It has been a week since I moved to the country. This is my first time living in the country and it has already been interesting.
I did live in rural India where there wasn’t much of anything I was used to but nonetheless there were a lot of people around since the population in India is pretty high. So it’s not my first time living in a completely different place that I’m used to but I am certainly in a situation not like any I’ve experienced before.
I have lived in different parts of the US for about 4 years, but I have only been in the Pacific Northwest for 8 months (Portland), and now we moved about an hour from Portland in the middle of nowhere, Oregon. The population in this town was 294 as of 2010.
My husband and I moved to a historical former school that our friends bought and have plans to preserve, restore and remodel. You can read more about the place.
Life feels different now but a lot of it is hard to describe because some of the differences are subtle: the way people do things, the sense of community, the vast and different kinds of nature, the mindset of people… Within a short amount of time I can already see the subtle but substantial difference between people and places from the city and the country. I can’t wait to learn and experience more.
4 New Things I’ve Experienced Since Living In the Country:
1. I am not sure why but I’ve felt like I stand out everywhere I go (restaurant, McDonalds, store…); I feel like people stare at me whenever I walk into these places. I don’t know if it is because of how I dress or because even though I could pass as a white American I am not one and maybe they can see it, or maybe it’s because everyone knows each other and they don’t know me. I don’t mind it, but it is definitely something I noticed.
2. It is amazing the difference between the feel of the energy in the city and in the country. The energy difference is obvious to the eyes since there is less of everything here, but it is also noticeable as a feeling. Going from Portland to Deer Island you can feel the change from the lively, busy city people to the more chilled/less in a hurry/living simpler lives people.
3. It is astounding all the different kinds of nature found within a short distance to each other. This might be more of an Oregon state characteristic rather than a “country” characteristic, but I think it might be both. I have seen a river, a beach, a stock ranch, mountains, a big park, and a lake all found within 15 miles.
4. The sense of community. Two examples:
a. I learned that a friend of D (our friend who bought the house) has kittens and she was preparing them to give them to the humane society. J, the other one of our friends who bought the house, set us up to talk about the possibility of me getting one of the kittens. The only downside is that I’ll have to wait about 3 more weeks since they’re 2-3 weeks old, but after talking to her it sounds like a done deal! She even knows a vet that will give me a discount for spaying/neutering. So exciting. We had to give away our two kitties last summer and I still miss them badly. I’ve only been living here for a week and I already got a kitten deal. A pet would come in especially perfect now that my husband recently got a job that requires him to commute and be gone all day.
b. Randomly, while I was cooking, I was asked to come up and and make a girl’s ballet bun. The “kitten woman’s” mother arrived with her 7 year old granddaughter who had a dance dress rehearsal that evening and they needed someone to put her hair in a ballet bun. The grandmother had an arm injury, the mother sucks at hair (according to them), and the mother’s sister (a hairstylist) was really busy. I happened to be here and I happen to be a former ballerina, but I had never done someone else’s bun and my buns were never perfect. But I gave it a shot, it seemed like I was their last resort and it was a success. I was proud of myself because ballet buns are not easy and it even came out stylish I thought. Stop-in bun service would never happen in the city.
So I’m already having my little country adventures.
Of course it has its downsides.
I love dining out in nice non-chain restaurants where they cook from all local and fresh ingredients and the flavors are amazing and the desserts are out of this world, I love going out to museums and the movie theater, I love coffee shops and markets… I didn’t used to splurge on these things too often anyway, but it’s a bit sad not to have these things nearby.
I have to adjust to and embrace the country life and the outdoors and learn new skills and get involved with the community as well as learn to live an even simpler life, something I always strive for. I don’t like change, but I adapt really well to it, it is one of my personality paradoxes.
Another downside was getting distracted while cooking. Remember the kitten story? Well, that caused me to burn my quinoa and ruin a small non-stick saucepan. I haven’t burnt something in the kitchen in a long while, but I was called upstairs while I had quinoa getting ready to boil on the stove, and while upstairs I got caught up on the possibility of a kitten companion, completely forgot about the stove and came back to a burnt smell in the kitchen.
I learned quickly however, because when I started a second batch of quinoa I got another call to go upstairs and this time I turned the stove off before I left.