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Answer Week: Day 2

1 May 2008

KathyR asked, Now that your time in New England is winding down, are you looking forward to going back to Iowa? Or wishing you could stay longer? Or what?

Hmmm. That’s a hard one to answer.

I started out by writing out some pros and cons.

Pros about New Hampshire
Glorious landscape
Ocean nearby
Summer mildness

Cons about New Hampshire
Cost of living
Stand-offish nature of people
Feeling of entitlement in this university/medical center town
Whiteness

Pros about Iowa
Being back with our friends
Getting back to our big house
Our big yard
Big-city library
Coffee shop, wine bar, video store, movie theater, sandwich shop, mini-mart all within walking distance
Diversity of people
Midwestern cost of living
Midwestern hopitality
Variety of restaurants and stores

Cons about Iowa
Speakerboxes (the bane of city dwelling)
Midwestern landscape
Humid summer

This year has underscored for me the importance of friendships. Perhaps because we knew we were going to only be here for one year, we haven’t really tried to make friends. On the other hand — no one around here has been particularly welcoming, either. I don’t really have much in common with these people. We have an awesome group of friends in Iowa. They are kooks, just like us; they are always willing to lend a hand; they make us feel welcome.

I really don’t like the midwestern landscape. Prairie, schmairie. My soul is in the mountains and in the craggy oceanfronts. I’m in a quandary, because although my spirit thrives in a rural woodsy landscape, I like the variety inherent in city-living. I miss my library! The one that always has whatever I’m looking for, that orders books when I suggest it, and that introduces me to different musical artists, rather than reminding me that the 1980s can get boring if that’s all you listen to.

I’m glad you asked this question, Kathy, because it forced me to make these lists. Returning to Iowa is going to be great. But I think I’m going to be more insistent that we take time to be out of the city on a regular basis. And I’m going to be so glad our friends will be nearby.

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