I meant to get this post up last week on the actual date that marked a year since we moved here. But like everything with this blog, it’s coming a few days late 🙂
Thursday, April 18 was a year since the day we drove into town. In a lot of ways it’s hard to believe a year has already gone by, but when I stop and think about it, living in North Carolina seems like it was a long time ago. It’s kind of one of those situations where the days are long, but the months are fast.
Over the year I’ve developed a very love hate relationship with South Dakota. There have been times, when the weather was amazing and we were out in the hills, high on fresh air and nature, that I really loved it here. Getting into Crossfit and finding a job I loved all came together to really give me a sense of having a life and a routine. It has felt more like home here than anywhere I’ve lived in the past 8+ years.
But there have been a few aspects of living here that always keep me from just completely falling in love. The most prevalent one, which claims that place simply because of it’s recent happenings, is the cold. We were spoiled because when we arrived last year, Rapid City was coming off of a very mild winter, and within a few weeks of being here we were enjoying nice warm temperatures hovering between the mid-70’s to the high 80’s. And those glorious temperatures lasted for a good six months or so. We had been warned profusely about “South Dakota” winters, and actually hoped to experience a real one while we were here. So the cold and occasional snows were fine for a while, but now it is almost May and we have had almost a foot of snow each week for the past three weeks. I know for a fact that I am not meant to live somewhere that is cold as much as it is hot. Florida is looking more and more enticing 🙂
The other issue I’ve had, and the one that reigns supreme, is the isolation. Rapid City, the Black Hills, and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. I believe that if anyone really knew what was here they would flock here. But no matter how great a place is, at least in my case, I will always need the ability to get away for the weekend. And while you can go to one of the neighboring towns, if you really want a change of scenery it requires at least a five hour drive. It has made me feel cut off from civilization, and given me the worst case of cabin fever I’ve ever experienced.
As far as life in the military goes, it’s been interesting how my involvement with the Air Force community here has changed. When we first moved I was infatuated with military life. It was all new to me and I respected it so much. I joined the spouses club, Husband and I went to the club for beers every Friday, and we frequented the fitness center, commissary and base exchange regularly. I’m not sure if it was the effect of the fence going up that separated our house from the base, or the natural progression from getting a job and joining the crossfit gym in town, but as time went on, and as I found a life outside of the base, the infatuation ended. I still love being a part of the military. I’m convinced and willing to commit, well for Husband to commit, to a career-long stint. I’m also excited to see the differences of this base and wherever we end up next. I think in some locations the base community is a lot closer, but here not so much, and that’s been ok for us.
Our relationship, as I’ve mentioned multiple times before, has grown by leaps and bounds. There’s a lot to be said for being isolated and forced to talk and work through whatever marriage throws at you. I would definitely say we are much stronger, and better spouses to each other after this past year.
The friend front has been a bit difficult. Both in making new friends, and in staying in touch with the old. Rapid City being a small town, and populated by quite a few older citizens has made it a little tough to find people we really click with. I have found a few girls that I have developed friendships with, but as a couple we haven’t really had much luck. The time difference and busy schedules has also made it hard to keep up with our friends from back home. We occasionally facetime when we find a chance, but for the most part the day-to-day connection isn’t really there anymore. That has been a hard adjustment. It’s not easy to hear and see your friends and family all hanging out together back home, but at the same time you start to realize that a few days back there isn’t enough, but yet you aren’t ready to go back for longer than that yet because life is calling you elsewhere. It may not be the best, but I’ve learned to deal with it by just not thinking too much about it. You can’t, I don’t think. Dwelling on what you are missing would just make it unbearable, and since there is nothing you can do to change it, you have to take it for what it is and keep moving on.
I think that has been the overwhelming lesson from this year and from joining the military. There isn’t time to dwell on what isn’t. We don’t have much choice in where we go. It’s up to us to make the most of wherever we end up. Sure we miss out on a lot at home, but we have and continue to gain SO much from this experience. It’s allowed us to do things we never would have done before. It’s provided us with a great level of stability (ironic given our nomadic state). And it’s exciting! We don’t necessarily like being told where to go and what to do, and I think it’s safe to say that if given the word I would be happy to move tomorrow, but there is always the promise of change. And for me that is a golden ticket. But all in all, we both agree that we will most definitely look back at South Dakota with fondness in our hearts.