I’m a boomerang.
After graduating from St. Edwards University in Austin in May with a degree in communication, I joined the 30 percent of young adults, ages 25-34, categorized as the “boomerang generation” – that have moved back in with their parents. On several occasions, my own parents have referred to me as their boomerang child.
I could take this classification as an insult, but I don’t. I’m 23 years old and ambitious to develop my own career, set out on my own, independent of my parents and justify their emotional and financial investment in me.
Jobs are tough to come by, cost of living is soaring, and many are deciding that the best option is to return home. I feel no shame for coming back; I decided of my own accord to return. But this time, I call San Antonio home with a renewed perspective and a greater appreciation for the opportunities that lie within. It is a brand new city in my eyes.
I was born and raised in Austin. In 1999, my family moved to San Antonio- uprooting me from my life as I knew it. My childhood was synonymous with Austin and I never stopped considering it “home,” even after years of living in San Antonio. Much like everyone I knew at O’Connor High School, I was determined to move to Austin after graduation and so I did.
I left the Alamo City for our trendy neighbor of Austin. I had many reasons, notably emotional ties to my hometown. Also, I always envisioned attending St. Edwards. And, there was of course, the famous and dangerously hip personality of Austin that was just too enticing.
During my four years there, I was fortunate to live in the picturesque neighborhood of Travis Heights, and was conveniently within walking-distance of many of Austin’s hotspots. The city offered everything I appreciated and expected: frequent access to live music, a wide array of interesting and healthy eateries, yoga studios galore, unique boutiques and, my personal favorite, numerous options for outdoor activities. Without a doubt, I enjoyed being back in the city I held dear to my heart.
Despite these awesome attributes, I found myself wanting to return home to San Antonio. Driving to visit my family here, I felt a sense of relief sweep over me as I traveled down the home stretch of Loop 1604. The emotions I experienced surprised me. My “home” paradigm was shifting and I couldn’t figure out why. I had always considered Austin to be my true home and San Antonio simply a holding nest. What I realized during my visits back home though was that this city was just as much home to me as Austin was. I couldn’t deny that San Antonio was huge part of who I am and that there was still so much to offer here. Both cities shaped me and both will always be part of me. Though I loved my time in Austin and wouldn’t have changed it for the world, I felt I was ready for something new… and as the story goes, here I am today.
What I have grown to love about this city is that I feel there is an authenticity, a vibe of unabashed honesty. It doesn’t have trendy expectations to meet, it’s simply able to thrive organically in many directions. Although San Antonio hasn’t had a glowing reputation as a mecca for young professionals to build their career, mingle, and enjoy a bustling nightlife, we are watching our city thrive with each passing year, curious as to how it will evolve.
There is a soul and richness here that I simply don’t feel anywhere else. There is obvious charm on the outside, but the true beauty is within; the depth is undeniable. It’s intertwined in the city’s traditions, its culture, its people and its history. It is simply felt. I have forged more friendships with some of the most creative and interesting individuals since being back in San Antonio than I have anywhere else. With all of this being said, neither Austin nor San Antonio is “better” or “worse”. The reality is that they are two completely different cities and comparing them would be doing each one a disservice.
Every now and then however, I find that my hang-outs in San Antonio feel vaguely reminiscent of my favorite destinations in Austin.From the moment I stepped foot into the newest video bar, Brass Monkey on the St. Mary’s strip, I felt a familiar vibe from my not-so-distant past; one that reminded me of Barbarella, my favorite bar in Austin. The casual outdoor area with picnic-table style seating led to a perfectly sized interior with a large bar and dance floor. My ears were treated to my favorite 80’s, new wave and indie songs, perfectly melded together, each with their music videos accompanying my friends and I as we danced the night away. I left telling my friends that it reminded me exactly of what Barbarella was in the early days, before it exploded into one of the most popular venues in Austin.
It’s no surprise that it reminded me so much of Barbarella. On that particular evening “Dj Glitoris” famous for his “Tuezgayz” night at Barbarella, was performing, as he does every Friday night now at Brass Monkey. These two cities share talent. They should share more…
Along with this gem, my favorite new discovery has been Tuckers. Until now, I had never been to a place quite like Tuckers. Several people said First Friday was the night to go, so I decided to give it a try. They were right. A good night at Tuckers will leave you feeling like you ran a marathon — sore from head to toe, compliments of the DJ. First Friday draws a diverse crowd of individuals to Tuckers, each one bound by his or her love of good music and dancing with friends. You can’t help but dance to the infectious music in an environment that feels unassuming and casually un-hip. You can be yourself, and that’s the exact appeal and beauty of San Antonio.
Living in San Antonio has also allowed me to create two worlds within one city. I enjoy my social life as well as work downtown as an intern at Creative Civilization, where I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in the high-energy and fast paced environment of the advertising world, and am able to return to the sanctuary of my home in the Hill Country afterwards. I-10 connects two distinct worlds for me: one urban, one rural. On Friday, I enjoy a night out with friends at Brass Monkey and Tuckers, and on Saturday I feel as though I’m in the hills of Spain celebrating my Dad’s birthday surrounded by loved ones, as I did this weekend. It is a balance that I treasure.
I could have chosen to stay in Austin but I sought a different path, I decided to return to San Antonio. So yes, call me a boomerang but don’t limit me to such a label. I’m more than that. I’m a contributing member of the San Antonio community who sees a future for myself here. I’m thankful for my time in Austin as it gave way to a fresh perspective.. I have returned with a new set of eyes; eyes that are ever curious and ever ready to explore this city.
Celeste De La Rosa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication from St. Edwards University in May 2012. She currently lives in San Antonio and works as an intern at Creative Civilization, an advertising agency specializing in the General, Hispanic and B-to-B markets.