Growing up in Cedar Riverside

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by Makia Jama • Tall buildings tower over school children who get off buses from 3-4:00 in the afternoon. Parents hurrying to the buses to get their children home so they can get on with the rest of their day. Meanwhile, lots of kids run around playing and not giving a care in the world about the beeping cars that are trying to get through.

This blog features new Minnesotans. Many of them participate as part of an English Language Learning class. Makia Jama is a high school student in the Twin Cities.

Cedar Riverside is where I live. When asked, people may say that it’s very messy or dangerous or too confusing to get around, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel right at home.

I know the many shortcuts and can get to any Cedar building in less than 5 minutes At least 1/3 of the neighborhood knows who I am, even if our only connection is my mom or dad. For fun, I look around at all of the kids in the neighborhood and try to remember the names.

One of the best times in Cedar Riverside is when a snowball fight is started. Every time such a big snowball fight is started, it ends with the parents getting mad at us (especially us high school students), but it’s always worth the fun, so I never mind. In Cedar there are about ten buildings, even though only the tallest are seen from the distance depending on the location,

Living in Cedar Riverside, I’m used to full elevators, and waiting for over an hour just to get home because one of the elevators stops working for a reason unknown to me. Standing around, doing nothing, but getting cranky at their children are parents who are tired, and want to get on with their day already. Meanwhile I’m there, also getting mad, but at my friends for making me miss the elevator when it finally arrives, because “it’s too full.”

Living on the top floors, I’m used to the height of the tall buildings, and the view is great: seeing the cars passing by on the freeways, I always know whether the roads are jammed or not, so I always know if my mom’s late because of the traffic or if she’s just busy on her own.

After school every afternoon when I come home, I do my chores and baby-sit. It’s completely normal to have nearby neighbors just stop by, and make themselves feel right at home. Having friends and family invite each other to dinner parties or weddings or even graduation parties at the last second and having to help out with the cooking or keeping the children out of the way for every parent who’s helping out is typical. Having apartment inspections every once in a while is expected while living in Cedar Riverside.

Noise is also part of growing up and living in Cedar Riverside for me. I’m used to doing my homework with the noise of the kids going on around me. What comes to my mind when I think about Cedar Riverside is: the people around me. Having been the place I grew up , I still have my first friends close to me, that is why I’m going to have to disagree with those who say that Cedar Riverside is scary, because to me: It’s home.

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