I wrote this a year and a half ago and posted it in my Ye Olde LiveJournal. My honey reminded me of it this morning and I think that it's worth a repost...if for nothing else, an extra place to store it. Enjoy.
I was born and raised in the suburbs, and it's that precise environment from which I'd like to escape. I used to think that I wanted to live in the wilds of Montana (well, I thought that in 4th grade when I had to write a State biography) or along the water in East-Central Virginia. Fleeting dreams of log cabins, gardens, corn stalks and tractors...all of the things I shared with my grandfather when I was a kid.
As I grew older, and by "older" I mean "teenaged", I was definitely more keen on living an urban lifestyle. I went to Chicago my senior year of high school for a journalism conference, and I was hell bent on finding some chic loft in the heart of downtown, meeting my friends for cosmos and wearing really cool urban shoes with velcro, straps everywhichway, and incredibly funky colors. A few months later I left for Shepherd College, in West Virginia. While the town itself is not rural, the area in which the college is situated is. VERY. I loved the idea of open fields again, but living in close proximity to a town where everybody knew my name. I worked at the local flower shop and enjoyed becoming a local, even though I was still a student (and students in Shepherdstown aren't well loved by the locals). In many ways I felt at peace and settled there, even though I only stayed a year.
A few years later I moved to Basel, Switzerland. Basel is a European city but, even still, it's small. The streets were entirely navigable by foot, and that was the preferred mode of transportation. Foot, bicycles, or the tram system. I loved Basel. I still do, with every beat of my heart (shush, Taylor Dayne)! But obviously, unless I marry some rich (male) Swiss banker, or find a job in the pharmaceutical industry, there's no real praticality in holding onto the dream that I'll one day be living in Switzerland.
So my goal in life is to find somewhere in America that is LIKE Basel and Shepherdstown, something on the crossroads of rural and urban, and something most certainly NOT suburban. And when I get there, I'll be able to fulfill my (almost) lifelong dream of owning a bookstore...something focused on, and driven by, the local community. Ideally I'd love to work in a college town. I'd host craft hours, book groups and TONS of children's storytimes (my field of expertise, actually). I'd have a huge collection of children's books to match, as well as book swaps and even a building with a free library out back. I'd live in some cute house situated on the outskirts of town, and I'd ride my bike (or aqua Vespa) into town daily. And now and then I'd just walk into work, so I could bring my dog with me. I'd stop at the flower shop and get a little bouquet to put at the check-out counter. I'd even have a small coffee bar, and I'd put little bouquets on the tables there too. I'd have big fluffy couches and chairs situated throughout the store, where people could nest and read. I'd have the local bakery sell their treats to my customers, and local artists could put their work up all over the walls. I'd have a wall to wall metal sheet in the kid's area, where people could play with magnetic poetry. And no one would have to wear a name tag, because everyone would know our names! Yes, that's my dream.
I've also done a lot of thinking about the place I'd call home. Three requirements...I'd want an attic-ish space with lots of nooks for reading and crafting; a hammock in the backyard; and an almost-wraparound porch. I imagine my house in the northeast somewhere, relatively close to water. I'd have big, generous flower pots on the front steps, and lush landscaping everywhere else. My kitchen would have mostly red things in it, and a big bowl in the center of my butcher block island would always be filled with lemons and limes. My bathroom would look and feel like a spa, with thick lush bathrobes, bathmats and towels and a huge huge shower with jets that shoot in every direction. My bedroom would be completely comfort oriented too...lots of pillows, a thick fluffy mattress and comforter. There'd be a big plush reading chair in the corner, and really cute embroidered (with their names) dog beds at the end of the bed. There would be no such thing as a "room you can't touch"...every room would serve a purpose for daily use. It would just be warm and full of love.
If you've seen The Family Stone, you'll understand what I mean when I say that I want to grow old in a house and have family circulate in and out of it for all eternity. I believe in roots. I know that this wanderlust that's been itching at me for years will fade and I'll want to find somewhere to call home. My heart was shaken quite a bit when my parents moved to Arizona three years ago...going "home" doesn't feel like home. So my quest is not to find somewhere suitable for the next few years, but somewhere that I can plant myself and my life and feel whole and complete forever.