I love-hate you, Jackson

It’s match week. I can’t believe it’s here after months and months of waiting. It’s like the longest wait for Christmas ever – except instead of presents you get told where you’re going to live. 

 The timing has been good, though. Well, as good as it’s going to be. The majority of this week I’ve been facing a few of my frustrations with this city that I call home and somehow love so much.

Obviously the very best part about this place are the people. My very best friends and my incredible family – unwaveringly supportive even though we may leave. My fantastic church family who I trust with my life and my ever growing and maturing faith. My neighborhood is great and Jackson has nothing short of a large personality (Uptown Funk). Also the food is just. the. best. 

 But for heavens sake in the past 2 days I’ve nearly broken my car on three new, giant, puddle-disguised pot holes. The clay here causes the roads to sink and crack like you wouldn’t believe. That’s fine. It’s a problem in the whole area. The bigger problem is when city mismanagement and lack of funds prevent timely repair. The entire infrastructure of this city is internally flawed causing frustration with people like myself who really do love this place. I could quote Chane.com a thousand times: “City of Potholes, Mississippi,” “I only like Jackson as a friend,” “Welcome to Boil Water Alert Mississippi.” The last one speaks for itself. Water is important. 

 Anyway when it comes down to it I could live with these things. Even dealing with the petty theft and burglary that unfortunately frequents even the good Jackson neighborhoods. My biggest concern – and the one that usually causes Jacksonites to move to suburbs – is the school options. Basically if you live in Jackson you have 2 options: send your kid to highly flawed public schools lacking diversity or highly expensive private schools lacking diversity. I personally am not a fan of either of those options. It may be from my experience growing up in Marietta, Georgia, but I value so much the exposure I had to different religions, races, languages, and socioeconomic status. It shaped me into who I am and a large part of me doesn’t want to rob my future children of those experiences. I am SO excited though about a new private school in Jackson that really has it right. If we stay or move back I would want my kid here in a heartbeat. Redeemer School (link to video), stemmed from Redeemer Presbyterian Church – probably the closest picture of the Church in the city. A diverse congregation representing God’s beautiful Body of believers coming together because of their love for Him. 

 So what about the suburbs? No big deal – move farther out, pay less taxes, don’t worry about crime, good public schools. Meh.

Options: 

 
Madison: Ah, Madison. I have such strange feelings about you. This is where I lived for 3 years after moving from Georgia. I finished highschool there (great public schools), I met my husband there, my parents and sister still live there. Madison is fondly and/or mockingly referred to as Brick City. All of the new buildings are prestine brick because of orders from the mayor. No apartments are allowed. Apparently unique restaurants aren’t either (or at least must be highly discouraged).  Mostly everyone is at least upper middle class. Josh and I speak frequently about the Madison Bubble. It’s a perfect world with no crime and lots of moms who play tennis and drink wine. They’re similar to the small wealthy population in Jackson except these people would NEVER go to Jackson. Land of crime and hooligans!!! *Eye roll* Talk about depriving a kid of diversity. The best part is a lot of these people send their kids to the Jackson private schools. Hilarious. But…the new starter homes and property taxes are so darn cheap…. Tempting. 

Ridgeland: Honestly this is probably where we’d end up. It’s a perfect blend of Jackson and Madison. Great neighborhoods and some not as great neighborhoods, decent schools, enough real world crime to keep you grounded and aware of your surroundings in some spots. Great restaurants and shopping. Just not as much personality as Jackson.

Flowood: The city of chain restaurants and department stores. Family friendly and fully “blah.” I need a little spice in my life! Also, I fully rage out on Lakeland Drive. Have I mentioned the horrendous driving in the Jackson metro? Plus I’d be in the minority for sure since I’m not a super conservative MSU fan. Staaankin’ Rankin. 

Pearl: To quote Josh’s highschool football coach, Pearl is “the world’s largest trailer park.” While not completely true, rednecks are plentiful. The outlet mall and Mississippi Braves stadium are not enough draw.

Byram: I’d rather live in Pearl.

Brandon: I honestly don’t know much about Brandon except that “We ain’t Pearl Dammit!” 

 No matter what, I have no doubt that Josh and I will at least consider moving back here after his residency. We’ll let future Brett and future Josh handle the decision of where to raise our family (HIMYM – anyone?). 

I sure do love-hate you, Jackson.

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