5 Things They Won’t Tell You

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June 6, 2014 by Caroline Dobbins

It’s often easy to leave out details. Sometimes they don’t seem important or interesting but it’s not surprising that the details make whatever you’re talking about unique, different and intriguing. Shocking, right?!

Well after almost two years of living in Detroit, I’ve discovered that a lot of people leave out a lot of the very best details of a city that has built up a pretty bad reputation over the years. So, I figured I’d take this time to do my part and tell you about just five of my very favorite details.

It’s a really big, small town: Sure, the infrastructure was built for almost 2 million people, and over 700,000 live here; that’s not everyone’s first thought when you think ‘small town’. What you probably think about is waving to your neighbors, or running into friend randomly while jogging around the city. Well, here’s the news… that happens in Detroit. It’s hard to go somewhere and not know someone. I think it’s the nature of a city that is determined to make it work, whatever IT might be.

People smile: I walk to work, every day (even during the polar vortex). And it’s hard to walk those six blocks without someone, a stranger or a familiar face, shooting a quick smile your way. As if to say, “thanks for being here , with me, in the time and place.” Maybe it’s because it’s a “mid-west, rustbelt city”, but Detroit is a friendly place, you just have to be willing to be friendly, too.

You are noticed: Now I’ve never lived in Chicago, New York, or LA, even Minneapolis, Boston or Raleigh so I might be bias, but there’s something special about being in Detroit. There is this feeling that people will notice the work that you’re doing, from the east side to the west side, people take note and make an effort to support you. Sure, if you just want to be another person, existing from day to day, I suppose you can do that. But if you want to stand out, make a difference, make someone smile or change something, you can do that too, and there will be people there to help you along the way.

You’ve gotta work: If you’re looking for the easy city life, in my opinion, Detroit is not the place for you. You’ve gotta work, put in the effort, wait, work some more, sweat some and maybe even shed some tears. But, in the end, what you’ve earned is more rewarding than something that just happened to show up. There are days that you just feel like you can’t put in the effort, and that’s okay, just so long as you pick yourself up tomorrow and get back to work.

There’s always a story: At every turn, with every smile, every project and with every individual, there is a story. One that is unlike any other. A story of resilience, of hope, of excitement, of devastation, of change, you name it, there is a story. It is those stories that make living in Detroit so refreshing, exciting, exhausting, rewarding and hopeful.

So there you have it, five of my favorite details that the news won’t tell you about Detroit. Take it for what it is, but consider discovering it for yourself. I’m not telling you to move to Detroit, it’s not a city for everyone. What I am
asking is that you work to discover what you’re curious about, it’s worth your time.


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