Ada isn’t a tourist town, but for me it will be

Ellie McDowell

More stories from Ellie McDowell

It takes a village
April 19, 2023

Joe Smith

Two of my best friends and I before homecoming. I’m going to miss these two.

Someday soon I’m going to be a tourist in my own town.

For years I have done little but talk about wanting to get out of Michigan. I have known—for as long as I can remember—that Michigan will never be my forever home. Maybe Pennsylvania won’t be either, but it’s a temporary one. Temporary, but perhaps a little less so than Michigan was. Less, not because I will be there longer necessarily, but because it’s an option for forever. Michigan never was.

As excited as I am to leave this place I’ve called home for 17 years, there are countless things I’m going to miss. My hometown isn’t a tourist destination, but soon I will be only a mere visitor.

I will miss Lake Michigan. I will miss evening drives to Grand Haven the night before school starts. I will miss sitting on top of my car listening to music and watching the sun disappear beneath the water. I will miss sand in my high tops because I thought sneakers were a good idea on the beach.

I will miss FHC. I will miss football games and halftime shows. I will miss dreading some of my classes and celebrating others. I will miss dances and bonfires. I will miss lip-syncs and Ranger Challenges. I will miss teachers who I know for a fact believe in me, even if I let them down sometimes.

I will miss the constant road work. I know this is a weird thing to miss, but it has become a part of my routine. I will miss checking to see what roads are closed for construction. I will miss hoping that the sign holder is paying attention so they don’t step out in front of my car. I will miss rolling my eyes when another “Road Work Ahead” sign appears on Fulton and searching for the best route to avoid the most construction.

It’s home for now, and then I’m just a tourist in my own hometown.

I will miss my friends.

I will miss Riley. I have missed her before. When she moved we were still really young. There were horrifying pictures sent back and forth through Google Hangouts. When she moved back I didn’t know, and then we had Mr. Carhart together and we became closer than we used to be. Now I’m the one moving away. Hopefully, there are fewer weird pictures sent between us, but I will miss her so much. I will miss the fact that she is always there to make me laugh or talk to me. I will miss having her in my second hour. I will miss complaining about our freshman classes together.

I will miss Alex. I will miss our random drives to random places. I will miss crying over review topics and frantically coming up with something to write a column about.

I will miss marching band. I will miss countless hours of the hot summer sunlight during band camp. I will miss the numerous blisters covering my feet. I will miss the shows we get to march and the cheers from the stands.

There are so many things I will miss. Most of all, I will miss my home. Even though Michigan isn’t home forever, it’s home for now. It’s home for now, and then I’m just a tourist in my own hometown.