Yesterday, an Indian woman (wearing a sari in emerald green and crimson, quite like the colors in the photo below) walked toward me on this bridge as I waited for friends.
I complimented her attire, and we stood talking for quite a while—about her visit to Boise, her job as a scientist back in Bangalore, and her grown children, one of whom is building a home in Harris Ranch and intends to raise his family here. She gushed about how beautiful Boise is and how much this area reminds her of home. But home, she explained, would never afford her well-educated children (particularly her daughter) the same opportunities they could have elsewhere, so she urged them to leave their country for better lives. After schooling, work, and travel throughout Europe, her daughter moved to Chicago, and her son settled here.
She asked where I was from—and out came the “fifth-generation Idahoan” line, which sounded a bit trite, considering my insatiable wanderlust and impatience with the sometimes ignorant underbelly of my home state.
But I couldn’t deny, as we stood there in view of this lovely bridge just a couple of miles from my home, that Boise is undeniably beautiful in so many ways. And at this moment, all because of a chance encounter with a woman from Bangalore whose name means “good character” in Sanskrit, I remembered this as one of the reasons why I love this city so much. And, despite having a million reasons to leave and many opportunities to do so, there are even more reasons I have chosen to stay.
The other day, a friend commented via Facebook about how seeing the good in the world is a personal choice, and with it, you can transform your entire outlook. I believe that is true in this context, too. You can live anywhere on this planet, and it’s up to you whether you choose to see a place’s beauty or the lack thereof.
For this woman’s son, moving away from his home and family was a difficult step he had to make in order to have a better life. And the beautiful irony of it all: he crossed a bridge that brought him here, to Boise—a place I’ve called home all along.