- Participating in the Critical Mass bike ride
- Noshing on chilquiles verdes at Gallo Blanco Café at the Clarendon Hotel
- Sampling the rotating tap at The Roosevelt Tavern
This is day 6 in my 28 Day Blogging Challenge. 22 more to go.
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