OK, so that last blog was just a tease. It’s official. We’re moving to Iowa!
I’m a city girl, born and raised. But 11 years ago, I fell madly in love with a country boy. Well, he’s half country anyway. If he was entirely country, he may have never moved to the city to be with me! Although, I admit, I can be rather persuasive. And, in time, I imagine that some of my city has rubbed off onto him. But, deep down, he’ll always be a laid back, outdoorsy country boy. And since I love him more than anyone or anything anywhere, I guess, that makes me a little bit country too. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.
I was born in Philadelphia, in the inner-city, in a neighborhood called Kensington which was/is always in the news (not usually in a good way). It’s the kind of neighborhood, where nervous out-of-towners anxiously lock their doors for fear of being carjacked. Of course, they’d have no way of knowing but their cars are more likely to be stripped, tagged with graffiti and then set on fire. But it wasn’t always like that. Or, at least I hadn’t realized it. I didn’t even know I was in a “bad” neighborhood until years after I moved away. From my perspective, it was a great neighborhood, a wonderful place to grow up, and I never understood why anyone would complain about living there. It was my home. And home is home.
To be fair, I also believed my family was rich but that’s another story. I’m beginning to realize that I may have been a tad delusional as a child. In fact, I probably still am. That’s OK. It helps with my writing.
Right after college, I moved to New York City. It had been my plan since I was old enough to have one. When I was little, my dad was a courier and every once in a while he’d take me with him on long car rides. I loved going anywhere and everywhere, especially distant cities, with him. Along the way, he’d tell me stories. My dad tells the best stories. Countless times, he took me on adventures to New York City. He’d tell me stories about New York and I’d picture myself living there. We’d cross the Brooklyn Bridge and my eyes would light up brighter than the skyline. It was magnificent. Each trip, I’d beg him to take me over the bridge and every time he would give in and do so, even when it meant driving way out of the way.
One day, as a gift, he brought me home a Brooklyn Bridge poster and hung it up in my bedroom. He knew I loved nothing more than driving with him over that bridge. Growing up, that poster was my inspiration.
I fell in love with New York City, and I knew I’d eventually live and work there. And, I did. I interned at NBC at Rockefeller Center during my senior year in college and then worked there full time after graduation. It was my dream come true. Then, one day, I got an offer to work at the National Basketball Association, and for seven years I split my time between New York and New Jersey. While there, I met Jason (at Madison Square Garden of all places). Over a year later we started dating, fell in love, moved in together and soon after we moved to Texas (giddy-up!), stayed there for three years, got married (in Tahoe) and moved back to New York (we currently live on the beach in Rockaway Park, Queens). These days, I can look out my front and back windows at the ocean and get inspired to write. We’ve been back in New York almost four years now but, lately, we’ve been getting the itch to make another move.
It was bound to happen, since it seems we have trouble staying very long in one place. People sometimes ask us if we’re military, and maybe we should have considered it. For one, moving would have been much cheaper! But we both love to travel, live in new places and experience new things. If you think I’m bad, he’s far worse than me. In addition to numerous cities within the United States, he’s also lived abroad. He’s been everywhere. He’s lived all over. He’s even lived in Hong Kong.
We’ve both traveled all over the world, separately and together, mostly through our jobs but also for fun. This world is amazing, thrilling, big. There’s always more to see and do. Now our world is leading us to the Midwest. We’re both a little bit nervous but we’re also extremely excited.
Like I’ve mentioned before, Jason is originally from Iowa. His dad is a corn and soybean farmer, among many other things. His mom and dad raised him lovingly, protectively, surrounded by a great big family in a very small town. For perspective purposes, there were less people in his home town than I had in my high school graduation class. There’s a song that goes, “On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha…” Well, that road leads to his hometown. Really, it does.
Sure, by big city standards, it’s in the middle of nowhere. But, as I get older, being in the middle of nowhere actually sounds kind of nice. Maybe I’ve finally lost it. Or maybe I’m growing up. We even bought a house – and, believe me, nothing makes you feel more grown up than that! It’s in another quaint, cool, small town 20 minutes from everything. The house needs some work but it was the right price (our mortgage payment will be less than a third of our current monthly rent). Instead of the ocean, there’s an actual corn field across the street.
Plus, it has a huge, gorgeous, grassy green back yard, and that’s something I’ve never had. I’m looking forward to lying down in the grass on warm summer nights, looking up at the star-filled sky. It’s something so beautiful and awe-inspiring that you’d have to see to believe. Although, to be perfectly honest, the first time I saw it, I still couldn’t believe it. Stars like these don’t exist in the city sky… except during a blackout.
In addition to the stars in the sky and all the wishes I’ll get to make when I see them fall, I’m stoked because my daughter will get to grow up surrounded by green grass and clean air and lots of family and friends. She’ll learn to ride horses. She’ll run barefoot in the grass and chase fire flies. We’ll take her to visit local farms where she’ll get to pet animals and where we’ll buy farm fresh eggs and produce. We’ll be able to grow a garden and plant fruit trees together in our yard. Lyla will have space to grow and do whatever she wants to do. It’s hard for me to imagine since, currently, I have to hold her hand to walk to our mailbox.
Since I’ve only ever gone to Iowa on vacation and long holiday weekends, it might feel like we’re on vacation all the time. Who knows? I may even learn to relax… well, we’ll see. But I’m sure, in time, it will feel like home.
Like every other place we’ve been and lived, we can’t promise that we’ll stay forever. We’ve always been the wandering kind. But, if all goes as planned, we’ll be sticking around for a while. There’s so much to do and so many new things to experience there. Sure, we’ll miss the ocean and, even more so, our east coast family and friends (who we’ll be back to visit and who all know they are welcome at our place any time!). But it’s time to start a new chapter. And we’re truly looking forward to it.
I plan to continue writing, of course, and blogging about my life and all about my adventures in Iowa once we get settled. In the meantime, I’ll blog when I can but we have a lot of packing to do!
Iowa, here we come!