As a flight attendant, Julianne Bruyer gets to travel to cities all over the country. But the one place she always wants to visit is her hometown of Buffalo.
The Western New York native now lives in Littleton, Colo., with her husband, Mike, and stepdaughter, Hayley, working for Southwest Airlines. She first moved away from the Queen City at 23 to work with Southwest in Pittsburgh. After a year, she transferred to Denver. Though it took her farther from Buffalo, it did allow her to live close to her aunt and cousins.
Because of her work, the now 30-year-old gets to travel back to Buffalo about twice a month. Her coworkers call her “Julz from Buffalo” because she talks up Buffalo every chance she gets.
“It is the place that has the friendliest people, the best food and I always tell everyone it’s the best place to grow up in,” said Bruyer.
Bruyer especially misses the friendly, hardworking people of Buffalo and is so glad that she spent her childhood in the City of Good Neighbors, having grown up in the Northtowns.
Anytime one of her coworkers has an overnight in Buffalo, they offer it to her, giving her anywhere from 17 to 20 hours in the Queen City. Her Buffalo pride shows through on those flights.
“I represent Buffalo every time I’m on the plane,” says Bruyer, who gives free drinks to her section and encourages all Buffalo passengers on her flight to join in a Bills chant. “It’s so much fun, I love working trips back to Buffalo.”
Bruyer packs in as much as she can during her quick visit, and packs as much beer, pizza, hot dogs, Tim Hortons K-cups, and DiCamillo's bread in her suitcase for the flight back.
Name: Julianne Bruyer
Current location: Littleton, Colo.
Previous location: Pittsburgh and Buffalo
Miss most about Buffalo: Everything – the people, the friendliness, the little mom-and-pop restaurants
Love about Denver: It’s always sunny, so much stuff to do outside (hiking, biking, camping, skiing in the winter)
Aside from her overnights in Buffalo, Bruyer also tries to come back for longer visits with her husband and stepdaughter twice a year. Though her husband and stepdaughter aren’t from Buffalo, they have become honorary Buffalonians and enjoy the people and food unique to Western New York.
For Bruyer, one of the biggest things she misses about Buffalo is being near water, so she tries to spend as much time by the water as possible. Some of her favorites include Water Street Landing in Lewiston, Niawanda Park, day trips on friend’s boats, and eating at one of the many restaurants along Buffalo’s waterfront.
At work, she’s a huge Buffalo backer, showing off her civic pride to co-workers. When they have extra time in the Queen City, Bruyer has a short list of places she recommends they visit, and that list always includes trips to the water, including Niagara Falls and RiverWorks.
She also recommends Elmwood Avenue, an area she loves because of the restaurants and people.
“It’s so cute. I really miss Elmwood,” said Bruyer.
Bruyer’s Denver in-laws tease her about the Buffalo-themed memorabilia throughout her house. And she spends almost every Sunday at Lodo's, a Bills backer bar connecting with other Buffalo Bills fans.
“The first time I walked into it I go, oh my gosh, I feel at home,” said Bruyer, who began going there when she first moved and immediately made friends. She says there’s something about Buffalo people where you immediately click with them when you meet.
“I always say that all roads lead to Buffalo,” said Bruyer. “A lot of people don’t leave [Buffalo], but when they do, you’ll find them. You’ll run into them.”
Bruyer also misses some of her Buffalo traditions. One of her favorite memories was Sunday dinner with her family, which she tries to do with her aunt and cousins living in Denver, just like they did growing up in Western New York.
“I notice a lot of people out here don’t have traditions like we do back home,” said Bruyer, who also notes that Buffalonians are very family-oriented, which she doesn’t see as much of in other cities.
Bruyer would love to come home, but she wants her stepdaughter to be close to family. Having just bought a house in Denver and no Southwest Hub in Buffalo, she doesn’t see a Buffalo homecoming happening anytime soon.
In the meantime, she will keep filling her home with Buffalove, and encouraging her co-workers to enjoy their extra time in the Queen City.
“I’m proud to be from there, even though I live here, I still miss Buffalo a lot,” said Bruyer.
If you or anyone you know has a story to tell about moving back or to Buffalo, or about moving away, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Russo grew up in the Southtowns and lives in a suburb of Kansas City with her husband, Joe, and their two children. She works as a freelance writer and public relations/marketing specialist.
Story topics: Expats to repats