From Windy City to Tulip City

By: Eddie Cervantes

Growing up in Chicago, there was always something to do whether it was in my neighborhood, downtown, or even in a neighborhood on the other side of the city.  Transportation was never an issue, it allowed us to get from one side of the city to the other without ever switching a bus or train.

However, there are some cons of living in the city.  The worst thing about Chicago is the traffic.  It seems that when there is traffic everyone forgets how to drive and their hands are stuck to their horn.  People are always on guard and a simple look could be taken the wrong way.  It’s great to live somewhere where there is always something going on, but for young adults there is also a curfew which can limit your options or ability to get somewhere in order to get home in time. 

When I was choosing a college, I wanted to attend a place that was far enough from a city that I would get a smaller and more connected community, though also able to travel somewhere when I missed the “big city life.”  Holland, Michigan became the perfect location that had the balance I was looking for.

Holland, MI is a small town compared to Chicago.  Yet, it doesn’t feel like a small town with all the activity and events happening all the time. In Chicago, there is nothing that beats a bike ride to Lake Michigan in the morning and seeing the sunrise.  Since Holland is across Lake Michigan, I can’t experience the same sunrise, but riding to the lake for breath-taking sunsets gives me the exact feeling.

Hope’s campus is a block away from Downtown Holland, so when there isn’t as much happening on campus, there is always something to do downtown.  The variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and local shops make it a great (but financially dangerous) way to spend your day. If you want to get a little further off campus than downtown, Holland also has a farmers market, movie theatres, bowling alleys, hiking trails – and so much more to explore.

Hope is also in a great location that if you are missing a bit of the big city life, you have three awesome places you can go and make it a day trip.  Chicago and Detroit are only about a two & a half hours away which allows anyone to be able to enjoy a day in the city and be back for a late night doughnut run. Grand Rapids is only about 40 minutes away and though smaller than Detroit & Chicago, a place that still has plenty to do.  Grand Rapids is a booming city full of young adults, which most events targeted for people our age! Whether it is ArtPrize, ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle, sporting events, going to a concert or other potential events in Grand Rapids – there is always something new and exciting happening there.

Though there are definite aspects of Chicago life that I miss, I’ve found in my two years at Hope there are still so many events & things to do on and around campus. It’s rarely of a question of “What am I going to do with my weekend?” rather, “How am I going to fit everything I want to do into my weekend?”