I didn’t ask for any of this. You see, it all started when I met my husband at college. The first time we hung out he said, “You know I could see myself marrying you.” All I could think of was, “Yep, this is a stage 5 clinger here…”. In the end he was right, I fell in love and we found ourselves engaged; and I found myself with a dilemma.
I am from Pennsylvania, about 1.5 hours outside the NYC area,and he is from upstate New York. Where do we end up living was a heavy question we talked about for a long time before we got married. In the end, and with a much longer backstory, we decided to move to upstate. I had idealized it all in my mind. The country setting is beautiful, and summers on the lake are better than any summer I’ve ever had elsewhere before.
Then reality set in quick. Country living. It takes me 30ish minutes just to go to the grocery store… I have to plan out my families meals ahead of time?! I cannot just quickly stop into a grocery store if I forget a crucial ingredient for dinner. This was an adjustment. I, for sure, didn’t realize the conveniences of having everything literally 5 minutes away, and never truly realized others did not live this way until I was here in the thick of it.
Too far in to ever return to what life once was.
Pizza being delivered to my house is a thing of the past. We’ve all had those days where it’s like, ugh I give up on life, lets just order a pizza. That is dead to me now— and it feels like breaking up with a boyfriend. Pizza and I have always been true loves. Now, like most long distances romances, we are a thing of the past. We say we’ll keep in touch, but weeks become months and we’ve sort of lost touch.
Another devastating thing is the internet. 3mbps is the maximum I ever get. If you have no clue what this means, just to run just Netflix alone you need 4mbps. I came from a place where internet is a high speed marathon runner and the whole family could be streaming alllll the things while playing on their phones. On a good day I can play Netflix without it buffering at all and the picture is clear (as long as i’m not using any other devices).
This doesn’t bother my husband. He isn’t a tech kind of guy. When we got married, he told me his dream of hobby farming, and eventually being a self sustaining household. I on the other hand, am a woman who needs to be in the know and especially now more than ever for my super awesome job (don’t worry, I’ve called several times. It appears as though high speed internet is headed our way in 3 years so it’s all turning around for me).
Honestly though, these are all super minor annoyances that have their moments of seeming like major issues, when in all actuality, it’s fine and I’m going to survive. The real struggle I have with New York is one simple thing. Sometimes, living here hurts.
Why did I agree to live so far away from my family? There are times I just ache. I miss them so much. It’s like walking around outside in the mud with rain boots on. The mud pulls at each step you take trying to rip them off your feet. It can feel like New York is the mud and I’m just the boot trying to stay on. I blame my grandmother. She made us all love each other so much.
My very first memory is of all my family gathered around at my grandmothers house. We’re a loud bunch when together, because there is thundering laughter pretty much on repeat.
It’s not like that here, it’s quiet and isolated. We both thought this would be the best of both worlds. His family is nice, and we get along well, plus it is affordable to live here. We would have never been able to buy land where I am from without hitting the lottery, and I don’t gamble. The simple truth is this as nice as his family is, they’re not my family.
Let me put it this way, if you forgot your favorite comfy sweatpants at home while at a sleepover, and your friend lends you theirs (which could literally be the exact same pair) it still wouldn’t be the same as when you finally slipped back into your beloved sweatpants when you get home from a night without them. I need my people, and there’s just always a little bit of a void without them. Some days are better than others, but overall it’s just hard.
I know I seem like a Debbie Downer but I swear I’m not. It’s just the truth of what it’s like to move away from your family. If I was offered to move back to Pennsylvania tomorrow would I? The answer is no, and here is why. Have you ever been to upstate New York? It’s magical, summers on the lake are breathtaking. We have people who fly up in the fall to see the leaves change, and if you’re a fan of snow, well this is the place to be.
We don’t live in a rich area, the people here are real and they’re friendly. I feel like we are all part of a team just trying to make the best out of life together. When our poor puppy Olive got hit by a car two days before Christmas and I stood out in the road crying hysterically trying to figure out how I was going to get her off the road alone before the kids saw, the first car that came by stopped and the gentleman took care of it all for me while telling me it was going to be okay. You don’t get that where I’m from.
I’ll end this with my favorite story of all.
This winter I decided we were going to save space and money by only purchasing once kind of boot. No more of this rain boots, and then winter boots, no. We were going to get muck boots because they can be used for all seasons. Simple enough, I was told by my friend to go to Mary’s Barn Market because they have the best prices.
So here I was determined to get them ASAP as it was the first day of snow for the season. Here I was, with no boots and kids that neeeeeeded to get out and play in it. I picked the boys up from school and we went right to the barn market. Mary herself was there to help us and one by one she found boots for each of my three boys. Even offering some socks to the youngest who had somehow left the house with shoes but no socks.
So here we were, my three boys insisting on wearing their boots out of the store while my daughter was on my hip and the two gentlemen in the store were telling stories of growing up in a family of 12. While Mary was ringing us up and saying she grew up with a family of 6. I cherish anytime people look at my family and say something kind. Most of the time when were in the busier towns we get looked at like we’re freaks. The kids started to beg for the candy at eye level and while telling them no Mary asked if they could have apples instead. She went out and picked four for the kids and one for me for free. Totally unnecessary, but so totally appreciated.
She gave us our total and I pulled out my debit card. Then it happened— Mary casually said, “Oh, we don’t take cards here I’ll just give you my address and you can mail me a check”. I could have cried. Imagine having to tell three little boys so proud of wearing their new boots that are just like dads that they’d have to take them off until we got some money out of the bank the next day. I said thank you a million times and was on my way.
It’s moments like this that have stolen my heart little by little until I’ve become completely head over heels in love with where I live. I want my boys to grow up here, and become wonderful people just like my husband did, with wonderful memories like summers on the lake or taking care of farm animals just like he did.