I have been living in Erie for more than 20 years, and in that time I’ve endured bitter winters, disappointing summers and countless missed buses. I’m sure I’ll devote an entire post to the glories of “the e” another day.

I love Erie. Sure, all of these specific instances make it seem like Erie is an awful place to live, but despite the occasional urban escapade, Erie is actually a great place to live and go to school.

This city by the lake is large enough to allow good networking for job opportunities, enough resources to sustain a small army and more bars and restaurants than you could ever need. It’s also small enough to develop personal relationships with people, make an impact in your community and enjoy some much needed peace and quiet. We even have laws limiting the height of buildings.

I’m not here to sell Erie. That’s my whole point: this place sells itself IF you’re open to it. Far too often, people avoid this place because of the weather or other ludicrous reasons. Listen, if you don’t like Erie, then you don’t like Erie. But at least give the place a chance! We’re cool people, I promise.

This next part is sort of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book:

ONLY READ THIS PART IF YOU LIVE IN ERIE: I understand that Erie isn’t perfect. We all know that. But it’s not THAT bad. Seriously, where else are you going to live? Pittsburgh? That’s so mainstream. Cleveland? That place is a disaster waiting to happen. Buffalo? Don’t even waste my time. We recognize that Erie isn’t the perfect place to live, but it’s certainly the best. Disagree? Email me at haas009@knights.gannon.edu and we’ll discuss it.

[Editor’s note: The preceding statement was an opinion of Michael Haas, an Erie native. It does not represent the views of Gannon University, its students, faculty or affiliates. Seriously. We love wings and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.]

ONLY READ THIS PART IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN ERIE: All right, let’s seal the deal here. You like movies? We have those. You like restaurants and bars? We have those. You like a thriving arts community? We have that. You like water? We have tons of water – an entire lake full of it. You don’t know anyone in Erie? Well, now you know me, and you can just call me up and I’ll take you out on the town. I promise I don’t bite – hard.

OK, we’re done with that section. Let’s get everyone’s attention again for the big finale.

Erie is awesome. Don’t agree with me? Convince me otherwise. Erie is unique in that people my age can leverage the municipality to make great changes in the coming years. We’re at a precipice, and only more people willing to make an impact will skew the direction of Erie towards greatness instead of, well, Buffalo.

In this blog, I’ll highlight the obnoxious, fun, interesting, quirky, pointless, backward, forward and inside-out parts of Erie and life in general. If you’re not convinced about how great Erie is now, you will be eventually. Trust me.