I wrote in the best Facebook group on the planet recently:
I’m a city girl just living in a cornfield, wondering how I got here.
I was giving someone advice to check their local farm and fleet store for something and I realized in that moment that I should be writing more of this crap down, because I amuse myself really often. And that maybe someone else could relate to being a city girl – someone who loves to travel, will eat anything at least once, who reads and works on her cultural competence and growth in social justice, who can navigate public transit in a new city without blinking an eye – who finds herself in living in a small, rural community.
I chose this life, and I still marvel at it, sometimes.
Add in that I want to try all the things, do all the crafts, cook all the dishes, and I feel like I could easily get back to writing a blog. So, I am. I’ll try not to be insufferable.
I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan and went to school near Detroit. After that, I went to grad school at the same place that gave me an undergrad degree and then got a job as a Hall Director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. That was my first taste of rural life, which I now see as a pretty cosmopolitan place that has rural roots. They may have festivals where you can put your arm through a cow, but ultimately they are a small city with everything you need. After a few years there, the husbot and I moved to Connecticut, then Massachusetts and lived on the East Coast for 10 years. While I was there, I always told people I moved out there because I was a terrible Midwesterner. I didn’t ever develop the skill for Midwestern Nice (read: Midwestern Passive Aggressive) and I’ve always been too much for the Midwest, I thought. Too direct, too impulsive. I adored my decade on the East Coast, but knew I had to return to where my family was and that job search led me to a small, private, magical little school in the middle of nowhere, Indiana.
When they offered me the job, I took a deep breath, asked the husbot if he was ready and willing to live somewhere like North Manchester, plugged my nose and jumped straight into the deep end.
People in New England were really judgey about my move – you could almost hear the implied, “On purpose?!” when I’d tell them we were moving to Indiana. Yes, on purpose. I chose to drive 25 minutes to the grocery store on purpose. I can see the Milky Way from my (quarter acre, very inexpensively purchased) backyard. It’s so quiet I can hear my heart beat at night. It’s different, but there are some really beautiful and wonderful things about my small town.
We bought a house, so we’re going to stay a while. In the meantime, I work a lot, cook and garden and craft, can my own vegetables, play video games, read and travel as often as I can. It seems like capturing as much as I can here is a smart thing to do, if only for myself.