One year ago,

we moved to Indiana.

I can hardly believe it’s been a year. There are tangible signs that it’s been that long: we’ve now lived in two Indiana houses (rounding out our moves to three in as many years), the baby I moved with is now a verbal, opinionated toddler, and we’re full-fledged into our second Indiana tomato season. But still — how does a year go by that fast?

I was working on some long-overdue blog housekeeping, addressing a black hole of posts in 2008-09 that have never been appropriately tagged or linked. In the process, I got distracted by revisiting some of the posts surrounding our move. It is good to be reminded of the things that welcomed us to the Midwest: the generosity of new friends, the abundance at the farmer’s market, and the eventual subsiding of my food identity crisis. I thought it might be time for a recap, if for no other reason to gather a few wits, which I try to do about once a year.

What I Still Miss About Georgia:

  • This goes without saying, but I still terribly miss my lower-Mason-Dixon friends. A few days’ visit doesn’t do much to quench that thirst, and my poor email record of late doesn’t adequately address the void. People have to do it all the time, but it’s never easy to move on from 7 years of same-town friendship.
  • The Grit. Oh, my goodness alive. I have craved that food more than any other in Athens. I had no idea how much of an addict I was — but the sad truth is, there is NO PLACE ON EARTH like it. No replacements for the food, the atmosphere, or the charmingly lackluster service. When we visited in April, I ate two meals there, and both times I was not unlike a heroine addict getting my fix. Will technology someday be at a place where I can get take-out, from Indiana?
  • Tomatoes. Indiana has an abundance, but I can’t help but think they aren’t as flavorful as the ones down South. Maybe tomatoes just like it really, really hot?
  • Rosemary. As in, the herb. It’s not a perennial here — merely an annual, since it won’t survive the cold, hard ground of winter. So I must let go my dream of growing rows of it in our backyard garden.
  • Soft water. Who knew it made such a difference? The water in Indy is off-the-charts hard, and it adversely effects everything from sensitive skin to laundry (I must now actually soak stained clothes for hours before washing).
  • October. As in, the month. We do have it in Indiana, but it’s much colder. Which really just means I must shift my mental calendar: September is the new October.
  • SEC football. If you’re not from the South, I can’t really explain it. It’s its own thing, irreplaceable. In the fall, everyone should be watching football on Saturdays, scheduling other activities around key games — doesn’t anyone here know this? (And no, I don’t mean Sunday — watching the Colts isn’t the same!)
  • The heat and humidity. Of course I jest — just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

What I Still Love About Indianapolis:

  • The relative lack of heat and humidity. Now, I know it’s been hot here lately, and several days have rivaled the steam-room quality of summer in Georgia. But still — midwest people — it’s not three months of it. So stop your whining.
  • September. See? I’m already making the mental switch.
  • Summer. I’ve never really enjoyed summer before, but I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed this one. Yes, there are as many mosquitoes here as in the deep South, but having an 80-degree day thrown into the mix in the middle of July is a gift I cannot ignore. My kids can play outside on most days, and I don’t mind occasionally weeding the garden. We sometimes don’t use our air-conditioner (but I’m still glad we have one).
  • The Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. There are things I wish they would change — such as, requiring farmers to sell only their own produce, and visually display their spray practices. But overall, the prices are fantastic — even for the farmer-grown, pesticide-free options.
  • Having lots of friends who love good wine. And even some amazing friends who don’t (gasp) — but I won’t promise not to try and influence them otherwise.
  • Beer. We still love and miss Terrapin (working on getting it distributed to Indiana!) — but there are a generous handful of microbreweries in Indianapolis, with more coming. Not to mention fun groups such as Girl’s Pint Out — bringing the love of craft beer to a relatively “new” market: women.
  • Apples. They’re coming in, baby. Bushels and bushels of local, heirloom apples.
  • Goose the Market. I am mildly obsessed, even while not able to go or fill a shopping bag as often as I’d like. But it’s my happy place — a place to go and be surrounded by superbly-crafted meats and cheeses, rare local produce, hard-to-find brews and ferments, and other people who are just as obsessed. When I walk into Goose, my seratonin levels rise. Which means I have medical reason to go more often, no?

