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248 to 312... to 248!

This is the sixth installment of the Detroit Stories series. If you haven’t already done so, check out the background of Detroit Stories  and the the first four installments: an interns take on Detroit, Motown to Manhattan, Becoming a Detroiter, a woman who wants the Motor City and Ghosts of Michigan & Trumbull

This is a guest post by Bryan Fenster.

Born and raised in Metro-Detroit, Bryan Fenster returned home just over a month ago from a five year stint in Chicago, where his wife, Cara, attended graduate school. Bryan made it a mission to stay true to his Detroit roots and had the opportunity to do so when he Co-Founded the Chicago Chapter of Detroit Nation with childhood friend, Adam Babcock. Back in Metro-Detroit, Bryan serves as a National Board Member for Detroit Nation, and is working full-time at the Jewish Federation of Metro-Detroit, as an “Online Content & Media Strategist”.

It's hard to believe it’s been over five years since my wife (then, girlfriend) and I shipped slightly west for the big skyline and bright lights of Chicago. Over five years since we left home, our foundation of everything friends, family, and life. 

Even though we left and were open to adventure, we honestly always felt anchored in Detroit. The city and metropolitan area which we had the pleasure of growing up in, had a profound effect on us as individuals and has shaped the people we have become and are becoming. I can’t speak for my wife, but I can tell you that whenever I’d visit for the tease of a weekend, I would literally have a physical reaction, a natural high. The bond I feel to Detroit can only be described in one word: Love. I love this place. WE love this place. This is home.

Now we are back! We’ve come full circle.

It’s a total mind-bender to be back near family and dear friends, and this space we’ve been overwhelmingly welcomed and re-integrated back into after all this time. A new chapter in the place we always felt was home.

Five years isn’t terribly long, but man, given the progress you’ve made throughout the good, bad, and ugly, this place is quite different. When we left over five years ago, the interest didn’t seem to exist in what was happening here. The opportunity to change our narrative and be the change hadn’t been concretely rooted to the point it is now. We didn’t talk about shared struggles with cities such as Lodz, Poland, Turin, Italy, or domestically: Youngstown, OH, and what we could learn while staying uniquely “Detroit”. We hadn’t really started believing and sharing ideas as to “Reimagining Detroit” and the many ways we can become a stronger, more efficient, more comprehensive city with the population we currently have. The region hadn't reaped the benefits of the social streams which is now connecting the social do-gooders and Detroit “Do-Ers” with the world.

In fact, praise should be given to the various citizen journalists, proud residents, expats, bloggers, artists, curious bystanders, and even the “big” media outlets who had an interest and came through our fair city. Love them or hate them, no doubt, they all played a role in keeping Detroit relevant in the mainstream and the #backchannel.

Thankfully while in Chicago, I was able to stay active in the conversation via social media. What I am most looking forward to is connecting with the many people I lived vicariously through for so long, continuing to find beauty and inspiration in this city, and hopefully getting the opportunity to work with all of you in making Detroit the place WE want it to be.

It's so good to be home.

Follow Bryan Fenster on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (2)

Welcome back.. !

October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToka313

Thanks so much! There's no place like home.

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan Fenster

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