The first time I visited this town, I was straight off the plane from Anchorage. It seemed abominably flat, dry, dusty, and treeless, with only scraggly bush. (Mesquite is to Texas as willow scrub is to Alaska, I guess.) It also got dark too darned fast, and let's not talk about the heat! Yeah, when my love asked me if I wanted to move here, I nearly crawled out of my skin.
Then I moved away from where the mountains plunge into the sea, down to Tennessee in the Lower 48. After a few years of the suburban outskirts of Nashville, growing steadily more allergic to the place, I end up moving to the very same town. Funny, the way it's changed.
Sure, it's flat, with those wide-open skies I miss from Alaska, and the air is crisp and clean. I can see for miles, unlike being lost in the humid haze - once again, severe clear means you can see things fifty, even eighty miles away. (In Tennessee, it seemed a severe clear day meant 30 mile visibility.)
It's winter, but the wind is a dry cold that doesn't slice straight through your layers and turn every joint and old injury into stiffness, pain, and swelling. No, here, a windbreaker will do where the same temperature in Tennessee would take several layers and still hurt. Even better, the only thing setting off my allergies here is the dust on the boxes and stuff we're unpacking!
The people are friendly, the food is great, and the sunrise is beautiful to watch with a cuppa.
If I'd learned to like this place the first time 'round, I would have missed some great friendships, and a really interesting job, and plenty of awesome memories. On the other hand, getting that east-of-the-Mississippi-River experience has let me appreciate the wonders here.
Still miss Alaska. Don't miss Alaskan winter yet!