At Home at Our Little House

Kansas City

 

We visited our hometown, Kansas City, over Memorial Day weekend.

It has now been five years since we moved to Our Little House, and it has been interesting for us to see how we have reacted to going “home” throughout the years.

When we first moved here, Dale remained in Kansas City for three months while he trained his replacement at work and sought the job he was after here in our new town.

My first friend here owned an antique shop in town. She had moved here with her husband from another large city several years prior. It was a little disconcerting to see how unhappy she was living in this rural area. While she had tried to build a life here, she didn’t ever seem settled.

That was not the best summer for me either, just months after my mother died, living here alone in a new place; far from friends and activities I enjoyed all of my life in the city.

My new friend complained that her husband had become rather inactive when it came to working on their yet unfinished home in the country, and although retired, he lacked the desire to do much of anything, including travel, which they had enjoyed previous to their move. He almost treated attaining their goal of moving here as an end.

When Dale got here, I didn’t see her for a few months, as we were busy finalizing our move and adjusting to our new life. When I finally ventured into her shop sometime the next spring (she did leave after tourism season each year, during the winter, to go back to her hometown to help take care of her mother) she said, “I’m very surprised you’re still here!”

Evidently, it’s a long standing tradition among natives and those who have been here a long time to bet, even if it’s in their own minds, how long a former city dweller will last.

I’ve also recently met people since then who transplanted here that said the first five years, for whatever reason, was the hardest to adjust.

People always ask me how we adjusted to living in such a small house. The truth is that part of our adjustment was easy. Adjusting to a whole new life in the country, in a region where the culture is different in so many ways, has brought us our biggest challenges.

On our trips back to our hometown over these past five years, we’ve gone from being so severely homesick to the point we didn’t want to drive away during our first visit back, to being joyful at the new discoveries we’ve made seeing our home now as tourists and back to being homesick.

Finally, on this last trip, we both truly felt as if we weren’t a part of that life anymore.

While waiting for Dale at a mid-point meet up spot in our old neighborhood, I decided to take a drive by the land we once leased for our horses.

At first, nothing looked familiar to me and I wondered if I even had the right street. I then drove past the old gravel driveway three times before I realized that was the gravel drive I turned on at least twice a day for five years. Back then, I could have driven there with my eyes closed.

The land has been closed off for use now. It was overgrown, and the barricade blocking the entrance was a reminder to me that what once was familiar is no longer.

We also were reminded, while visiting a friend, how obnoxious unruly neighbors can be (especially when they have guests over for a holiday weekend), how bad the traffic is, how rude people are running into everyone on the sidewalks like bumper cars while they talk on their cell phones and how sick processed food makes me now that we’re used to cooking at home.

My first friend here, the antique store owner, has since moved back to the city. Her husband suffered a debilitating medical problem and she could no longer leave him during the winter to help her elderly mother.

But she taught me an important lesson that first year we were here, to give our new life time, but not become complacent in our continued quest to learn new things, meet new people, see interesting places and attain more dreams. Attaining our goal of living here was not the end, but the beginning of a new adventure.

She taught us that we needed to continue to live if we ever hoped to find happiness in our new town.

I think our visit to KC this last week proved we made it mentally through the first five years of adjustment. We enjoyed our visit and even enjoyed the nuances of city life for a few days, but we were ready to leave it behind and come “home.”

If you have moved, or you plan on moving to a different area with a different lifestyle (smaller home) or culture, how do you plan on adjusting to your new life or how did you?    

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32 Responses

  1. Michael Ford says:

    I got new friends from my new school and neighborhood. This kept me from missing my old friends and old life. I joined different activities in school and community. It’s hard to adjust at first, but after a month or so, I was able to do it and be happy again.

  2. We moved several times during our married years–and we’re about to move again. When you go to a new area it does take time to adjust. I’d agree there’s something magic about the 5 year mark. So far, we’ve moved at that mark, twice, just when things were getting comfy.

  3. Heather L. says:

    I’ve only lived one other place, Columbus, Georgia; and it was for less than a year, but I wanted to come home the entire time. So, I understand how it takes time to become acclimated to a new place – I just don’t want to.

  4. When I moved from the US to New Zealand, I loved it right away, but I think it took me a couple of years to get into the rhythm of life here. Christmas in the summer is different, but fabulous!

    • Kerri says:

      I always wondered how Christmas during the summer months would be, especially to an American who has always celebrated during winter months in North America! We’ve always loved our home, but glad you understand about the different rythm, which is true anywhere one moves, I think.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Moving is hard, especially if you’re a person who has a tough time dealing with change (I do). Glad to hear that you are feeling at home now.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s probably why it was for us as well, Sheryl. We’re creatures of habit. I hadn’t even changed our furniture in 17 years we lived at our house in the city!

  6. Jane Boursaw says:

    I’ve only lived away from here – my hometown – during my college years. Being away made me realize how truly wonderful life is here. Not only is it our home where both my husband and I grew up, but it’s just a wonderful place to live. The people are generally kind and respectful, and the landscape is stunning. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, but I’m glad I had a chance to during my college years, to see our hometown with a grateful new perspective.

    • Kerri says:

      I think it’s good for everyone to get a different perspective at some point in their lives. I’m also glad we’ve had this opportunity.

