Saturday, February 12, 2011

Those Who Can't Sleep, Blog

Well, its 1:41am here in New York and I have decided that I have become an insomniac. Lately, every time I lay down to go to sleep my brain fills and spills over with things that I don't think about during the day. Wedding planning. Those of you who have been in my shoes know that it has a tendency to consume you. (Well, if you are anal retentive like myself) So many thoughts and decisions. Lately it has been: "should I buy a head band for the reception or should I make one? Or should I even wear one at all?" This was exactly what was running through my head as I was tossing and turning right now, trying desperately to find just the right spot in my pillow and stick my left foot just far enough out of the covers to liberate my toes to move as they like without tickling Beau's feet, in the HOPES that sleep would eventually win the battle going on between aimless pondering and sweet sweet slumber that I have been sorely lacking. And then I think "what on earth am I going to do about flowers?" Which inevitably leads to: "OH MY GOSH I HAVEN'T EVEN LOOKED AT FLOWERS YET!" Which leads to: "SHIT! Those freaking invitations. WHERE is Sarah when I need her?" To: "Where I am I going to find a photographer?" To: "Is Beau ever going to decide what he wants the guys to wear? Time is running out here! I mean we only have 9 more months to go. WAIT! Make that 8 oh my gosh I think I am going to hyperventilate." Yes...where it a joyous occasion in every woman's life there are times I wish I would have hired a wedding planner. Would anyone like to take over the planning process for me? Any one? Any one?

But the more I think about it (and I think about every thing once I lay my head down for the night) I think what it boils down to is this: we are just not big city people and maybe the reason why I am so stressed lately is because I have so much to do and I am so far from home.

The first couple of weeks here were awesome. We we're settling in to this amazing apartment in the city...NEW YORK CITY of all places. We were getting furniture and making this little place in Queens home and then...and then Beau went back to the hospital and I realized just how far behind I was in the semester and how frantic it made me every time I felt like the internet wasn't going to work and how I hoped and PRAYED that God would give me the ambition to light a fire under my rear and actually get committed this semester. And with each day that I spent at home cleaning and preparing meals and "studying" (reading a little, taking a notes, then immersing myself in yet ANOTHER episode of Heroes) I grew increasingly aware how much of a "farm kid" (as my dad puts it) I really am.

Kenny Chesney has a song called "Where I Come From" that makes me think of home every time I hear it... "In the town where I was raised, the clocks tick and the cattle graze. Time passed with amazing grace, that's where I come from..." I miss home.

Don't get me wrong. I am blessed. I have gone so many places and seen some beautiful sights in my short life but no matter where I go and no matter how long I live in one place, "home" is in this little town in Iowa that is bordered by cornfields and cattle.

What I miss:

1) I miss my car. I miss that at home we could be self reliant. We could jump in the car and go where ever we wanted, when ever we wanted and not have to rely on some other transportation that ran when it wanted, IF it wanted.
2) I miss cheap groceries. I miss going to the grocery store and having everything you need. I miss having a clean grocery store where you can take in coupons and people know you (and have known you basically your entire life) and that it takes you two hours when you've only gone in for five things.
3) I miss frozen pizza.
4) I miss the sound of semis and the noises down at Pioneer during Harvest.
5) I miss going for walks at night where you don't have to take pepper spray.
6) I miss my dog.
7) I miss freedoms we have in Iowa that we don't have here.
8) I miss stars.

Things I love about Iowa
1) I love that "Iowa" means "beautiful country side" in Ioway
2) I love that we feed the whole world and aren't cocky about it but instead farmers go out there and do it because its in their blood. Because its what their father did, and his father before him.
3) I love that we aren't the South but have the same sort of hospitality. I love that in some parts of the state, a farmer will still come to the aid of his neighbors if a crop needs to be brought in or if a calf needs pulled.
4) I love that neighbors and friends get together for coffee just about anywhere.
5) I love Farmer's Market
6) I LOVE the smell of cow poop. To me it smells better than any perfume.
7) I LOVE my cows. Everything about them. And I miss them.
8) I love that when it rains it smells like like earth. That fresh and new smell. Like life is starting all over again, somewhere.
9) I love the sound the corn stalks make when the breeze passes through them.
10) I love that I can say I was a 4H member for years and embraced it fully and learned more and gained more friends than I could have ever imagined.
11) And I LOVE that every single town in Iowa, no matter how small, always finds something in themselves to celebrate about. Corn carnival, Lincoln Highway Day Parade, Clutier Days, county fairs...the list goes on and on.

What about the Midwest is there NOT to love?

Beau and I have been given so many gifts. The Lord has been so good to us. We have been blessed beyond words. We've have lived in some pretty cool places and seen a lot of neat things. We have been blessed with this amazing opportunity to come to this amazing city where thousands of people started their American dream, where we have made our dreams come true as well. We have swam in the warm salty waters off South Beach, we've lived on a tropical island, we've embraced New York.

Of all the places we've gone though, we started off two kids starting our own lives on some little college campus in Ames, IOWA. We met, became best friends, and fell in love. He is my heart, my soul, my everything. He changed my life forever when he asked me to be his wife on some warm summer night walk right there where I used to go sledding as a kid. He's a farm boy from Iowa and I have the farm life deep in my heart. No matter where we go, Iowa is always home to us and I can't wait to get back there. I am so blessed that my future husband has a heart that beats like mine. That wants the same things I do, and who loves "home" and values every thing about it as much as I do.

