Today’s post is part 2 of my “spring is not being what I expected and it’s ticking me off” (pun intended) post last week.I promised that after my complaining I would let you in on my pep talk so here goes.
Living in Western North Dakota is foreign, I might even go so far as to call it exotic, it is out of my realm of familiar which means that it can be uncomfortable.
I’ve spent some time in Dickinson (1.5 hrs away) and have been surprised at people’s response when they find out I live in Watford. They say things like, I’ve lived here my entire life and have never been up there and Whoa really? or I’m sorry or You are really careful not to talk to anyone you don’t know right? A woman in her 70’s who works at the Dickinson McDonald’s said to me, I would never go there if I didn’t have to, its too desolate and dangerous. These are people living a short drive from Watford. See what a bad rap Watford has? I think that these examples do give a point of reference to how foreign Watford City is, even to North Dakotans. It really is viewed as the wild west was.
That being said, living is not easy here. Or I guess I should say, not convenient. By not convenient I mean, not many stores to run to, no places to shop shop. No where to go and waste time. No museums or indoor activity places. I’ve been trying to get my hair cut for a month, the two places in town are booked up so far in advance and when I get there I’m hurried through while 5 people wait for my chair.
I’m learning that I need to strip down my expectations. Imagining that my summer will be like my summers past is flawed thinking and will not get me far.
I was talking to a mama who has lived here for over 6 years and she was telling me about a woman who moved here unable to adapt. This woman was used to buying all organic foods, home schooled as a part of a big co-op with lots of museums and activites to take her kids to. She was used to her church functioning in a certain way that the branch here didn’t live up to. She was used to a big home with lots of space. This woman woke up every day frustrated and confused. Searching to get this place to fit into her life style, angry and missing her life back home. Do you know what happened to her? She didn’t last. She was miserable while she was here and left the minute she could.
I do not want to be like this woman. From an outsiders point of view it is easy to say to her, get over yourself, right? But from an insiders point of view I think that mentality is really easy to have though, and one I have let creep in. It takes effort to let go of your norm and embrace the new.
Ok, I am never embracing the ticks. But I can embrace lots of the norms of life here. I walk slower now, I greet the people who walk past me. I am less afraid of new people, if I see someone who seems interesting I just strike up a conversation. When I am bored or upset I don’t run to the store to spend money, but I call a friend or sit down to write. I’m less scared of/ judgmental of a beardy guy in dirty work clothes.
Hiking and camping like I am used to is not going to happen this summer. But what is available to me? A different kind of hiking and camping. People here fish. There is a little cowboy town south of us that everyone raves about as a summer activity. There is a pool that will be totally overrun with people but my friends tell me it is the place to be on hot days. The town has several events, the fair and rib fest.
I need to start wearing my hair up every day so that I am not mad, every time I leave the house, that it is whipping me in the face from the wind. That seems simple right? Why be mad, just adapt.
Just adapt – easier said than done. It requires one to let go. It requires one to accept that a new or different way is just as valuable as the way you’ve always done or been.
I’ve always liked this saying, “Bloom Where You Are Planted’. My aunt had it on a calendar when I was a kid and I remember always looking at it when I went to her house.
When I was 19 years old I went to spend some months over in Tanzania, East Africa. When I arrived in my little village there was no internet, no grocery stores, hardly an electronics, the houses were not air tight, the floors dirt, the people had one or two outfits only. I arrived with pity, I’m sorry to say, thinking that these beautiful people must be miserable. I soon realized that people they were just as happy or unhappy as the people at home. They didn’t get up everyday sad at what they didn’t have. They were fun and funny and beautiful and so full of life. In fact, they felt sad for me that I had grown up without some things that are so integral to their culture. It was a great life lesson for me.
Bloom Where You Are Planted. Here that means hanging out at garage bbq’s and occasionally picking ticks off my child. I will still go outside, with my hair up. It means sitting up at Larsen’s bar with my favorite ladies sipping coffee on Thursday mornings. It means having funny things to write in my blog about. It means talking a friend into using a whole day to travel to a store with me for some particular thing that I need. It means embracing the smaller space and high rent and having shared experiences to talk to others about. There is a feeling that we are all in this together, as the city catches up with the people. It is funny and weird.
The wind is not going to stop, the dust will cover everything no matter the season I’m realizing. It’s ok. I will still complain to my husband when something drives me crazy and I will still have hard days, as I would living anywhere.
I am a work in progress but I am trying my very best to bloom in Watford City soil.