Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rural living.

Part of this adventure is not only getting used to a different type of weather and starting a new job, but also coping with rural living. Decorah has around 8,000 people - and I've been told it seems rather big for it's size.There are plenty of places to eat and shop downtown, but no matter - this is definetly the smallest town I've lived in, and so far it's not bad.

But there are great differences, and they've come at me in unexpected ways. I'll give you a sample:
-I drove to Calmar today to look at a house. It was a very nice house in a very small community only ten miles from Decorah, about a 25 minute drive. But after living here only a week and a half, that seems like so far away.
- You don't recycle glass here. There's not much that can be done with it, there's no market for it, so you just reuse it or toss it out.
- Places close early. Walmart is open 24 hours, and Walmart has everything - which I guess is a bonus for someone who is used to late hours and not having to cram shopping in between the end of work and the start of dinner.
- Phone coverage sucks. Because I'm off of AT&T's network, I can only use 24MB of my unlimited data before they get mad - so in actuality, using data on my phone is no longer an option.
- I don't know if this is rural living or a Midwestern thing, but they do not believe in toilet seat covers here.

I've found that people call each other more often than email, and smart phones are hard to come by anyway. So not only does it seem like rural life disconnects me from my previous long hours of internet life, but from digital connections that seemed so meaningful before. Maybe this is why Decorah seems to have so much more of a community about itself - you talk to people, connect on the phone, walk to the store to get what you need instead of looking up the information online. And maybe this will be good for me - a kind of forceful rejection of my previous, computer loving ways in favor of more people-connected activities that create communities. Or more reading, which is a solitary venture sure - but I can always read in a coffee shop or library where other people are around, and I can always read other people's books to talk about with later.

One last note before I go to bed (bed time seems to be getting earlier and earlier, oddly enough): everyone talks about the weather. And in that spirit, it's been warm enough that it's raining - not snowing - and all the snow that was here before melted. I'm going to try to not slip on all the puddles when they ice over tomorrow.

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