Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finding Kindness in the Big City - Jenna Vogen

            Growing up in a small town was always a comfort to me. Everyone knew each other and could rely on one another for help or little encouraging words. This love for a tight knit community that truly facilitated relationships led me to choose Wartburg College for my undergraduate studies. It was perfect, Wartburg gave me the opportunity to meet hundreds of new people and see new experiences all while keeping the safe, friendly, and nurturing community feel that I had grown so used to.
            Having always associated small town with safety, moving to a city created a little fear for me. Worries as I prepared for my semester at Wartburg West varied from as miniscule as wondering what would happen if I got lost in traffic to as extreme as if I would get mugged while walking down the street. Despite my initial unease I have come to realize that Denver is one of the friendliest and welcoming areas that I have ever encountered.
            During one of my first days here in Denver a couple of friends and I began exploring the bus system. While on the bus I noticed everyone was extremely kind, (even the bus drivers, who I give all the right in the world to be cranky seeing as they drive in traffic all day with such a massive vehicle!) people would quickly give up their seats with a big smile or would just communicate with one another to pass the time. One moment that especially stood out to me was as I was loading the bus at the busy intersection of Broadway and Colfax, I dropped my wallet without noticing. Soon a homeless woman was chasing after me with my wallet saying that I dropped it in the snow! In that moment I realized that maybe everyone in the city wasn’t as closed off and unfriendly as common stereotypes suggest.

            Within the past month I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most diverse people and hear some amazing life stories. I have come to realize that Denver is a city filled with kindness. Acts of warmth such as a woman paying for my morning coffee, authentic conversations with complete strangers, or even courteous drivers in rush hour traffic have truly restored my faith in people on a daily basis. Coming to Denver has given me the opportunity as a small town girl to see that no matter where you go in the world there will be good people near. I have been lucky to be surrounded by such unconditional kindness and thoughtfulness throughout my experience thus far.  

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