So yes, we have been blessed indeed. But I think the biggest blessing we have been given is to be able to say we we're born and raised in God's country, the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Little ole' Iowa, where life moves a whole lot slower, "where the clocks tick and the cattle graze." Yes, Iowa is where we come from.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Picture attempt #1!

This is where we got on the subway to head into Manhattan. This was our first time on the subway!

Fitting In

Moving has been a learning experience. I have learned that even though you feel like you have everything you needed, eventually when you start to unpack and get settled in, you learn that everything you REALLY needed is packed away in a box somewhere 1,084 miles away. I have learned that moving to a city where English is a mix mash of different languages you REALLY need to learn how to read lips. I've learned that just because the Midwest is used to have loads of snow and ice every winter, it doesn't mean the rest of the U.S. is and there are times where a little snow means three days of a whole lot of nothing. I have learned that you really need to dig around for good prices on things. I've learned that slabs of dried fish approximately three feet in length is a totally natural thing to have lying on a grocery store shelf. I have learned how good we have it in the Midwest because our meat there is undeniably the best and the cheapest ($14+ for a tiny pot roast?) I have learned that you can bump into someone and genuinely say you are sorry but that doesn't mean you'll get it back. I have learned that Manhattan is not as scary or as hard to get around as I thought it would be. I have learned that under the brusque exterior, New Yorkers are kind hearted, you just have to get used to their volume. AND I have learned that just because the recipe says to put the chicken breast in the crockpot for 4 hours on high does not necessarily mean it needs to cook that long. Who knew it would shrink down to half its original size?

I have loved living in New York so far. After the most recent "weather emergency" passed our packages finally got here. They had been held up for two weeks a mere 13 minutes away and, true to New York form, the snow prevented our new microwave, crockpot, and kitchen necessities from getting here. So what did I do with those almost two weeks of free time? I'll tell you...I couldn't leave the apartment for fear of having them magically delivered and missing them and then having to figure out how to get to Maspeth, NY and hauling massive boxes back all by myself SO I went through Hero's: Season One in its entirety. I scrubbed our 550 sq foot apartment three times a day (because twice is just not enough when we are clean freaks in the first place and have no animals to leave hair everywhere). I re-arranged furniture and then put it back in its original spot. I watched the gray squirrels play in our tree. I would do mindless reading for my classes and then I would THINK about starting my workout routine again, decide against it, and walk to the kitchen for yet another diet soda and something terribly unhealthy to snack on. At 4 o'clock I would come up with a plan for dinner and have it on the table by the time Beau got home at 5. BUT...its all here now and I am loving my new little kitchen where everything seems to be scaled down in size to fit me just right. I am feeling like this little place of ours in Queens, NY is starting to become home.

Friday was a huge day for me. I mean MONUMENTAL. Since all our stuff made it here Thursday night I was finally free to join the living again on Friday. I got up and wandered outside with my new bag lady cart (that Beau so masterfully fixed the bent back tires of) down the block, over a block, down a block, and over one more block to the local "supermarket." I initially felt like a complete and total tool pushing this cart through the people and the slush but as I looked around me I realized I was not alone. Everyone had a cart. "Well." I though to myself "time to stock up..." so I pulled my mile long grocery list out:

1) groceries are so expensive here. Much more so than I remember them being back at home.
2) the wiring in my bag lady cart is spread far apart and so the little things slip right out.
3) so THAT'S why everyone puts a box or fabric bag inside their cart.
4) some things, you just can't get here.
5) if my manager at Fareway saw people sacking the way the manager does at Key Foods, he'd get a royal a$$ chewing right then and there.

Ok so I didn't get to stock up but focused on the essentials and then I made my way (with very heavy cart) to the post office to mail some bills and buy stamps. Errands were done and I was ready to go home. So I hauled the super heavy cart as best I could through the slush and then hauled it up three flights of stairs without any help. I was pretty proud of myself. And so I rewarded myself with a box of Twizzlers and another episode of Hero's. Im jonesing for Gilmore Girls though.

I made a huge dinner for Beau to celebrate his first week down in rotations. He gets up so early every morning and is beat by the time he gets home at night. So, I decided to try a new recipe in our new crockpot. Lemon chicken. Note to everyone: chicken shrinks so make lots of side dishes.

We had an awesome meal and snuggled in to watch TV together. I had missed him.

Saturday we woke up late and decided to head into Manhattan despite the looming threat of rain and snow in the city. Our first experience on the subway was a positive one and turns out the subway is at the end of the street we live off of. 45 minutes and we're in "The Big Apple."

We got off at Rockefeller Center and as soon as we stepped into the "sunlight" we looked straight up. The buildings were so high the tops of them were foggy. We stopped in to this little pizza joint right off the subway and then headed to Rockefeller Plaza.

It was cold and snowy but the experience itself warms you from the inside. We've lived in Ames, IA then it was to Dominica in the Caribbean, then to Miami FL, back to Toledo but there is just something about the hustle and bustle of New York City. We walked all over the city. We saw Time Square, Radio City Music Hall, and Rockefeller Center. We walked by where they film "Good Morning America" (or whatever its called with Matt Lauer and Meridith whats her face). So many people, so many good smells. I LOVE IT!

But it was so nice to get on the subway and come home to OUR apartment in the city away from the big city, make some hot chocolate, and curl up together with a good movie.

Another thing I learned: Uggs and slush don't go hand in hand. Looks like I may be expecting another package from home. RUBBER BOOTS!