Ann Arbor. I have a love-hate relationship with you. I love your intelligence and unbelievable opportunities you offer. I hate you for this incredible intelligence: it took me years to actually understand your smartness and your generosity. I love your rhythm, your music, the orange glow of the old buildings' stained windows. I resent you for forcing me to focus all my efforts on mastering English and leaving me with no time to appreciate your beauty.
You were amazingly kind to your children, but I felt neglected: they knew your rules and I had to adjust to these foreign values.
Ann Arbor, the city where everything moves at a rapid speed, one's heart is always pounding, and eyes are filled with wonder. The experience is exhilarating, but allows for no doubts and mistakes. When I first met you, I was young and inexperienced. I had to learn. To learn how to be a wife, a mother, an independent human being, and an American all at once and you had no patience with me.
I needed someone to take me by the hand and slowly explain the colors of your kaleidoscope; you wanted me to quit stalling and achieve. You were pushing me ahead and punishing for errors.
I was lost, terribly lonely, and miserable. I survived. You, Ann Arbor, expected nothing less, but preferred more. I hate you for providing no guidance and allowing me to blindly stumble into avoidable mistakes. I love you for affording me the chance to make these mistakes. For having my son grow up among your intellectuals. For concerts in Hill auditorium and Power center. For incredibly well stocked Russian books department at the grad Library. For the immense cultural diversity of North Campus. I hate you and myself for not meeting all the expectations. I'll continue struggling. Maybe, one day, my love-hate will morph into something else.