My last day in Missoula was completely gorgeous. I decided sort of spur of the moment to drive home a day early, but I still had to get up and do a last minute trip to the field first. It was so worth it – I wouldn’t have gone up the hill behind my house that morning otherwise, and it was seriously gorgeous. It has been over a month since I left, and it’s just starting to sink in that it’s going to be awhile until I see mountains again.
I drove 16 hours straight from MIssoula to my grandparent’s in South Dakota. I really didn’t plan my itinerary very well at all, but it worked out in the end – I got to spend an entire day in South Dakota with my family.
We spent one day at the lake. I caught up with my sister as we paddled around on the paddle board, and visited with an aunt and uncle I haven’t seen in about 6 years. Then we were headed back to Indiana and my man. I got two days in Muncie before I came up to Valpo, started moving in, and started my job.
I’m living with my senior year college roomie (!!!) and working for a land trust, teaching ecology and resource management to elementary kids. It’s pretty great. We focus on underserved schools and the kids are sorta wild at times, but most of them also don’t get to spend any time outside, especially not in natural areas. Their parents are worried about bugs and dirt, and won’t buy bug spray or let them destroy some clothes now and then. It’s so sad to think about, since I spent most of my early days climbing trees, digging for worms, and pretending I was Pocahontas. If the kids just aren’t paying attention to my lessons, I’d rather give up and let them play and enjoy their day than get myself worked up about their behavior. I just want for kids to be able to be kids, and I think that’s lost in general, and especially with the kids we’re working with.
I can see myself staying here for awhile. I’m getting slightly homesick for the mountains right now, but I think I’m mostly missing my Steven. I missed him more in Montana when I really didn’t have the option of visiting him, but I could console myself with the views and how busy I was. I don’t have a lot I need to do when I get home now, except plan the wedding I guess, so I’m not appreciating my new home like I should. Because honestly, Northwest Indiana is pretty great. Yeah, it may be more urban than I like. Yeah, it may have a terrible heroin problem. But there are so many hidden treasures here, and obvious treasures like the Dunes and Lake Michigan too.
I just got a second job and am going to start volunteering when I can. Things are starting to fall into place, which will free me up to get more involved in things, plan the wedding, and work out with Steven how and when we’re moving in together up here. Things are moving pretty fast, which is sorta the way I like it, and is also sort of terrifying. All in all, life is good.
Home sweet home, Indiana.