We have all seen those movies on TV where the nice girl brings home a motorcycle-driving, leather-wearing bad boy to meet the family before a first date. Dad sits on the couch, grilling the date about how his daughter needs to be home by 11 p.m. as mom tries to awkwardly make small talk and break the tension that’s in the room. Reluctantly, they let their daughter leave with the boy, telling themselves that their daughter is smart and will make the right decisions.
This is kind of what happened when I told my family I was moving to Detroit. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were extremely supportive and excited for me, but they’d heard stories about Detroit’s “bad boy” reputation. To help change their perspective and introduce them to the truths of Detroit, I decided to invite my mom, dad and two sisters down to Detroit for a day.
But first, a quick background on my family. My mom and dad grew up together as next door neighbors in Hemlock, MI where they ended up eventually falling in love and getting married. They made the big move to Saginaw, MI (about 30 minutes away), which is where they settled down and raised three girls through adulthood. My parents spent their honeymoon hiking in West Virginia, and my dad turned down a vacation to Disney World with the family because he hates crowds. They sit comfortably on our three acres of country land, surrounded by silence and cornfields.
So as you can imagine, Detroit might not sound like a place they would want to visit. But my heart was set on changing their perspective of the beautiful city I’ve now called home for three months.
Once my family got here, we began the trip by listening to a presentation from Bruce Schwartz, a Detroit Ambassador. I’ve heard Bruce speak at least four times this summer, but every time he talks about the revitalization happening in Detroit, I get goosebumps. I occasionally glanced over at my parents and saw my dad’s eyes light up and tears in my mom’s eyes as they learned about what was really happening downtown.
After a tour of some of the offices downtown, we were able to do our own sightseeing. We spent the majority of our time wandering around the river front and in Greektown. Even though it was a hot and humid summer day, everyone seemed to have a great time.
I watched my older sister snap pictures of every cool statue, monument and building downtown. She said her all-time favorite thing downtown, besides the dPOP! workspace, was The Spirit of Detroit. My younger sister really loved hanging out in Greektown.
“Greektown is really cool because everything looks so authentic,” she said. “I love that they light up the street at night. I would love to hang out down here!”
I had a lot of fun serving as a tour guide for my family downtown. It was really cool to be able to show them some of my favorite spots downtown. My all-time favorite part of the day was watching my parents’ perspective of Detroit change right before my eyes.
“People always talk so negatively about Detroit, but I guarantee they haven’t been downtown in years,” my mom told me on the car ride home. “I was really impressed with the number of people bustling about downtown and the noticeable police presence. I was not expecting to see that!”
My dad was just as impressed by the culture and atmosphere downtown.
“It really was an eye-opener for me, the way Detroit is building itself back up,” my dad said. “The city seems so full of life and everyone seemed to enjoy being in Detroit.”
All it took was an afternoon in Detroit to help change my family’s perspective on Detroit. They no longer see Detroit as the city with a “bad boy” reputation. They see it as a city full of promise, energy and a great place for their daughter to start her career. I feel so grateful that Quicken Loans gave me the opportunity to start my post-grad life in Detroit.
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