Going to the Old Town Tavern or the newly renovated Shade's (where my 76 year old grandmother was the very first cook in the kitchen oh so many years ago) is like going to a high school reunion with 4 graduating classes before and after me. We got drunk together then and we get drunk together now. Yeah.
Anyway, it was a small town and my parents bought a house there when I was 3-ish - right in the middle of downtown, too - if 2 streets and 13 houses counts as a downtown. My graduating class consisted of 139 graduates, the largest there ever was. I'm friends with (probably) each and every one of those 139 graduates on Facebook. I guess Facebook is a small town, too?
The town has a WalMart now - so not so small anymore.
When I met The X, who owned a coffee shop in said small town, we moved to the big city - Columbus, Ohio. I was then, and may be forever, a big (ish) city girl. I see the advantages to the city life. You find your neighborhood - your local spots and within that city becomes your very own - wait for it - small town.
I frequented the same bars every night, I worked in the local restaurants, I got soup-nazi'd from the local dry-cleaners. I walked the brick streets night after night with my tiny little dog that all the locals knew by name. The Starbucks had my 'iced quadruple non-fat sugar free caramel macchiato' made before I even ordered it. I loved my small town big city where everyone knew my name and no one really knew me at all.
But back to where I grew up. I'm not sure I realized how much I missed that tiny country town until I recently moved to Colorado Springs. Which is a fairly medium sized city with a very small town feel.
I find myself constantly comparing it to where I grew up and to Columbus, where I lived for the past 8 years. I miss seeing someone I know almost everywhere I go. I miss the 20 minute drive to my parents house that I made (probably) way too often. I miss my parents and my brothers and my friends. I miss knowing my way around and being able to give directions to anywhere within a 40 mile radius. I miss the international airport - not that I travel internationally but the option is nice, anyhow.
I don't miss the Midwest weather. I don't miss the ridiculous football fans and I don't miss the "STOP OBAMA" signs. I don't miss having nowhere new to discover.
Being in a new city suits me just fine and I can chat up and make friends with anyone. Really, anyone. And I'm really not so bad with directions and I'm getting around without getting lost. I believe that as life starts to become more and more familiar I will miss Ohio less. I wonder if I romanticize my life in Ohio because I haven't yet settled in here or if I will always have the feeling that Ohio is my only real 'home'.
I'm searching for little pearls of wisdom from those of you who have moved away from 'home' and haven't been back. When did you leave and why? What did or do you miss? And mostly, does your current city feel more like home now than your hometown did?