Our intern, Andrew Lovgren, made the move to Missouri for the summer.
“You realize it’s pronounced ‘Missour-ah” right?”
That was the one of the most common reactions I received when telling friends and family that I would be leaving Iowa for the summer and living in Columbia.
Each time I just laughed and continued to look forward to life in a town with more than one stoplight (total for my hometown and college-town combined: 2). A long-time friend accompanied me on my journey down mid-May to move in, a seven-hour drive filled with uncertainty and excitement for what life would hold in what most would call a small city.
After the car had been unloaded, the inevitable, “Now what?” was posed, though with a slight shift from the norm. We had options. There were more restaurants within walking distance than there are in my home county, and the nearest shopping area wasn’t 40 minutes away, and there was more than one to choose from. In the two days that we were in Columbia before heading back north, there was no need to raise the question again.
One graduation weekend and week of editing later, I made the drive back down to my summer home, this time alone. As I continued south, the farmland was slowly replaced by trees and cut-away stone, signaling to me that I was getting close, just as it had in my youth when we would pile into the old red Windstar to visit my grandparents in Branson. (You may have seen my grandmother painting parasols at Silver Dollar City in the past.)
I moved the rest of my belongings in, accompanied by intense humidity and a constant, ear-splitting hum from the swarm of cicadas outside my apartment. Now, with almost three weeks under my belt, I’m beginning to learn what it’s like to live in a Missouri city. For those of you who don’t know what it’s like, take these tips that I’ve learned:
• Men, be sure have facial hair or you will stand out.
• It’s hot and humid and it will stay hot and humid. Get used to it.
• Doors have locks on them.
• Other cars are on the roads. It’s wise to look out for them.
• Riding a bike involves hills. Nothing is flat. Be prepared.
• Something’s always going on. There’s no excuse for boredom.
• The grocery story isn’t two blocks away. Don’t forget anything. Make a list.
I continue to find new things to do and new sights to see as I begin to adjust to life in a city. Who knows, perhaps by the end of the summer I’ll know what it’s like to really be a Missourian, though probably not how to pronounce it.