I’ve always been a bit of a nomad.

In the past 18 years, I’ve lived in 9 different cities—some for just one year, others as long as five. Whether the move was motivated by school or a job, I always went in search of something new.

And I found a whole lot of it—new people, new dialects, new traditions and new ways of life that all taught me something different. I’ve filed those lessons away and am sure they will make an appearance in some future writing project. That’s what writers do—we borrow and steal from our own experiences.

Here are just a few of the things I learned in the places I’ve lived:

In Lawrence, Kansas, I learned that just because you can’t get into the bars legally doesn’t mean you can’t drive. really. slowly. down the street where all the bars are. And that if your Dad gets enough stuff from a local furniture store, you might be able to get the cute salesman to help you move into your sorority house. #TrueStory

In Gainesville, Florida I learned what it means to bleed Orange and Blue, that college football is so much more than a game and no matter what the haters says, the SEC is the best conference.

In Atlanta, Georgia, I learned to love the word y’all in all of its forms, and that Starbucks is a weird sub-culture of creative people and coffee lovers where I fit in perfectly.

In New York City, I learned to appreciate alternate routes because the most direct subway line might be the fastest, but chances are it’s also the most crowded. And even if space is limited in the one-room loft you share with three friends and a dog, you’ve got to make room for essentials. Like your old prom dress.

In St. Louis, I learned that growing up in a city doesn’t automatically make it home—but it can give you an appreciation for things like provel cheese, gooey butter cake and toasted ravioli. Plus, it’s pretty great having your mom just down the street and family close by for Saturday lunches together.

In Boston, I learned to embrace the word ‘wicked’ and that even if you’ve lived in the city for twenty years, are aren’t “from there” if you aren’t originally from there. Also, it’s much more fun to use a rock to break open crabs than those official crab-cracker-things.

In D.C., I learned that when given a choice between a city karaoke bar where you *might* get to sing one song and a gay bar in Virgina where you’ll get to sing four or five songs on a stage with a sequin curtain…always choose the gay bar.

In Chicago, I learned that ketchup doesn’t belong on a hot dog, that it’s fun being a fan of the Bears and the Blackhawks, but once a Cardinals fan, always a Cardinals fan.

In Pittsburgh, I learned that it is perfectly acceptable to wear black and gold to any event. Even if that means wearing a jersey. To a wedding. Also that the words ‘To be’ are apparently optional in a sentence. More on that in a later post.

Now that I’m back in Chicago again, my second time in the second city, I have learned that home is where you choose to make it. And for me, this is it.

So forgive the lack of posts this past month. Between packing, moving and unpacking—all while working—things have been a bit hectic. But now that I’m getting settled and back into a routine, the posts will continue!

For now, I’ll just say that it’s good to be home.




About thishammer

Alison Hammer is an advertising writer/Creative Director and an author currently seeking agent representation. She has lived in 9 cities, studied at 2 universities and 1 “Circus”, worked at 8 ad agencies, sailed on The Rock Boat 15 times and watched over 120 Gator football games (including 2 national championships). She loves words and the challenge of bringing them together to inspire, to sell products and make people feel something. She has experience writing in every medium for clients ranging from telecom and retail to the Military and hotels.
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  1. Randy says:

    All of that is very well said. That’s my girl.


  2. Kathy says:

    Brilliant!!! I hope you can hear my applause from here!!!! Loved this!!!


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