What Do You Like Best/Least About Where You Live?

Da Hype 1

I have lived in a city outside of Nashville for almost 9 years now. I call it a city and not a town because I have been corrected by locals on numerous occasions in regards to how to categorize it. This “city,” while in the same area code as Nashville, boasts of being independent from Nashville in the ways in which its inhabitants live and function. True, I do not have to leave this city to go shopping or for entertainment. There are always plenty of events going on in and around the city. Yet, I still struggle with calling it a “city;” a major metropolis, it is not. As a friend once said about it in comparison to Washington, D.C., “everything I want and need can be found in _____,” the city where I live.

I’m not certain that I can say the same.

Anyway, the best/worst aspect about where I live is in the landscape.

Cotton Fields

Cotton Fields located within a mile from my house

On the one hand, I absolutely love the landscape. If I go in any direction outside of the city, I am surrounded by rolling hills. And, in the fall, I can find cotton fields within a mile of my home. The cotton fields evoke conflicting emotions: I find the rows and rows of cotton to be beautiful, and at the same time it is a reminder of a time before when black people toiled in those fields.

The worst aspect about living in the Nashville metropolitan area is that it is located in a

The Atlantic Ocean, Hilton Head, SC

The Atlantic Ocean, Hilton Head, SC

land-locked state. I grew up on the East Coast and visited the ocean often. When I met my husband, we made trips to VA Beach, Miami Beach, and the beaches in South Carolina every summer. Each time I go to the ocean, I take all of my worries and I throw them in the ocean.

Da Realist 1

Around the same time that I became an Iowa resident two years ago, Stephen G. Bloom, a journalism professor from the University of Iowa, published an article in The Atlantic,Observations From 20 Years of Iowa Life.” He discussed the Iowa Caucuses  and the state’s impact on electing a president. He also shared his impressions of life in Iowa, many of which were quite unflattering. Even though I had not been in Iowa very long, I thought much of his criticism was unfair. Not to worry though, he was roundly excoriated for his article and the inaccuracies therein.

Being from the rural South, I have a completely different perspective than Bloom, a New Jersey native who went to college at UC Berkeley. Farm life and “ruralness” are not strange or new to me. For me, the worst thing about living here in Iowa isn’t so much about the state as it is the distance from friends and family. I am 10 hours away from my best friend and more than 13 hours away from my mother, so taking a drive to visit them is “more than a notion.”

I felt out of place when I moved here, but at the same time, the people seemed awfully

Water cooler on the walking trail.

Water cooler on the walking trail.

familiar. They reminded me of Southerners–open, very friendly, and often chatty. Unsolicited, my downstairs neighbor bakes bread and cupcakes for me. As I take my walks, people in cars often wave as if they know me. A few months ago, I tweeted this picture. Someone had set up a cooler near the walking trail for people to get a drink of water. Who does that? It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, but it’s the first time I took a picture. Yes, friendly people are the best thing about Iowa.