At Home at Our Little House
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?