Monday, July 31, 2006

Passionate Ex-Pats

I did learn a few interesting things while in DC.

I was lucky enough to have many good friends in DC. There was one interesting common theme in many of the conversations.

The ex-patriots really wanted to talk about Saint Louis. And they were passionate in their desires to talk about it. They wanted to talk about it as a place, a community, activity. It was a very personal conversation.

I wasn't opposed to the conversation, but I honestly wasn't prompting or participating much in talk about home when I was in a new town which I had been eagerly exploring. I had groups of different ex-pat Saint Louisans, most of whom did not know each other. We had all met up at certain points and had liesurely meals, conversation and activities and such(e.g. museums, tours). And when we sat down to talk over a drink or two the topic fell on Saint Louis. There were rather contrasting opinions in the convesation, from disappointment to jubulation. Three of the people had moved to DC in the past year. One person hadn't lived in the STL since high school. The other was originally from DC, but had lived in the STL for ten years and moved out about three or so years ago.

They all moved to DC for different reasons. Some for work, some for family, some for marraige. Seeking new opportunities, coming home, landing a new gig, good job, spouse. Everyone had full lives taking advantage of the many offerings of DC and surrounding areas. These are not the kind of people that watch TV.

I could deconstruct the conversation, but I really did not actively participate in the conversations. It was fun to spectate for a minute, but it went on for quite a while. The passion was strong. Most of the conversation seemed to focus on the strong community, race, city life, balanced life, neighborhoods, business, unrealized opportunities, progress and lack of progress, opportunities and the quality of life. There was no solid conclusion of the discussions, but the topic was popular and the passions heated, far more than I expected.


Blogger Rick Bonasch said...

So what was the net impression shared by those out of town ex-pats?

Do they pity or miss STL? Do they want to move back?

Do they miss the easy access, near zero in-city auto commutes, and looooow cost of living?

9:33 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Well, of course they miss the STL. There is a lot to miss about the STL. I still miss Chicago and I haven't lived there in over 20 years. Heck, I miss Memphis and I have never even lived there.

I wouldn't use the word pity at all. Pity is a not passionate feeling. They do all think about moving back and almost seem to hold out hope. Much of it seemed in their heads. I found this amusing.

The commute wasn't a big thing really. Most of them were city folks in the STL and most were city folk in DC. These guys all share cars, have bus passes. There is a heavy city convenience factor. DC is pretty easy to navigate too. They didn't mention how cheap the STL is.

They seemed to express in a more invested, more connected, more interested connection in the STL. It was a personal kind of thing. Nearly all of them spoke fondly of the community in the STL. The access. The ability to do things on your own. I didn't pay too close attention to the particulars.

They all love DC.

I don't know. I have been involved in probably thousands of conversations about Saint Louis. I certainly don't mind the topic, but it is not something I think about specifically as such as much as I had.

Viva DC.

1:26 AM  

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