You were unintended and unexpected.

Dear Toledo,

You were unintended and unexpected. You never appeared on any of my lists of ‘dream places to live’ ; indeed before I moved I couldn’t pinpoint you on the map. In the months before our arrival you were often referred to as Toledo-frigging-Ohio (“We’re really moving to Toledo-frigging-Ohio?”) but four short years later and it is startling how much you’ve become entwined with us.

I couldn’t have anticipated how good you would be to us. You’ve given us a home to raise our family in – and I don’t mean four walls and a roof. In the heart of one of your tree-lined neighborhoods we’ve found a ‘village’ of support and encouragement, of opportunities and champions. All of which is so much more important for us since our families are so very far away.

When I immigrated to American shores almost a decade ago I expected to be here for two years before continuing on in my quest to live in as many countries as I could. It wasn’t an unreasonable desire given that I was an astronomer and the best places to work are dotted all over the globe. But then I meet a boy – isn’t that always the story. Jump ahead and a job for my boy at the University of Toledo brought us back to the land of seasons after the five straight years of summer in Arizona. And though I left my life as an astronomer when I left the South West I have no regrets – mainly thanks to what you, Toledo have brought me.

We found a gem of a neighborhood with character-filled homes, walk-able sidewalks and campus on our doorstep. We love being back with seasons, which bring different colours to the year – though we need to have a little chat about this -35F nonsense. We love that our child will grow up running down the street to see her best friends who live at the end of the block. We love that you’ve afforded us a life that includes me staying at home to raise our imperfectly-perfect-tyke and opportunities to explore my passions outside of the stars.

To an outsider looking in you may seem grey and abandoned, rundown and hopeless. But you have shining jewels hidden in plane sight; from the Art Museum to the Metro parks, from the Zoo to the lawns on campus where my daughter learned to walk on. People love you. People are invested in you and it shows. And now you can count on my being one of those people.

Toledo, thank you making me fall in love with you.

Morag xx


Morag is often at her happiest while immersed in a university environment & Toledo’s main campus is especially important to her – is it the reason she moved Toledo, it is where her daughter loves to run around after stopping at ‘Dada’s’ office for a visit, and it is where she discovered a love for studying English.