Would you like to see your city or community through new eyes? Well, I'm happy to lend you mine! I'm a newcomer to Middletown and to the state of Connecticut. I lived most of my life in Pennsylvania, and spent the last seven years in the Buffalo, N.Y., area. I've moved more times than I like to admit. Pulling up your roots can be stressful, but it's always fun to see what's similar or different in your new neighborhood.
In all honesty, I give the drivers of Connecticut a solid A! There is remarkable courtesy here, much more than you may realize. People actually let you merge into traffic from the on ramp! I no longer have to feel my heart in my throat as I approach a major highway. And the pedestrian actually has the right of way!People of Middletown, count your blessings! It really is better here.
I've recently made progress in my battle with depression by losing 35 pounds. Imaging my surprise when I discovered that Connecticut is losing the race to obesity! Yes, we are apparently third from last in terms of the prevalence of weighty citizens. Did you ever wonder why? It's because you don't have strip malls and fast food franchises at every highway exit! I've been told this is by design, but as someone who lived with a Burger King at every other traffic light, I can tell you that it's helping me stick to my calorie count! Instead of thinking I want a Whopper Jr. as I drive back from Old Saybrook, I find myself wondering if I have enough light balsamic dressing in the refrigerator. What an upgrade!
The kindness and generosity of the populace was evident the very day I moved in. It was unseasonably warm last Dec. 1, a good thing for me since I locked myself out of my apartment while waiting for the movers to arrive. Everything was inside — my keys, cell phone, purse, coat, you name it. I got helping hands all along the way as I walked into town from the North End, trying to get to a phone. I flagged down a complete stranger in a pickup truck who tried to reach my landlady (no success), and who delivered me to the tax office at City Hall where clerks and strangers tried to hook me up with taxis or locksmiths. Someone there then drove me back to the North End to meet my landlady's brother, who arrived in good time to let me back in. Needless to say, I was singularly impressed. It all worked out that day, and has continued to do so as I settle in.
People greet you in the store, and even on the street, and seem to mean it! They look you in the eye. They hold doors and wait for you to enter, even if you're limping and slow like me. And the public library! I was overwhelmed. Not only is it a beautiful space with a touch of sacred history, it's also a treasure trove of free programs! In 2010, there was a major uproar in Buffalo when the county authorities decided to lower the budget and close multiple branches. And they wonder why the region is not thriving ... I'm exploring new possibilities and endeavors for this new chapter of my life, and there's so much to do at the library that it almost feels like a day job!
So from my stance as a newbie to all you natives, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you, Middletown, and the state of Connecticut, for making this a better place for me to be right now. Yes, the country's in a recession, unemployment is still too high, and taxes and gas prices are rising, but on a day-to-day basis, you are creating an environment that is welcoming to others, a place that fosters creativity and respect for the individual. Pat yourselves on the back, I say, because as seen through my eyes, you're doing a great job.
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