Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Your oyster

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?


Seth and Sierra said...

We're going to be in Casper in five years. We'll move maybe a couple more times when Seth is on rotations, but that's pretty much the last move forever for now. If I could live anywhere, I think choosing where to live if I could live anywhere is hard! I think I'd choose Salt Lake cuz I've always wanted to be part of Mo-tab, but as far as where I've loved it the most, I'd go to back to Austin in a heartbeat. :)

Jan said...

Guess who's going to Oregon this year come August :)

Robin said...

Awww ... I love you, too! And, like all your posts, I like this one - especially about recognizing the sadness of not being able to meet all the neato people in the world.

I'm hankering to live overseas. (underline) Anywhere. Even on an equatorial atoll. If I'm there, it would be great if you would come live there, too.

Emily said...

I was just going to keep on living in Utah forever but now I think I choose Oregon instead. Thanks a lot.

julianne orth said...

ever since me and justin got married we would tell people that eventually we would move back to the salt lake area, but something would always come up and keep us here. then we realized, we love it and we WANT to be here, we are not here because we have to be here. I would just take whatever life brings to you. I would strongly suggest moving to price, but that is just my opinion :) I do have a brother in law that lives in seattle and it is sad because he misses out on so many things with us, but you just have to decide if you really care if your kids are close to their cousins, I really think if my brother in law wanted to move back(he had a five year plan too) he would, but you just take it as it comes, but if you want something just make it happen! But- if you love it there, just enjoy life there and make lots of friends! good luck though- five years sure goes by fast doesn't it!

Kristina said...

I liked this post, Kristy. When Josh and I decided to move to Indiana, we had a lot of the same thoughts as you do. We've both lived outside Utah before, but never together and we wanted to experience something new. When Josh is done with his residency I think we'll probably settle down in Utah--or somewhere close. Maybe Colorado or Idaho? There are so many fun places to live it's hard to decide where to "settle down." We've also talked about living in another country, or at least Josh doing humanitarian work in another country and me coming along. :) We'll see what the next 5 years brings.


P.S. I liked your post about the unattainable dream boy. :)

JoAnna said...

Ohh! Such a good thought-provoking post. Nails it on the head for me. Thanks.
Right now we have about five top places in consideration for our fellowship and I actually want to live in all five. CRAP! That's a lot of moving!

Thora said...

I'm from Utah, and almost all my family is still in the Salt Lake Valley, while I'm in Ohio. I have a "five year plan" I guess, since my husband is getting a Phd, and in five years when he graduates I'd love it if he got a job at BYU, and we could move back there...but it's as much for the job match as for family.

Still, I love living here in Ohio. What I love most though about living in various places are the people, especially the different Wards. I love having a social network already laid out - it makes wherever I move feel like home. Because of the Church, I truly feel I could move anywhere in the world that it was, and be happy. (well, most places....I like speaking the local language, too.)

Janssen said...

Duh, you should come live next door to me. In Boston. I will babysit your children so you and Blaine can go on a date.

I like that you are adventurous.

Gretchen said...

Ah Kristi, you made me miss living in Oregon so much that it actually hurt a little! Too bad I'll never be able to talk M into that one... Unfortunately M and I never have been on the same page about ideal places to live. Austin has been a pretty good compromise. We can't go to one place and be close to both families in any way. Sometimes it feels a bit tragic. Maybe we can just convince them all to move here eventually! I can't even imagine having a 5 year plan or whatever. Maybe M and I moved enough as kids that we just crave stability. I dunno. As long as we're happy and the job lasts, we'll ride this wave. If the job isn't working out anymore, well, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it!

chelon:) said...

i never thought that i would live away from my family in utah. i was born and raised there...lived there for 30 years. i have come to love texas (not that i think we will be here forever) but i love the fact that i can live away from my family and still be happy! granted i feel like i miss out on some things, but i know that my family (steve, i and the kids) are much closer. we have to rely on each other for everything! i love the friends that we have here and i love feeling like we are truly on our own. does that mean we will never go back? not sure!! i would love to live out of the country someday...but having kids that are older doesn't afford us the luxury of picking up and moving wherever we want. we have to be very selective and prayerful whenever we make a move. so in five years i hope to be wherever the good Lord chooses for us! thanks for helping me to relect on this. what a great post!

Jennifer said...

