A City Surrounded by Mountains

When I was living in a dorm on campus, my room was basically the size of a postage stamp, and I had tried to organize my stuff so that only the things I used all the time were easily accessible. I didn’t have room for any hobbies, and so I kept a lot of painting and craft supplies hidden away in storage. Every day, I stayed in my room alone, always on my phone. I left my room to go to class, to get food, and to go to work. Whenever I wasn’t at one of these places, I was in my room.

I loved going to work, because I worked at a beautiful historic building, where everyone you meet has a smile on their face. My coworkers were all older than me, but had the funniest stories to tell, and the best outlook on their lives. Every day, I spent hours at work, but since I worked in retail, it was often pretty slow, and so I’d stand there behind my store counter and read a book, or write in my journal. The windows had a view of the mountains from almost anywhere in the store.

I took the city bus to get to work, which took almost four times longer than an Uber would. But I just loved to see the city in the mornings. The bus driver would have long conversations with the regulars, and people would always smile at me and say good morning. As the bus went around the city, at the top of each hill, the skyscrapers were there, standing tall among the mountains that surrounded them. I’d sometimes read a book on the bus, but I usually enjoyed just sitting and staring out the window, watching the city go by. I saw so many people, so many lives, so many stories. I could make up a story for anyone I saw, as the bus passed by the sidewalk where they stood. The people walking seemed to move in slow motion, or as if they were frozen in time, just for a moment, and then they disappeared out of view, where their story ended for me, but carried on for everyone else.

I loved going to work because my coworkers were like friends. There was always some crazy gossip going around, and someone always had a story to tell you. If I didn’t hear a story from a coworker on one day, I’d surely hear one or two from a customer! The people in my store had all traveled near or far to get to the place I worked. They always had stories about something our merchandise reminded them of from when they were a child, or stories about their travel, or something of the sort. I never knew what to say to them, so instead I just listened with a fascinated smile.

I was not the best at my job, however. I loved being around all the people, even though I’m not one of those people who always knows what to say. I couldn’t compliment a customer into buying something, as the only things I said were “good morning” or “how can I help you?”

But, I still loved my job. I started working nearly every day, and I would often spend almost the whole day there. I could do some homework, read books, anything of the sort. Even on days that I didn’t have to go into work, I would just be in my tiny, postage-stamp room on campus, missing everything that waited for me there.

While I doubt I’ll ever be back to that campus, I know I’ll be back to the place I loved working. I had to leave because I suddenly had to move back home in March, which I’m so grateful for because I would have been trapped in my tiny room alone. I’m grateful that my family is here with me, even though I don’t always feel like I fit in. I’m grateful to be back in the city I grew up in — the city that always welcomed me. I’m grateful that even though I had to leave the job I loved, I have the opportunity now to find another job that I’ll enjoy, and I’m grateful for everything that city in the mountains has taught me about myself and about this world we live in.

What are some things you’re grateful for today?

-Anna <3

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