Charleston, SC is a place that I have loved since I was little. The food, the people and of course, the ocean. This past summer, I had the opportunity to go back there with my family for vacation before coming back to Norman for summer school. While I was there, I fell in love again with everything I laid my eyes.
There was one place in particular that stood out to me as the image of Charleston. It is Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is, you guessed it, a row of houses. But unlike most houses, they are painted in all different shades of the rainbow. Usually your neighbors might scoff at you and give you dirty looks if you decided to paint your house bright pink. But here, the brighter the color, the better.
Coming from Chicago where people won’t even give you the time of day let alone look at you, I am not used to the friendliness – even if it is fake. Charleston was a place where strangers smile and say hello and everyone seems to be happy. This row of houses would look happy even on the gloomiest days. That is why I think they embody the personality of Charleston.
The first building that came to mind isn’t exactly what most people would consider a building. I chose Lake Forest’s Market Square. It is known as the first planned shopping center in the US. But that isn’t why I chose to write about it. Market Square is the central hub of my town. I remember always sneaking into William-Sonoma to snag a few samples and asking for everything I saw in the toy store. Now, my mom and I frequent the makeup store, Blue Mercury, and indulge in the new frozen yogurt shop that my friend’s mom recently opened.
Many of my childhood memories are in Markey Square, at the many events held there throughout the year.
In the summer, there are concerts every Thursday on the lawn where parents drink wine and kids run/bike/skate around playing with their friends.
There is an event for Veteran’s Day where we can remember those we lost and thank those who returned home.
One of my favorite events is the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The high school choir sings, there is free hot chocolate/apple cider and roasted chestnuts from the local businesses. The whole town (those who are willing to go out in the sub-zero temperatures) gathers around this massive tree and counts down the seconds until the lights turn on.
My love of this little place isn’t just from the memories I made in it, but also the beauty of it. There really is nothing like it. Coming to school in Oklahoma was not only a culture shock, but a landscape shock. I’m always surprised when I go home of how green the grass is, or how colorful the fall leaves are. Sometimes, it is the building itself that is beautiful. But other times, it is the things that surround it and the memories it holds.