I am going on my sixth year as a Teton Valley, Idaho resident. When I think about my surroundings prior to this situation, I often balk at the difference. Yes, six years might seem like a semi-long time ago, but it is not specifically about the environment I came from just prior to moving here, but the surroundings that blanketed my life before that and even before that.
I have finally come to the conclusion that I have spent most of my life as a city girl. I often don’t want to admit things like this, for fear of being stereotyped further. “Oh, a city girl, eh? You must really miss your heels and park ‘n ride pass!” Yeah. No. I have never lived in such a remote or rural location such as this one, it’s true. But did I love those cities? Did I love Seattle, St. Louis, and Minneapolis? Did I take advantage of my urban landscape while I was in it? Invariably, the answer has to be no.
Okay, “no” with qualifications.
I did and still do love Seattle. But I never truly lived in Seattle proper. I lived north of the Emerald City and my favorite thing about that location was its proximity to Highway 2. All you had to do was get on it, and you would soon be in the woods. I took that damn highway to white water rafting locations, either putting in with friends or helping to shuttle when I didn’t paddle. I drove out that way just to hike, or camp or mountain bike. I did not spend precious weekend time on the I-5, trying to get deeper into the city.
I do love St. Louis. It’s a great place to visit. During the time I lived, there, though, I was miserable. My life seemed to be one long commute from my apartment in the city to… everything. My job was a haul. Visiting family always seemed to be a haul. I was completely annoyed on a regular basis by the sheer amount of cars that seemed to be in my life. I was in my car, and everyone else was in their car, and our lives progressed rather disjointedly in this position, but it was the norm. Socially speaking, many of the women that I was acquainted with were obsessed with hair and nails. I decided that this must be a cultural thing. A Midwestern enigma. But. I was the enigma. I was too casual in many regards, always surrounded by a gaggle of girls that seemed to sparkle just a bit more than I did (this was due to the proliferation of sparkle make-up and sequins in the early 2000’s). I actually got fake nails once in an effort to fit in. I then broke all of them off 48hrs later while trying to get the rag top back up on my Jeep.
In Minneapolis – well, I just worked there. I was happy to come home every night to Tim in our little 900 square foot house that was an hour from my job, but cornfield adjacent. There was a wetland preserve just up the road, and we spent scads of time outside together, gazing upon the black, fertile soil that covered the rolling hills. And, I do love Minneapolis – but I never did enough there. I went to the Guthrie Theater only once during the three years that I lived near there. I didn’t see enough of the museums… I feel that I should go back as a tourist some day. I have not yet returned since moving here.
So I was a city girl. It’s easy to choose labels like that. I was a city girl because I lived in cities. But did I belong in those cities? Did I revel in my urban environment, chasing after the next coolest thing to do, or the best place to eat? I don’t remember it being that way. I was always looking to pull the parachute. It seems that I have.