Dear Omaha

The slow-paced feel of the big city was something I took for granted and is probably how I ended up in Chicago. 

By Maya Durfee O’Brien

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with you since I was a young, bored teenager. With seemingly so little to do, I often would wind up hanging with friends at public parks, loitering and making generally ill-advised choices. But in spite of this teenage boredom, I miss you. The slow-paced feel of the big city was something I took for granted and is probably how I ended up in Chicago. 

In 2011 Dundee, the neighborhood I spent most of my formative years in, was named one of the top 10 neighborhoods in the United States to live in. I’m not sure who did the report or where it came from, but I can say that it’s one of the reasons that makes Omaha so great. The charm of these houses and the friendliness of people is why so many people live there. There are so many families and people young and old who help cater to this beautiful little neighborhood. 

I miss the potholes, the “traffic” on Dodge Street during “rush hour.” I miss driving in my white minivan. 

I miss my friends who I’ve known forever. I even miss Conor Oberst and his bar, Pageturners- I remember the first time I listened to Bright Eyes when I was probably eight years old, and now that’s the most Omaha thing I can think of.

I never thought I would say this but I miss the degree of separation here. I miss the fact that everyone knows everyone. I mean it’s still annoying, but it’s nice at the same time. 

I miss the food. Modern Love- the best vegan food I’ve ever had. Amsterdam- for curry fries or feta fries or a falafel sandwich. I miss Salween Thai for the best drunken noodles I’ve had in my life.

But most importantly, I miss my home. This is where I’m from, where I grew up, where most of my family lives and it will always be a part of me. I can never run from it no matter how hard I may have wanted to in the past. I have to accept it and Omaha, I love you.