The popsicle master who found a family in the creative community
Operations manager at King of Pops
In 2015, I had finished getting my associate’s degree in upstate New York. I didn’t particularly love how my life was going in New York. I had a few friends who had moved down here. My brother lived here for a summer working for the CDC a couple of years before I moved here. Atlanta felt familiar in a way. And I was really close with people I knew here. And the people I’ve visited here were in love with it themselves, and that’s a contagious feeling.
My favorite part of it was driving five or 10 minutes and feeling like you were in a different place. Upstate was really suburban and then farms. I spent a weird amount of time in the Syracuse airport; my brothers volunteered there when they were kids. It was tiny. I visited Atlanta a few times before moving here, and the airport here was gigantic. I was lost for an hour.
When I moved here, for the most part, I was around a lot of filmmakers. I was struck by how big the film industry was and how relatively easy it was to succeed in that area. Now, I’m around a lot of people who are into music, improv, and art. Back upstate, I knew of people who were trying to work in that area but not necessarily flourishing. The amount of creativity in Atlanta—that was really the thing that stood out to me.
For the first year I lived here, I felt I didn’t really fit here. I considered moving back or to Washington for school. Then, I started at King of Pops. I make sure popsicles are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. My second year working here, I found a group of people that I got along with. They’ve been my family since then. We play a lot of Settlers of Catan and board games, go to shows. And we do just dumb stuff like running around Decatur Square putting googly eyes on things.
People are able to express themselves artistically. It’s genuine and natural. When I first moved here, I lived in a house of filmmakers called the Thunderdome. They had a fourth wall where they’d show their videos and people would critique them. It was like an open-mic night but for films. It was a welcoming place where people could show what they made and not have any judgment.
I used to get homesick about the weather a lot. I was from a place that got cold, with snow, and had a lot of drastically different seasons. Atlanta gets cold, sure, but there’s no benefit. There were a lot of times I talked to my friends from Syracuse, and they made me homesick, and I wanted to move back. Eventually, those long-distance friendships fade. I think the moment I said to myself, “I live here” was when my family asked, “When are you moving back?” I don’t think I am. I think I’m here. I want to stay. And I can’t imagine moving back. I don’t miss it.