  7. A couple of years after we were married, we moved from Ohio, where both of us had lived all our lives to Arizona. Humid, farm country to dry and hot desert. The culture was vastly different, but there were lots of other newcomers in the Phoenix area where we landed, and I was eager to learn about the history of our new place and the Native American cultures that surrounded us.We loved it from the moment we got here and loved it even more after our first trip “back East” when we realized how often the clouds filled the skies and how dingy the cities looked compared to the shiny new cities of the Southwest and the gorgeous views of mountains under clear blue skies.

    • Kerri says:

      The Southwest is a beautiful area of the country with a rich history. It’s wonderful you’ve enjoyed your new home!

  8. I think it almost always takes at least a year or two to orient yourself to a new place. What I have little patience with, though, are people who move and complain; it’s such a great way to alienate people who might otherwise be your friends.

  9. Merr says:

    Five years? Really? Wow, time goes so quickly. I would agree with the commenter above, that the first initial move can be the biggest adjustment, for it brings with it the issues of grieving the loss/change (even if you are happy about it) and acclimating to the new. It can be a fun time, but still a change.

    • Kerri says:

      I know, it hardly seems possible sometimes that 5 years have went by. In other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. Time is funny like that. I think you’re right, if we ever moved anywhere else now, the change wouldn’t be as challenging.

  10. mat says:

    I think the first real departure is the hardest. At 18, I moved out of my mother’s house and went to a college 300 miles away. Being there was very difficult and overwhelming…and I did not go back. However when I came back, everything had subtly changed. The best way I can describe it is that although everything looks the same, it smelled different. That’s when I learned that you can never really go home again.

    • Kerri says:

      Interesting, Mat. When I moved from home, or rather my home moved from me as my mother sold her house, I had a hard time adjusting too and it wasn’t that far.

  11. Vida says:

    I moved from an attic apartment in the historic center of Madrid, Spain to camp out beside the ruins of an old stone house in a mountain village of Greece (the camping was while we renovated it). That was some change in pace…At times I’d be hacking away at brambles to clear the land and wondering what I had gotten myself into. But the green forests, the views of the deep blue Aegean sea, the amazing sunrises, the owls hooting in the night, the full moon rising in front of us in summer, the absolute peace, our own home grown veggies… reminded me why we’d made the move.

    I never suffered the change in pace. As a matter of fact, we’re busy here all year round, so we never get bored. We’ve made lots of friends (like minded people who also moved here to escape a stressful urban lifestyle) and I have Internet connection. We eat well, sleep well, live well. Our dogs are happy and we are happy. I Couldn’t ask for more!

    • Kerri says:

      I’ve so enjoyed reading about your life there, Vida! I’m glad you found the place you were meant to be and have shared with all of us!

      • Vida says:

        Hi Kerri,

        As I enjoy reading about YOUR lives. I am no longer in that first house, we found another stone wreck in an olive grove right by the sea. Same area of Greece, though and same lifestyle….

        • Kerri says:

          We were watching a show last night that highlighted a place in Alaska where they have to fly in during the winter to get food and mail into the 2 dozen residents. There is no electricity or running water. That’s way too primitive for me! 🙂

          • Vida says:

            I agree. One man’s hell is another’s heaven! What would get me though, is the cold… It’s cool though to hear about other people’s concept of paradise. I realize that to many of my family and friends, my present lifestyle is the equivalent to them of what you have described about that remote community in Alaska is to us. VIVA each to his own!

          • Kerri says:

            Ha, Vida, many of our family and friends see this as that type of a place, too! 🙂 I’m with you, I could not take that awful cold or months of waste deep snow. Brrrr.

  12. When we moved her, some neighbors made it QUITE CLEAR that they wouldn’t even talk to us or learn our names until we’d been there at least 5 years. At the time, it made me feel bad, but now that we’ve been here 11 years … I kind of feel the same way about newbies. One newish person (a couple of years) just reported a friend of ours to the county for “noxious weeds.” Um, yeah, we live in a rural area. There are weeds, Lady. Get over it.

    • Kerri says:

      Good point, Roxanne. I think thee is a hesitation among people who have been in rural areas a long time, definitely with the natives, of how a new former city dweller will fit in. I think that’s never something we took into consideration. LOL on the weeds. They would hate our place! 🙂

  13. Chris Vinson says:

    We have been in Minnesota five years now, and recently went back to Florida. I miss my friends and family there, of course, but noticed that the traffic was terrible and everyone was in a hurry. Now that school is out, I make my 16 mile drive to work and perhaps only see three other cars on the road. Life is good.
    Chris
    “Tne Minnesota Farm Woman”

  14. It’s good to know you feel settled in your little house. we moved to a rural area when we had a tiny baby. It was a hard change for me. Eventually we moved back to the suburbs where we are now and for now, this is where we belong.

    • Kerri says:

      Both lives certainly have their benefits and each is not right for every person. I really enjoyed the fact Dale got up every morning and went to the coffee shop in the hotel’s neighborhood and brought me back my favorite joe. I could very well get used to that. 🙂 But living in the country also affords us many benefits such as having 6 dogs, something we wouldn’t be allowed to do legally in any suburb of the city. 🙂 I’m finding there is less we miss and more we enjoy about being here.