Now that I’ve had time to process our surroundings- I wanted to share a bit more. The streets and neighborhood we are living in are picturesque. Trees, trees and more trees. The streets are tiny- in fact when you are driving down them- if you see another car coming at you from the opposite side, you have to make a decision to either go for it or pull over. The houses are all brick and look like they are out of a Better Homes and Gardens issue. At the end of our block there is a roundabout island of greenery with a cute picnic bench and table to just sit in and relax. Then you cross this bridge to take you downtown. We are all enjoying exploring the neighborhood with family walks in the evenings. The cicadas are loud and buzz all day long but really begin their song around 6/7 in the evening. It reminds me of my travels to Malaysia and Singapore- a long, long time ago, like a jungle. We saw our first fireflies. They just randomly light up as they fly around. The kids had a great time chasing them and trying to figure out where they would pop up next. There are a million and one bugs that I have never seen before in all these random places throughout the house. There’s this one bug that jumps I haven’t quite figured out if it’s a tick, a flea, a cricket or roach of some sort. All I know is I tried to vacuum it up and it jumped high! We found this beautiful yellow caterpillar in the grass outside the pool club and thought it simply lovely.
Here’s the twilight zone strange part. I don’t see anyone come in or out of homes. I haven’t seen any neighbors except for the first night one week ago. Barb is next door and sweet as can be- a retired older woman. A few doors down is a very nice family with two daughters, ages 4 and 7. Those are the only people I’ve seen- one week ago. There are some random folks walking around but I can count them on my hand. It’s all kind of creepy. Where the heck is everyone? And more importantly where is that pie that everyone back home claimed I was going to get when moving here? I’m still waiting. The days are ticking by. Tick tock, tick tock.
The weather continues to be hot and humid. In an effort to stay sane, we joined the town’s Aquatic Center and get this- a full season membership for the entire family is a mere $250! I have a few observations on the mom crowd and family dynamics here but I will reserve them as it has only been a few days. I’m going to continue to observe. No one had spoken to us or been friendly in the least bit until last night, during the last hour of the day. A very kind woman who introduced herself as Anna commented to me- I just wanted to tell you how very sweet all of your children are. What are their ages? Well, hallelujah- thank you God! For sending me this woman who had a small bit of kindness and for having her express that to me. Thank you- that’s all I needed- JUST one kind person in 2 days. Turns out her and her husband and two small children live in Kansas where they live throughout the school year as they are both pursuing graduate degrees but they come home to St. Louis for the summer because this is where she grew up and get this- “Kansas is a bit too conservative for us and St. Louis is a bit more open- we like that. “ My jaw almost hit the ground. What? Guess I’m not headed to Kansas any time soon. Hope to see more of Anna during what’s left of the summer. Thank you Anna.
I also met a Mexican and it only took 6 days! Don’t laugh. This is so strange to me. No Mexicans? No Latinos? I strolled up to the pool grill and lo and behold- a Mexican and as soon as he saw me- he shook his head in acknowledgement and said “Hola!” I said- really- “Eres Mexicano?” and he said “Si.” Then he showed me his red bell pepper where he had carved “Mexico.” Finally. We traded stories and he told me his name is Alberto and of course he hooked us up with some free food. The boys were cracking up.
I’ve been reading the independent local newspapers and doing research on places that I think I may find more like-minded folks. So far I’ve signed up for newsletters to PuraVegan– a vegan cafe that also provides health/nutrition and yoga classes at prices that are for donation only and YogaSource– a local yoga studio. I am also looking into signing us up for a CSA- community supported agriculture- so that we might be able to find a community around gardening organic fruits and veggies and get some great produce too. This morning we were going to check out a local farmer’s market but woke up too late. Next week for sure. Last but not least- I am going to drag everyone to Left Bank Books– a local independent bookstore that appears to be like one of my most favorite places on earth- Vroman’s Bookstore. Oh- how I miss thee Vroman’s. Left Banks holds so much promise for me- a gathering place for like-minded, smart, curious and passionate individuals. This morning they were holding a book reading for a woman who wrote a book about Ferguson. Creating art and building community in an effort to help heal a community that is so broken. There is so much to be done in that space. If this is the type of community Left Banks is about then that’s where I need to be. Where my family needs to be. I hope it is what I’m building it up to be in my mind. Thank you Jen Gold for researching independent bookstores in St. Louis for me. How I miss thee too.
Signing off for the time being! Love and miss every one of you.