I loved this post Kristi! I feel your pain being away from family. Sometimes it's hard. But you know what I love about being somewhere else? That other people become my family. Even in the short amount of time we have been in WI I feel I have people who are like family. People who I love like family anyway. I am an adventurous person and have a million places that I would love to live. Wisconsin was never on my list but I'm so glad that I'm here. I think it just comes down to where you are supposed to be at a certain time in your life. You obviously are supposed to be in TX. Maybe in five years that will change and you will need to be in New York, who knows. I think planning is great and all but I also know that whatever I plan may not happen because I don't know what is in the Lord's plan. His might be different. I say just keep taking it a day at a time for now until you are inspired to do something different.

p.s. If Wisconsin looks anything like that pic of Minnesota in the summer then I am beyond excited to see it. I seriously can't wait until spring!

Holly and Brad said...

Just live where it makes you happy. I don't necessarily think that is here (due to your posts) but life is too short to worry about the things you don't have. Instead trying focusing on the things you do have (easier said than done, right). What you do have is a wonderful ward family that loves you and (from the sound of it) will do anything for you. That's a plus, right?

I don't think the "perfect" place exists. As a child I enjoyed living in one town my whole life. I was able to make life-long friendships and was able to say, "oh ya so and so...we grew up together." I love growing roots...I love having all the history that living on one home will bring. I love the stability I felt there.

Home is where the heart is. Sounds like you've just got to figure out where that is. Good luck! Mine is here...I LOVE IT and hope to be here forever.

Shauna said...

Oh, my friend, I SO relate to this post. And to complicate matters further, we find ourselves in the position that we CAN live anywhere in the world that we want to, but I don't know where that place is either. I've had my eye on Switzerland lately. Or Sweden. (Or anywhere with universal health care after watching a couple of documentaries on the subject) I dream of Oregon, often, too. Or Washington state. And then I drive myself crazy second guessing all of my guesses. And I've just learned that there's always something to miss. In Texas we missed the mountains and camping and family. In Utah, I miss Austin and the independence and the winters. And I miss Idaho and the country living and down to earth folks. I think I might just always be a woman without a home...I wonder if we'll ever land someplace and I'll say, "This is it. This is perfect." Knowing me, probably not. But a girl can dream.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a 5 year plan we will probably always live on this farm. Whic h so far is ok with me, if the money gets better. I wish we lived closer to my fam. The other benifit of the south central PA is we are in the "mountains" and only 3 -4 hrs away from the beach. Sounds pretty close to perfect to me.

Melissa Ash said...

Oh, I loved this post!!! It is exactly how I felt! Growing up I never wanted to leave SLC!! I loved it! Then through traveling to Hawaii and Prague, mission to Florida, and living in DC, I kind of feel like I could live anywhere and find something that I TOTALLY loved about it!! (except maybe Kansas. My sil lives in Kansas, and I didn't like that too much!!) I totally want to live in Europe somewhere. Also, Northern VA was AMAZING!!! Plus, we were in the best ward ever! I really want to go back there! And who wouldn't like to live on the beach in Hawaii, and enjoy 80 degree weather all year? Hmmm...... too bad Matthew will never want to leave Utah again!! :) Maybe!!

Wendy said...

I'm enjoying catching up on your blog after being away. I loved your Feb. 14 blog and the tender comments and familiar photos.

Anyway, to answer the questions in this blog. My five year plan - get Max on a mission, maybe marry off a couple daughters and welcome more grandkids to the family (you are off the hook for a few years!!) If I could live anywhere - here in WVC as long as I can travel and visit other places! And the big question "Where do I think you should live?" Selfishly I say here (the house on the corner is still for sale) but unselfishly I say keep following the Spirit. You guys are wonderful and brave and great to make the most of all the opportunities that have come your way.

Rochelle said...

Loved the post Kristi - My 5 year plan - Keep doing what I do now. My whole life I have had so many deadlines and goals of where I want to be and when, I feel like now I am where I have always been trying to be. Married to a great man with kids still coming in a great home close to family. Now I am just living life. I don't want to go anywhere else but here. I lived lots of different places when I was single, and LOVED every where, just like you said. I always thought I might just go back to live in place I have lived, but I always missed home. I love living 3 doors down from my little brother and being so involved in his life, If I am going to have friends.. I want my siblings to be at the top of that list, I love Sunday dinners at my moms every Sunday, I love going to my nieces bday party, even if she is just turning one. I love that if my kids are sick and they can't be around other kids and I need to get out, I can go to grandma's. I love that when I go to my Mom's house, half the neighbors are still the same, I love that if someone went to Granger within 10 years of me, they know one of my siblings. Well the list goes on and on. If I weren't able to live here, I don't think I would live more than a car drive from here, because plane rides are too expensive and too hard with kids to go on when your Mom needs her living room painted or your sister has a baby... OK I am way sentimental about family stuff, but my point is, is that I need to be close so I don't miss the little things, and I love the thought of raising my kids in one home, one neighborhood (like our parents did). But that is just me, as where I think you should live??? Where ever you feel is right for your family!!!

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