Sunday, August 14, 2011

Iowa Roundup

We made it! One year in Iowa, three more to go and then on to another adventure. Since I’ve always been a planner I never thought I would say I kinda like the idea of not knowing where we are going to be in three years. It's really exciting though!! It allows some mystery in our lives and it’s always fun to talk about where we could/would like to live for residency.

Living in the mid-west has been such a good experience for me. I’m definitely more of a homebody compared to Richard so we both were more worried about how I was going to react to all of the change. He is a total guy when it comes to being away from home. I get more homesick than him and I’m a girl = more emotional (it's true). I’ve had my fair share of secret sessions of crying in my closet, but for the most part living away from family and friends has been a great experience. I’ve had to go out of my comfort zone to make friends. For example, inviting every new couple I met at church over to our apartment the first week we moved in. Trust me…out of my comfort zone, but it was totally worth it. We have become close to all of those couples. Anyway, it’s been great here and we are excited to be able to explore Iowa for a few more years here. Below are just a few of the things we (Rich and I) love about Iowa.

1. The bike paths – We know, Iowa doesn’t have mountains and we’ve had to get used to that, but it does have incredible bike paths. They are wide, have tunnels that go under the busy streets, and are far off enough from the main road that the scenery is really pretty. They also run basically anywhere. We live about 15 minutes (freeway driving) outside of downtown and they have a bike path the runs all the way from our place to the heart of downtown.

2. The weather right now – It gets really humid and muggy here. Quite unbearable. Last week though it was in the 80’s & more than bearable. Lovin’ it.

3. The Farmer’s Market – I think/know I love this more than Richard. It’s so big and has a live band playing every Saturday. Just a fun event to do in the morning when it’s not too hot.

Mangoes on a stick - oh so yummy but oh so messy

4. We love the small town feel but it has all of the conviences (is that a word?) of a big city. Light traffic, great restaurants, lots of families, and numerous big corporations…

5. Green machine – Iowa is a beautiful state. It’s not all cornfields people. There are tons of trees and it stays so green here in the summer. Who knew?!

6. Spring and fall – We actually get to enjoy these seasons because they last longer than a week. In Utah it seemed to be snowing in June and the next day it would 100 degrees.

7. Living right next to the mall – lame, we know. It is sooooo nice though. With the mall comes a lot of good places to eat, a movie theater, and great people watching.

8. Culture – We’ve really enjoyed the different cultures in Iowa. I’m not claiming that Iowa is the biggest state for diversity, however it has been nice to get to know people of different religions, ethnicity and so forth. I’ve loved it!

9. Raccoon River Park/Lake – We cannot rant and rave enough about this park. It is the bomb! With a good-sized man made beach and warm water almost all year round, this is one of our favorite spots to go. It also has a 3.2-mile running path that loops around the lake & it is completely shaded. The playground is one of the best we’ve seen and we’ll definitely be taking future kids there.

Iowa finally started to feel like home, when a new couple moved here and I actually knew a few places to tell them to go and how to get there! It was a proud moment of mine.