Tuesday, February 17, 2009
There are lots of people in our ward who are able to work from home. Since they can work from home, they can choose anywhere in the world to live (or maybe anywhere in the country...but certainly they have some flexibility!) and it is a little flattering that they choose to live here in Austin; makes me feel like I've got a good thing going living here. A place where people choose to live.
I never wanted to end up in Texas. In my mind Texas was a giant sandbox with tumbleweed blowing around. A place where I couldn't let my children play outside for fear of being eaten by large snakes or stung by scorpions or, heaven forbid, attacked by killer bees. I wondered who in their right mind would want to live here.
Well the good news is that I've yet to see a scorpion, I've only seen one snake (and it was far away from here), plenty of stinging things, but no killer bees yet...and actually within the Austin metro I don't think I've seen tumbleweed. Don't get me wrong, go one hour in any direction from Austin (except the direction San Antonio is in, in that case you may have to go two hours) and you hit the Texas I had envisioned in my youth. But Austin is different. I love it!
Today, however, is a very Oregon-esque day outside. It's overcast and chilly and everything feels fresh and clean and I am very much missing Oregon. We did a four month stint near Portland a couple years ago and I was in Heaven. I live for the ocean and the forest, both were within an hours drive. There were rolling hills and even mountains. We picked the biggest strawberries I've ever seen. We visited the coast nearly every weekend. We went to the Tillamook cheese factory. We saw more waterfalls than I even knew existed. It was glorious. I love the climate, weather and scenery of Oregon. I love the misty rain that is a constant fixture there. The fresh air. Ah I just love it.
I miss Minnesota...I miss feeling like I was on the set of Little House on the Prarie. We lived in Rochester which was just the perfect size city to live in. I miss the miles and miles of paved biking and running trails. Again with the rolling hills...the country living. I miss that when it was a nice day outside, EVERYONE went outside. Those warm summer days were rare and it seemed that everyone would take advantage and do something active outside, I miss that! I miss the incredibly nice people, and their funny accent (that I think I have finally lost and replaced with "y'all and fixinto"). Going to "Breakfast on the Farm" in the summer. Going ice skating on lakes. There really are ten thousand lakes there and isn't it kind of romantic that all the kids actually ice skate on actual lakes. Very Norman Rockwell-y. I miss that 7/10 people in the city were doctors (very reassuring if you were to choke in a restaurant!).
When I first found out we were moving to Minnesota I was horrified. I didn't know people actually lived there, up in the tundra. But I fell in love with Minnesota and the life I had there. Sure it was cold. -30dgs makes the blood in your very veins freeze and you can't help but scream anytime you are outside (or at least I couldn't). You can get a pot of boiling hot water, take it outside and throw the water out and it turns to ice before it hits the ground (not kidding!). But I love it there. And it scares me to think that I could have gone my entire life without ever going there!
And of course there is Utah. The mountains. The family. The skiing. I'm quite fond of Utah, especially our family!
So where would I live if I could choose? I have no idea. If I could take the people and coolness of Austin (not to mention the awesome home prices!), grab the country living and temperate summers of Rochester (and of course some people from there too!), and snag my family out of Utah, I think I would grab my poncho and relocate us all to Oregon (to be with the person I love there). But, what about South Carolina! I've never been there! I've never met the people there. What if I would love it there? Or Tennessee? Or heaven forbid somewhere in another country! It kills me that I won't get a chance to live everywhere and meet everyone that this world has to offer : )
Also are we wrong to be living away from family? We've grown closer as a small family unit, but we sure are missing out on a lot back in good ol' Utah. Our kids don't know their grandparents as well as they could, I have a feeling Blaine and I might actually go out on a date once in a while if we were there, etc. We kind of feel like black sheep being the only ones who have left Utah and our families. But if we wouldn't have left, we wouldn't have met all of the awesome people in the other places we've lived. I wouldn't have tasted a fresh Oregon berry, or figured out that in Minnesota a casserole is a "hot dish", or that Texas isn't really crawling with snakes and scary things.
I once had a friend though who was living far away from her family and as we talked about it she said, "you know, my Dad always said he didn't raise me to keep me close. He raised me and taught me so I could go out into the world!" Or something like that, I really liked that thought.
It's not easy being away from family. We feel guilty, we miss them, we feel a little out of the loop (um, when I went back to Utah last time I found out that my nephew was not only married but that his wife was pregnant...I guess someone just overlooked including that in the family newsletter!), and we are left constantly wondering if we've made the right choice.
At this point in our lives we have no five year plan. At one point we were going to come here for five years and then go back to Utah for law school. That is no longer the plan, and we actually have no plan right now. We are just taking things as they come, which is fine...but it leaves me at a loss when people ask (as they always will) if we are ever going to make it back to Utah.
So, what is your five year plan? Where would you live if you could choose anywhere? Where do you think I should live?