{ Tuesday, May 17, 2005 }

One Year

Can anyone really believe that I have lived for a whole year in Arizona? It's totally true. I arrived in Phoenix late at night on May 14, 2004. I started my job on May 17, 2004.

I said I would give it a year before I ran away back home to Kentucky.

How am I doing?

The most frustrating thing about moving here initially was the part where I got lost everywhere I went, for hours on end. Well, I got lost on the way to the dentist this morning. And less than ten days ago, I was driving home from work when I suddenly found myself in the airport. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that my normal commute home does not involve a detour through Sky Harbor International Airport.

This didn't used to happen to me in Cincinnati or anywhere in Kentucky. Okay, I'm totally lying about Cincinnati. I used to date this guy who was in this fraternity at UC, and it took me easily two months to learn to get to their house from my mother's. It routinely took me more than 90 minutes to make the 10 minute drive from his place home. Months were spent learning to remember "you have to turn right at Auburn."

I'd lived in Cincinnati for seventeen years at that point. And it's not like my mother hadn't gone to UC and didn't take us to places in Clifton, because she totally did all the time. We routinely went to stores on that same street. I'm just bad with directions.

I have to say that I only accidentally ended up at the airport in Cincinnati, like, tops twice. What? It's near the summer camp where I worked, and I am very prone to hopping off the beaten path... and taking the wrong exit... so, maybe four or five times.

Alright, so, getting lost will happen to me anywhere.

In all seriousness, I must mention at least twice a day about how I miss trees and grass and hills. The geography is really hard.

I appreciate a nice canyon and I have learned all about riparian habitats and what can live in the desert. I totally got weepy and all but jumped up and down when we saw a quail in Steady's parents' driveway. You should hear me react to a wild rabbit (you can't. Only dogs can hear that.)

The other thing about the environment that's hard? I mean, besides the sweltering heat that's about to descend back on us. It's the pollution. The air here is disgusting and when it rains, the rain is dirty. As in, will leave grainy nastiness on your car.

When I was at Shelly's Derby Party, we were like little ambassadors for Kentucky Pride. People kept making jokes like "Do you work for the Kentucky tourism board?" (Answer: "No, we're just from Kentucky. It's that friendly. Chock full of Unbridled Spirit, really.") and mentioning that they know nothing of their home state's trivia.

Shelly and I talked about the Derby and Shakertown and Rabbit Hash and Bluegrass and mint juleps and My Old Kentucky Home and the monestary and Ale 8 and "most running water of any state" and goldenrod and bourbon and the Fiddle Fest and how many famous people who were born in Kentucky can you name? (Answer: an awfully lot between us)

There's a lot to miss without even counting my friends and family.

But I'm still here. I haven't turned tail and run home. And this place is growing on me. I can see why it's a better place to be from than to live in (and I feel precisely the opposite way about Lexington KY), but it's starting to grow on me a little bit. Like a fungus, really.

I've accepted that I can't drink water from the tap, but that I can go swimming outside in the middle of "winter". The nature is pretty bleak, but the landscape architects are clearly working really hard.

One of the major highlights of the year was having Emma here for a month. Her enthusiasm really helped me to go and see things and do stuff and get to know Arizona a bit more. Obviously, Steady has played a huge part in my finally adjusting to this place just a little bit. I feel pathetic saying that, like my happiness is dependent on someone else, but it's true. The cat is not great company: he bites.

I'd like to tell you that all my time hanging out alone and being forced to experience new things has made me a better person, but I'm not really to a point where I can tell about that yet. I still seem to be as neurotic as I ever was. I did live a hundred or so miles from home before I moved, so it's not like I've really had to become much more independent or anything.

Ask me about that again in a longer time and I might have a better answer.

And big thanks to all my friends inside the computer and the ones who went inside the computer for me. Y'all kept me sane. I think I would have given up and moved home months ago if I didn't have you to chat with me and play board games with me while I drink and pretend like it's a real party where I can hit you when you take my triple letter score.

So, I've lived here for a year. I really can't hardly believe it. It's gone really fast. I miss Kentucky and my old life fiercely everyday; I can't look at a "mountain" without thinking about how much nicer a rolling green hill with a nice fence would be in that spot, but, really, I think I have come a long way.

posted by mary ann 11:12 PM