Friday, December 17, 2010

On leaving the Poultry Yard

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Ugly Duckling and how I still struggle to see myself as a swan. Infidel753 suggested that perhaps part of the problem is that I haven't really left the poultry yard. That really struck me.

Even before I considered splitting from my husband, staying in Fargo for good was never part of the plan. So leaving is not a question of if, just when/where/how. It's not a bad place, but my major complaints are that it's too small, too flat and way too damn cold.

Winter alone would be sufficient reason for moving, but I'm noticing more and more a predominant small-town mentality here. Even though Fargo itself isn't that small, it's largely populated with people who moved from rural areas. Some of them are lovely, but many of them are not anyone I'd care to associate with. Call me a snob if you will, but they remind me too much of the non-summer-book-readers of yesteryear. I've been going to school, so most of my associations have been in academia. Now that I'm done, I've been venturing out into the broader community here and have discovered that the university environment is much more urbane than most of the rest of the town.

I went to a bar a few months ago, trying to get out of my comfort zone and be social (second time in my life I'd ever been to a bar, by the way). Music was awful. No one was dancing. A Rick Astley song came on and I was just about to leave when a guy invited me to hang out with him and his buddies. Yeah, sure, why the hell not? They were alright, nice people, but not really anything in common to talk about. I gave one of them a ride to a different bar later that night. My car radio is almost always tuned to Classical Minnesota Public Radio (I don't have anything against popular music; there just don't happen to be any stations in Fargo that play the good kind). So we get in the car and the radio comes on and he asks, "What's that?" "NPR," I say. "What's NPR?" Seriously? So we get to the bar where he wants to go next and as he's getting out of the car he asks for my number. "Oh, no, I'm just not ready to date right now," I say, when what I'm really thinking is, Buddy, you seem like a nice guy, but if you haven't heard of NPR, you don't get my phone number!

So, yeah, not planning to set down roots here, but moving is complicated. I'm still unemployed. My children's father lives here and he's a good father. I don't want to take the kids away from him. He's said that he doesn't want to live here forever either, but neither of us yet has concrete plans for when or where to move. I miss mountains and I would love to live near the ocean, and more diverse (and educated) neighbors would be nice. I think I'd fit well in either the Northwest of the Northeast. Winter hit hard and fast this year, motivating me to think harder about when and where to go.

It's hard to beat Fargo for cost of living. I've made some good friends here. There are nice things about this place, but I'm feeling more acutely that this is not where I belong.

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15 comments:

  1. I'm ready to move too. Feel stuck though, what with the housing market sucking so bad and what-not.

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  2. Leah, I hope you can plan a way to move to a place where you feel you belong. Moving is a great way to turn the page.

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  3. You've only been to a bar twice and dude has never heard of NPR. If you do move, come to Nor-Cal, awesome weather, super liberal atheist peeps and did I say super weather. Awesomeness.

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  4. You know Mike and I want to move out to the North West, and we've always thought it would be fun to have family members move out there with us.

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  5. I lived in Utah until I was 13, then Northern California, and then LA for college. I loved Park City, Utah as a child but don't think I could live there as an adult. Sacramento is a drag. LA is...well it's LA.

    After my childhood in PC, I never felt at home until I moved to Boston.I love it. If you want liberal, diverse, educated neighbors, Boston is going to be hard to beat. If you want affordable housing, try anywhere else other than San Francisco. Winters aren't exactly cozy here either. Our ocean is warmer but our waves are pathetic. Our mountains look like foothills compared to the Rockies or the Sierra Navada but they are lush and autumn here rivals autumn anywhere else. Boston isn't perfect, but it's pretty freaking cool and more full of character than any other city I've seen.

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  6. Dubuque, IA. But I'm biased. ;)

    I agree, I don't think I could really relate to someone who doesn't know what NPR is. At least in a romantic kind of way.

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  7. You sound like you have the makings of a Portland girl to me. Also, I like your pet peeve: "diety" is definitely something else again.

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  8. Definitely Portland Oregon material, you are. I recommend it--but you will admit at least Fargo was a really good movie.

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  9. It would be ideal if you and your ex can move to an area that you agree upon. I have a friend on Vancouver Island and she and her ex-husband both ended up in the far northern tip for that exact reason and has worked for the kids.

    I love the NW where I live but I don't know how jobs are right now. The good part of that though is property values are going down which makes housing more affordable.

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  10. Becky, I know the stuck feeling! Hope we both can find better paths.

    Donna, thanks!

    Kriss, I do like Nor-Cal. Definitely on my radar as a possibility.

    Eric, would love to have you and Mike as neighbors!

    Amy, thinking hard about Boston too. Never been there, but it so seems like my kind of town. And I like winter, but it's just a bit much around here. Around March it starts to remind me of a roommate who's been playing their favorite song on repeat for too long. Even if you like the song, after a while, it's like, "Can we please listen to something else now?"

    Carla, Iowa, huh. Um... ;-)

    Murr, I have been to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, but did not get the pleasure of making it down to Oregon. Not sure which I would prefer between Seattle of Portland. And I've never actually seen all of Fargo. I've seen parts of it when it's come on TV, but I've never seen the whole thing.

    Rain, I would definitely like to live at least within driving distance of my ex so he and the kids can still be part of each other's lives. So many things to think about, and not sure how it's all going to work out yet.

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  11. I left a comment here before, but maybe I didn't post it properly. I think you'd like Portland -- winters here in the northwest are much milder than the northeast (snow is rare). It's a very culturally pluralist place. There's even at least one big Mormon temple, if you ever get "nostalgic":-)

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  12. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings. Lloyd

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  13. bwahaha. I listen to NPR daily at work. One of my coworkers came over and asked, "what are you listening to? it sounds so boring!" I told her it was NPR. She asked, "What's that?" "Liberal propaganda." She stared at me blankly. My other coworker chimed in, "Yeah. We figured you were a liberal."

    Um. Whatever that means. Hooray for NPR!

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  14. You know Mike and I want to move out to the North West, and we've always thought it would be fun to have family members move out there with us.

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  15. Becky, I know the stuck feeling! Hope we both can find better paths.

    Donna, thanks!

    Kriss, I do like Nor-Cal. Definitely on my radar as a possibility.

    Eric, would love to have you and Mike as neighbors!

    Amy, thinking hard about Boston too. Never been there, but it so seems like my kind of town. And I like winter, but it's just a bit much around here. Around March it starts to remind me of a roommate who's been playing their favorite song on repeat for too long. Even if you like the song, after a while, it's like, "Can we please listen to something else now?"

    Carla, Iowa, huh. Um... ;-)

    Murr, I have been to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, but did not get the pleasure of making it down to Oregon. Not sure which I would prefer between Seattle of Portland. And I've never actually seen all of Fargo. I've seen parts of it when it's come on TV, but I've never seen the whole thing.

    Rain, I would definitely like to live at least within driving distance of my ex so he and the kids can still be part of each other's lives. So many things to think about, and not sure how it's all going to work out yet.

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Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism