Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not From Here

My husband and I have moved around a fair amount for his job. Since we married, we've lived in Western Canada, Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, and now we're in Kentucky (where we have our first farm.) It's funny for us, as when people ask us where we're from, it's not an easy question. Neither of us is from where we live now, or even where we've lived as a couple. I think I counted once and since I went away to college, I've moved something like 17 times. So DH and I often refer to ourselves as NFH (Not From Here.)

When you live in a place all your life, you make connections that run deep and wide. They're wonderful, you have family all around you, always someone you can call in a pinch to babysit or help with a project around the house, things like that. But when you move around a fair amount (it's not quite as bad as being in the Army), you do learn to be independent, and that's not such a bad thing. When we were a new couple with little babies, we couldn't call our moms and ask for help babysitting, they were at least 1,000 miles away! We had to learn to make friends, and get along with people of all sorts of cultures and backgrounds, and our kids have too, which I think is a good thing.

Where we live now, people know I'm not from here as soon as I open my mouth. I do not speak like my neighbors (although I'm learning) and they are reminded of it any time we talk together. To them, I'm the one with the accent (but to me, they have the accent!) But we always find a common ground of one sort or another, and often it's something to do with farming. Our community is primarily farmland, although the big city up the pike is encroaching a bit. Many people in this area still set tobacco, even though it has been deregulated as a crop. And there are tons of horses in our area - my husband once estimated he saw as many as 50 horses in one long horseback ride down our rural road.

So there's always something I can chat with my neighbors about if I find myself running out of conversation. Things like, how the hay crop is going to turn out this year, if many of the local varmits are showing up in their barns, whether we're going to get some good corn this year, or have another year of drought. Some things are great levelers, and living in the country we are so much more affected by the weather that we are much more conscious of it, all the time. And being able to find something in common with our neighbors that way, makes the fact that we're NFH just that much less obvious, if only for a little while.

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