Tag Archives: St. Louis

Growing Up and Going Home

WE MADE IT.

It’s officially been a week in our new home, and I could not be happier.

Moving to St. Louis has been a dream–my dream, one that Ben has amazingly, wonderfully, unselfishly adopted as his own. It’s been the type of dream we whispered about at night, under the cover of darkness, because if we said it too loud, too publicly, it may have slipped away. We dreamed and schemed, planned and saved and worked so hard to make this happen. It’s all I’ve wanted for years, but now we’re here.

I always knew I wanted to be here, with my family and in this city that seems so magical to me, but I never imagined it would be like this.

We found the most perfect little townhouse in the most charming neighborhood. Every building on every block is built of old, red brick. Most of the neighborhood churches are more than 160 years old. Tall, leafy trees line the wide streets and the city noises fade away. Bars and shops and restaurants are tucked into corners of old converted row houses, giving everything the same look and feel it had a hundred years ago. It’s minutes from everything, like most neighborhoods in St. Louis, but it feels so perfectly isolated from the hustle of the city.

This move should have been a thousand times more stressful than the last. Instead of having weeks to move across town, we had to load up, move almost 300 miles, and unpack all in less than 24 hours–but somehow I’ve been so relaxed. There’s something so reassuring about coming here that makes everything else seem unimportant.

Now we’re celebrating all those firsts that come with a new home. The very first night and that glorious first sunrise through new windows. The first evening stroll discovering what’s hidden down every new street. The first time sitting on our new balcony, drink in hand, soaking in the sounds of our new life.

I’m sitting on that balcony now, as the cicadas sing in the trees and the muggy St. Louis morning presses close. The sun filters through the leaves to fall on the exposed brick walls, and I feel like anything is possible, the same way I’ve felt for the last seven mornings. I hope I feel this way forever.

It all sounds so dramatic and romanticized, but that’s how it really seems. I know in a week or a month or a year it will all feel old and familiar and boring, but right now it’s perfect.

My parents had a party last night for a few relatives who aren’t usually in town. Before, those types of things always hit me hard. I knew that’s what I lost out on, living in Indiana. I never missed a Christmas or Thanksgiving. Major holidays and birthdays were usually spent together. But it’s the little things. The nights of “hey, we’re grilling out tonight, why don’t you come over?” and the small moments in between that mean everything to me. Now we don’t have to miss out again, because we’re finally here.

Most people grow up and go out into the world to find their own place. They want to make a name for themselves or just carve out a niche where they can discover themselves without the pressures of home. I had a small taste of that in Indiana, but it was never what I longed for. Now I’m grateful for this chance to share the city I love with the one I love, and find our own place in the world so close to home.

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Back Home Again in Indiana

I realized something as I drove home on Sunday, with the sun setting in my rear view mirror and the Indiana cornfields sprawling for miles in every direction.

This would be my last time coming “home” to Indiana.

Two days before, we signed a lease on an incredible townhouse in one of my favorites neighborhoods in St. Louis. We filled out paperwork, wrote checks, and asked all the important questions like “Do you think the king-sized bed of our dreams will fit up those stairs?” (The answer, sadly, is most likely not.)

Indiana, and Indianapolis in particular, has been spectacularly good to me. I’ve met more wonderful people and experienced more incredible things than I ever knew could be possible.

Indiana is where I started my first grown-up job. I learned that I actually could make it in the real world. I’ve grown professionally in more ways than I can count and was tapped for my first real position as a writer. This company has put a lot of faith in me in the last 3.5 years–a faith they’re continuing to show as I transition to working remotely. I’m so grateful for their support and encouragement as I tried (and continue trying) to find my footing in the corporate environment I suddenly found myself in.

Indianapolis reconnected me with my passion for volleyball and showed me how much I love teaching this incredible game. The opportunities I had through Team Indiana have opened my eyes to a whole new world of volleyball. The people I met through the organization, not to mention my girls themselves, welcomed me with open arms and taught me to become both a better player and coach.

