Here is a piece of advice: Don’t be surprised if all your well-layed plans fall to the wayside in the blink of an eye. It’s happened to me more times than I can count in the last four years.
Just as I was getting used to the idea of staying in Iowa long-term (finally acclimating to the climate, learning about crops and tractors and Iow-y things, figuring out the good places to craft, etc etc), the unexpected happened in the form of a particularly persuasive school superintendent. A few weeks ago, my husband went to a teacher career fair to look for a job – hopefully somewhere in Central Iowa – and came home with the all the shining possibilities of the Wild West.
Wyoming had actually been a joke between Grant and I as he filled out applications for teaching jobs:
*sardonic voice* “Hey, Haleigh, I think we should go to Wyoming!”, to which I scoffed and made some rude comment about hillbillies and the middle of nowhere.
The truth is, I didn’t know a single thing about Wyoming until about three weeks ago. The mental picture that came to mind every time someone mentioned the state was a big, flat, boring abyss where the most exciting thing to happen was roving cows munching on grass. But, au contraire, Haleigh. Au contraire.
This summer, Grant and I will be moving to Sheridan, Wyoming, which is comfortably nestled halfway between Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. It sits at the base of the Bighorn Mountains, and is one of the most deliciously beautiful places I have ever been. The place is teeming with wildlife (elk, pronghorns, buffalo, bears, deer, just to name a few) and there are endless possibilities for outdoorsy adventures like hiking and rock climbing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Honestly, the closest I ever thought I would get to this kind of life backdrop was the Wichita Mountains (which are deceptively-named hills). But then, by now I should be used to things happening exactly the opposite of what I expect/want. For instance:
– When I lived in Tyler, Texas, Mississippi was the last place I thought I’d be for college. My fantasies included Boston, North Carolina, Maine – somewhere grand and long-praised. But I landed in Jackson, Mississippi for my first three semesters of college, and I don’t regret it a bit.
– When I lived in Mississippi, I hated Louisiana with an unmarked passion. Driving across that state on my way to Mississippi was the most detestable thing I had to do. And yet, by my fourth semester of college, I was in Baton Rouge attending Louisiana State University. To this day I still hate the state, but it’s where I met my husband, so obviously it was where I was supposed to be.
– My entire life I was against Iowa. In fact, it was the only state I audibly and passionately declared off my list of potential places to live. I was born in Iowa City, and as both sets of grandparents live in Central Iowa, it was the most common vacation destination for my family. I thought it boring. But then I met Grant, my lovable farm-boy from the hills of Northwest Iowa, and the rest was history. I took my last semester of classes at Iowa State, got married, settled into Gilbert, and really started to love my roots.
And now I’m being uprooted yet again.
Wyoming was nowhere on my radar a month ago, but now that it is I am extremely excited. Sure, it’s far from family, but sometimes you just have to take those leaps and be adventurous. If the mountains are calling, go to them.
Not to mention, my mountain-themed art (found here) will fit in perfectly. 🙂