“Are you sure you want to get off here?” she asked, unsure of the surroundings. We were dumbfounded. While we were unsure of the actual destination, we didn’t feel any discomfort from the vibe of the neighborhood. I’ve seen many neighborhoods like this in Pittsburgh – dollar stores, local businesses, and restaurants ran down the street. It was not Grosse Pointe or Birmingham, but just a standard neighborhood, one of many in Detroit. While I still find the driver’s reactions unusual, I realized getting to know your surroundings and the city takes more than a year. Finding the authentic “you” within the environment takes time. All the surprises and unfamiliar aspects will eventually become familiar.
A friend once told me the 3-3-3 rule. It takes three days to know whether you like someone, three weeks to know whether you can be friends, and three years to know whether you can be friends for life. Getting to know Detroit is like getting to know someone more intimately. After spending three weeks here, I finally began to feel I am with a friend. Friendships are not straightforward; as you find out more about them, the less you want to find out more about them. And of course Detroit is not the revitalized city some make it out to be or is it the dangerous slums others think. While I am often delighted by the slick downtown and midtown, I am also surprised by the sound of gunshots, of which blended in with fireworks in the background (see photo and description below). Even while we were biking from downtown to midtown, I would sometimes hear gunshots. But, getting to know your surroundings take time. Perhaps those gunshots were one in ten thousand.