Indiana brought me Ben. It brought me our dog Sansa. It brought me memories and happiness and friends to last a lifetime. I can say with confidence that I’ve laughed a whole lot more than I’ve cried here–something that cannot be said about all the places I’ve put down roots.

That drive on Sunday brought me back to the first time I “drove home” to Indiana. I was 22 years old, scared out of my mind, and truly going out in the world for the first time. I definitely cried more than I laughed that first weekend–maybe even those first few weeks–alone in that one-bedroom apartment. Those two drives down the exact same roads could not have been more dissimilar. The first had me driving toward uncertainty. The last I drove with our dog in the backseat, on my way back to a city full of people I’ve grown to love.

And sure, we’ll be back again. Probably more times than I’d like. We’re still working our same jobs, most of our friends are here, and Ben’s video contacts here mean a lot of his production work will still be in Indiana.

It won’t be home, though. Not again. But this place, this city, these people will always hold a special place in my heart.

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A Love Letter to the St. Louis Cardinals

Anyone who has had a conversation with me for maybe 5 minutes knows how totally crazy I am about that little team from St. Louis. It’s easily one of the first things I mention when people want to know about me, and I tend to not be able to shut up about it for way too long afterwards.

And this time of year? Forget about it.

I can barely make it through the day without checking schedules, lineups, and scores. Of the three playoff games the Redbirds have played, I’ve been out to dinner during two of them–with my face glued to my ESPN app. While receiving text messages and phone calls about the game from no fewer than three different people. I’m a lovely dinner date, I know.

It’s a weird kind of feeling, living in a place where no one really cares about your team. Or any team, for that matter. In college, Peoria was split between St. Louis fans and both kinds of Chicago fans, so at least there was a little love. Here in Indiana, though, between the football and the basketball, I’m not sure everyone even knows what a baseball glove looks like.

But how much I love this team is hard to hide. My neighbors have to know it, based solely on how much I yell at the television. I’ve stopped trying to talk about it with coworkers. They just laugh at me and suggest maybe I should start liking a sport where something actually happens. Hilarious. (Not.) My boss was just amused when I told her I needed a day off last October to go to a last-minute playoff game.

None of these people understand what it’s like to worship a team they way I love the Cardinals. Sure, they’ve got the Colts (and I guess the Pacers, but since I hate the NBA I’m going to pretend they don’t exist…), and they’re definitely a huge deal around here. But let’s look at this logically. There are 162 games in an MLB season compared to just 16 for the NFL. And taking into consideration the fact that NFL teams always get a bye week, a Colts fan would have to watch almost 11 seasons of football to see the same number of games a Cardinals fan will see in just one. Sorry, Hoosiers, baseball wins.

It wins because those 162 games mean a lot of heartache. Ups and downs and injuries and road trips that seem to last forever when all your team needs to break its slump is just one game in front of a sold-out home crowd (they don’t call us “the best fans in baseball” for nothing, you know). Those 162 games mean you always have a reason to pay attention; you always want to sit down and watch.

Busch Stadium is, hands down, one of the best places to catch a baseball game. The atmosphere is incredible, and the seats are almost always sold out. They even mow the city’s iconic Gateway Arch into the outfield grass. I’ve seen games at U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s south side and AT&T Park overlooking San Francisco Bay (with plenty more on my bucket list), but none can compare to the feeling I get walking into that sea of red in the gateway to the West.

The Cardinals have the chance to win their third World Series in 7 years. They may be a long shot; everyone–that doesn’t live within a couple hours of the city, at least–may be counting them out, but they’ve pulled off miracles before. I don’t think many people will be forgetting last year’s Game 6 any time soon. And even though I’m still the farthest I’ve ever been from the STL, I’ll still be celebrating by screaming at the TV and looking at ticket prices on StubHub. A girl can dream, right?

Make me proud tomorrow, boys. Let’s win these first two in Washington and show little Bryce Harper how it’s really done in the postseason. (Seriously, that kid is younger than my baby brother. Not OK.) I’d say that I believe in you when no one else does, but we both that’s not true. The entire city is behind you, so let’s get this done.

Heaven on Earth.

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