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When I was in high school, I wanted out of Kansas. I applied to schools in Indiana, Ohio and Missouri. It's not that I wanted to get away from anyone or anything in particular, I just wanted to experience somewhere different. My other requirement was this "somewhere different" needed to award me with plenty of scholarship money so my parents wouldn't feel the burden of out-of-state tuition. My mom, being the smart woman she is, made me choose one in-state institution to apply for as a back-up plan. In keeping with my stubborn redhead ways, I chose the school none of my eleven best friends picked, and which I knew very little about except it was the furthest state university from home.
Over the course of my last year of high school, for one reason or another (read: didn't get accepted to ND and didn't get enough $$ for the rest) my back-up plan was starting to look more and more like the front runner. By the time August 2004 rolled around, I was just excited for college and a whole new experience, even if it was in Kansas.
Fast forward four and a half years to graduation. I could have stayed in that little Kansas town at least another semester. Even now, I still can't get enough of Manhattan. But with the imminence of finding a full-time job, I decided it was time to plan to leave Kansas again.
I interviewed for jobs in Philly, had dreams of living in Chicago, and seriously considered moving to LA to be an assistant for some D-list celeb. I got an offer from the Philadelphia company, but something in my gut (and lack of somethings in my bank account) said I should stay home for a year and save up to move to a fabulous big city.
Now, the present. Four years after I decided to stay in the Midwest for no longer than a year, I'm still here. And absolutely loving it. If you'd told me when I graduated high school I'd still be living in the Kansas City metro at 26, I would have been disappointed. Or thought something unfortunate must have happened that made me stay. But really, I adore being close to my family. Many friends have moved away, but some are already making their way back, and I love visiting those who are making names for themselves in cities far away. And as I was forming another getaway-from-Kansas plan in 2009, I met a boy.
I've learned so much about this city I've lived in most my life. There's way more than the 'burbs, the barbecue and the beach-lessness. It's artsy, exciting and filled with some wonderful people. Crazy how you can fall in love with something you thought you knew so well.
What sparked this essay of a post? One of my favorite people is coming back to visit Kansas this weekend, and I get to see her tonight. Can't wait!