Carly: Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Ari: My name is Ari Rickman. I'm from Silver Spring, Maryland (right outside of Washington, DC). I work remotely for a Risk Analysis contracting company. I followed my girlfriend down here, she recently received a master's in Art History from the University of Houston. I'm planning on returning to school this fall to study urban planning.
Carly: What was your 'Jewish experience' like in college?
Ari: I went to the University of Maryland, which is almost 19% Jewish. I attended special events at Hilel a few times a year and went on Birthright as a sophomore. But I usually went home for the high holidays and passover since my parents' place was only 20 minutes away. I do remember celebrating Simchat Torah for the first time when I happened to pass a Chabad procession going through campus.
Carly: What do you enjoy most about Jewston events?
Ari: I appreciate that Jewston events are welcoming and laid back. Since the group is directed toward young professionals, I also like that there's plenty of time to schmooze! Meeting new friends and networking becomes harder after you leave college, so it's nice that Jewston provides a space for these activities.
Carly: How has your time in Houston been?
Ari: I've grown to like Houston a lot. There's so much great food, so many great breweries and cool bars. I work from home so I try to get out as often as I can to bike and eat or drink at new places. There are actual dive bars here where you can walk in and get a Lonestar for $3! On the other end of the spectrum, there's so many great microbreweries and fancy restaurants that are still accessible. The city's diversity means it's a great place to try new things. Late last year I tried fried cricket tacos!
Carly: What has been the biggest surprise about living in Houston?
Ari: I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a biking culture there is here! Before I moved, I was worried there wouldn't be anywhere in the city safe enough to bike. And don't get me wrong, the city has a lot it needs to improve. I have been hit by a car and I was lucky to get away with just a few bruises and repairable damage to my bike, I know other people who weren't so lucky. But there are so many organized group bike rides, and biking seems to be a part of every community in this diverse city. I see so many people biking for fun, and more people than I would have thought biking for transportation. I guess it helps that the city is mostly flat and rarely too cold. I know the city has made some cycling infrastructure improvements in the past few years and I'm excited for them to make more!
Carly: Is there anything else you want the Jewston community to know?
Ari: I'm just glad Jewston exists and provides a space for people to meet and connect. Also a quick shoutout to how many cats there are here! My girlfriend and I adopted an abandoned kitten and she's been a big joy. If anyone is interested in adopting a cat that's already been spayed/neutered I'd be happy to put them in touch with a friend who does rescues.