And really, the lists for both could go on — which is a good thing, I think. It’s nice to miss things about Athens, since that means that our life for seven years was filled with good and unique things. But it is also a blessing to not wallow in missing those things — and to be able to counter those voids with new loves in our new home.

Moving is hard, no matter how you slice it. But if looking over the past 12 months has told me anything, it’s that there are blessings to be had in all places — and that some roads and destinations might surprise you (ahem… the midwest? Yes!).

But the real moral of the story? Always move somewhere where there’s good beer, and happiness will follow.

7 thoughts on “One year ago,

  1. SEC football. (sigh) September can’t get here soon enough.

    Are y’all even getting SEC coverage up there? Know that Lane Kiffen is being sued by the TN Titans? He is literally now the most hated man in Tennessee. However, Houston Nutt is determined to keep Kiffen from hogging all the bad press. He just signed a kid who was kicked off the Oregon team as QB. Nutt is getting SLAMMED in the national media — Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples WENT OFF on him yesterday on SI online.

    The cowbell has been approved by the SEC as an acceptable noisemaker at Scott Field, but ONLY during lulls in the game. If they get rung during a play, State WILL get penalized. So State has started this campaign, “Respect the Bell,” to try and convince attendees to put their bells down at appropriate times. I think we’ll get penalized to the point of a loss of down before the State fans really take it seriously.

    1. This is very long but totally on point — the classic “Differences Between College Football in the North and the South”

      Women’s Accessories:
      NORTH: ChapStick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket.
      SOUTH: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara, and a fifth of bourbon. Money not necessary – that’s what dates are for.

      NORTH: Expect their daughters to understand Sylvia Plath.
      SOUTH: Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.

      Campus Decor:
      NORTH: Statues of founding fathers.
      SOUTH: Statues of Heisman trophy winners.

      Homecoming Queen:
      NORTH: Also a physics major.
      SOUTH: Also Miss America.

      Getting Tickets:
      NORTH: 6 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and purchase tickets for $25 each.
      SOUTH: 6 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and put name on waiting list for tickets after paying $2500 and wait to see what seats you will get.

      Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game:
      NORTH: Students and teachers not sure they’re going to the game, because they have classes on Friday.
      SOUTH: Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don’t want to see the few hungover students that might actually make it to class.

      NORTH: An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.
      SOUTH: RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Thursday for the weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Wednesday.

      Game Day:
      NORTH: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
      SOUTH: Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting “Game Day Live” to get on camera and wave to the idiots up north who wonder why “Game Day Live” is never broadcast from their campus.

      NORTH: Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
      SOUTH: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance by “Dave Matthews’ Band,” who come over during breaks and ask for a hit off bottle of bourbon.

      Getting to the Stadium:
      NORTH: You ask “Where’s the stadium?” When you find it, you walk right in.
      SOUTH: When you’re near it, you’ll hear it. On game day it becomes the state’s second largest city.

      NORTH: Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.
      SOUTH: Drinks served in a plastic cup, with the home team’s mascot on it, filled less than half way with soda, to ensure enough room for bourbon.

      When National Anthem is Played:
      NORTH: Stands are less than half full, and less than half of them stand up.
      SOUTH: 100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.

      The Smell in the Air After the First Score:
      NORTH: Nothing changes.
      SOUTH: Fireworks, with a touch of bourbon.

      Commentary (Male):
      NORTH: “Nice play.”
      SOUTH: “Dammit, you slow sumbitch – tackle him and break his legs.”

      Commentary (Female):
      NORTH: “My, this certainly is a violent sport.”
      SOUTH: “Dammit, you slow sumbitch – tackle him and break his legs.”

      NORTH: Neutral and paid.
      SOUTH: Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.

      After the Game:
      NORTH: The stadium is empty way before the game ends.
      SOUTH: Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker. While somebody goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, planning begins for next week’s game

  2. You know SEC football has a certain aura about it when you don’t even really like a single SEC team but you still love everything it stands for. And miss it when you leave the South, too. I’ll never forget that first college football season after we moved back to Indy – we couldn’t figure out what people were doing if they weren’t flying their flags, grilling out, and watching college football.

    I’m so glad you ended up here, though. Cheers (raising a local brew)!

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