Friday, September 18, 2015

Small Town Living

I had always thought growing up that my home town was small.My kids thought the same thing.  It had a population of about 18,000 when I was young, and is at 22,000 now. We are also a stones throw from either St Paul or Minneapolis. While I never felt a huge need to move "bigger", my kids were adamant that small town living was not for them.I remember the endless cries about how  boring the town was and that there was nothing to do . Both picked the exotic metropolis of Milwaukee to move away to go to college.  DS is now in the Los Angelos area and seems to like  it.  DD# 1, sowed some oats in London, a city so unlike our hometown, and then also got the LA bug for about 5 minutes.  Interestingly though, after her three month road gig where she saw a pretty significant number of the big cities in the United States, she ended up taking what was going to be a summer job in a small town in Greater Wisconsin teaching film and photography.  She is 90 minutes from any  community more than 20,000 people.  Well my big city girl decided to make this her home for a while and accepted a full time permanent position. No more life on the road, no more big city living.   

I had the enjoyment of spending the day with her, getting a start on moving into a new to her duplex, after spending the summer in makeshift housing used for intern and short term staff. It was a good two hour drive to reach her. Living in Minnesota my whole life, with Wisconsin next door, this was a part of the  state I had never really been before. Her new employer has several locations, and she will have days at to different ones, the first being in the small town she has been living in, and the other 20 miles up the road to where she is moving to.  There is also another little town in between the two. When I say no more city living, I really mean no more city living. None of the three have  a population over 1200 people.  Each are loaded with churches, bars, and thrift shops.There are no shopping centers, nightclubs, and mass transit. Fortunately, where she will be living has a library within walking distance of her home, and the town that she will pass between has a fitness center, which she has already purchased a membership. There are miles and miles of bike and hiking trails, and the area is surrounded by lakes for kayaking and canoeing, and not too far from the Apostle Islands National Park. It is amazingly beautiful part of the state. Her mind and body will be well nourished. With me commenting on the stark contrast of these small towns compared to where she grew up, she expressed to me how she even thought her hometown seemed big now. 

I am excited for her and this new chapter in her life. Being a young single person in a small community where you know no one other than your coworkers has to feel as foreign as when she moved to another country. I've shared how proud I am of my kids, and their willingness to pursue their passions and buck a more traditional path.  This is even nontraditional for herself, though her schedule will allow her the time to pursue her own art. She has odds and end furniture to get moved up there still-I couldn't take in my car, and will finally purge the rest of her things stored at our house while she was living her earlier adventures. She's finding her dreams now in small town living. 
Stockton Island, Apostle Islands National Park- photo by Alaina Myers

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