I love traveling. I’ve spent a few months living in both Australia and England and have made trips to Africa, Europe and Central America as well as multiple cross-country American vacations. I am energized by experiencing new cultures, seeing natural beauty, encountering native wild animals. I always thought I’d be the woman who lived in Any-Country-That-Is-Not-America. Other people might have prayed, “Anywhere but Africa,” but my prayer was, “Anywhere but rural, upstate New York”!
That's not how my life has turned out.
I grew up in rural, upstate New York. I went to college in rural, upstate New York. My husband went to graduate school in rural, upstate New York, and now we currently live in rural, upstate New York.
That’s rural, upstate New York for the win!
A few Saturdays ago, I spent 10 hours writing the final papers for my summer school classes. By the end of the day, I was excited to be done but exhausted and not at all interested in making dinner. So the logical conclusion: go out to eat! My husband, kids and I piled into the car and drove to our favorite Indian restaurant with cozy-yet-family-friendly ambiance, ordered our favorite meals and had a lovely dinner.
Except nope, that’s not what happened.
We piled into the car and drove to…Subway. Subway is one of two restaurants in our town. We ordered deli meat and vegetables on bread and one bag of chips to share. We sat in a dingy booth. Someone accidentally dumped all of the chips on the floor. And then that Someone got very, very grumpy.
This is when my husband reminded me that a friend had just brought over a table saw for us to borrow. And then another friend and his son drove by and waved to us on their way somewhere. And a neighbor offered us some newly-downed trees for firewood. And another neighbor-friend offered to watch my kids for free so I could wrap up my summer classes.
Our corner of rural, upstate New York does not excel when it comes to restaurant options. Or cultural diversity, or availability of goods and services. But we know how to do community, and that goes a long way towards keeping me content here, even if it means eating celebratory deli-meat-and-bread instead of tandoori chicken, malai kaftan and mango lassi.