Home Again - by Helen Alvarado

posted Jan 31, 2011, 1:53 PM by Tip Top   [ updated Feb 1, 2011, 8:43 AM ]
Home Again

Let me start with two questions.
Who lives in Fort Worth?  (Great, you are going to like my speech!)
Who ever saw a Cattle Drive in the Stockyards? (I did.)
Cattle, railroads, oil, these are my first mental images like most people conjure of Fort Worth.  One time my husband and I had friends visiting. People told us the Stockyards was an interesting place, so we took them there.  Our friends were happy, but I didn't feel anything special.  This western heritage is still a reality in my hometown in China.  Cows, horses, steam locomotives... nothing is new for me.
3 years ago, before I graduated from SMU, I had an on-campus job interview. 
"Where do you live?"  A recruiter from Plano asked me.
"In Fort Worth", I answered.
"Nothing is there", He said.
I didn't say anything, but I absolutely agreed.

That was my first impression of Fort Worth.
We all have the desire to see the world.  But each year my husband and I go to China to visit my parents.  We simply don't have the time to visit other cities.  From last winter, we decided to get out of the house and explore the city of Fort Worth.  Sure enough it's not necessary to go far and wide; you can find really exciting and inspiring things within the city you live.  Since then, my view of Fort Worth was totally reshaped, especially by its high culture and people.
I was blown away the first time I went to the Bass Performance Hall.  I really like the huge limestone angels on the front of the buiding.  They are absolutely gorgeous.    Inside the acoustics are also wonderful.  Later I learned it is named as one of the top 10 opera houses in the world.

Who likes gardening?  Neither do I. It is OK.  In Fort Worth you still can enjoy the beauty of a garden without the labor of gardening.  The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a 109-acre beautiful green space. One acre is about 16 tennis courts' size.  You can imagine how big 109 acre is.  It has 23 specialty gardens and is the home to over 2500 species.
The Kimbell Art Museum has made Fort Worth a different city.  I can't believe I can find works in their permanent collections by Michelangelo, Picasso, Monet and many other masters.  The museum itself is a masterpiece.  Some critics call it "the most perfect small museum in the world".  Well, soon they will be disappointed.  The Kimbell is breaking ground now on a $125 million addition designed by world-renowned, Italian architect Renzo Piano. 
As you all know, there are many more attractions in Fort Worth.  But, I have a few numbers maybe you don't know yet.
Fort Worth's tap water quality is the top No. 3 in 100 big city tap water ratings.
Fort Worth is one of America's 13 most livable communities evaluated by Partners for Livable Communities.
Fort Worth has a warm and cozy small town atmosphere, but it is not small at all.  By population, it is the 17th largest city in this nation.

Are those enough?  No. People are the soul of a city.  My experience tells me that if you don't like the people in a city, no matter how nice its facilities are, you never feel at home. 
Fort Worth people are notablely friendly.  I truly feel it in my Tip Top Toastmasters club.  Before, I went to school in Dallas, now I work in North Richland Hills.  To join Tip Top is my first time to work so close with so many Fort Worth People. I just feel so comfortable and enjoyable when we are together.
I had been lost since I left my home town Chifeng in China 15 years ago.  I have been lived in Beijing and Shenzhen for 5 and 7 years.  They both are Chinese big cities.  But for some reason, maybe because I was alone, I never felt I belonged to there.
I have been living in Fort Worth with my husband for 5 years now.  By going out into the city of Fort Worth, I'm really going in!  Fort Worth, along with its people, gives me a feeling, a kind of hometown feeling.  And I believe that feeling will stay with me wherever I go for the rest of my life.  I am home again!  Later on, if I hear someone says "fort worth has nothing" again, you know how strongly I will defend my Fort Worth.

Tip Top,
Jan 31, 2011, 1:55 PM