Dear Old Friend,
I am truly humbled today. I have heard such nice words from a couple of people in the past week and I finally have time to reflect upon them.
My boss and some of my friends have told me how highly everyone at work speaks about me. I am just being myself. I’ve always been self-conscious and when I was younger I was very shy. After going to Italy, living on a farm, and going to a huge university I have gotten to know myself pretty well and I am so proud to be me. It just makes me happy that I’ve found people who appreciate me, too. I feel so lucky.
Of course, there are some people in the 100+ person training class that I never talk to, but that’s to be expected. There is no possible way that I could get to talk to everyone even in six months. I am just so impressed each and every day with the quality of the people I am around at this new job. I enjoy listening to all these people’s interesting stories and perspectives. I learn so much from them and I feel so reassured in my decision to move to N.C. because I get to spend my time with all these lovely people.
The thing about this program, however, is that it is a technical program. Most people who get technical degrees grew up in cities and live their lives like they do in Palo Alto, California or New York City. This means that they are, in fact, city folk.
I used to live in suburbia and it was awesome. I grew up there and I had the most wonderful childhood with awesome friends and amazing neighbors. I wouldn’t have called myself a city folk though, because my dad was constantly hosing us off outside because my brothers, friends, and I would always come back muddy from playing in the creek.
Then we moved to the farm and I fell in love (finally) with being outside and getting a little dirt under the finger nails. I’ve been gutting chickens, building trenches, and throwing hay bales. I love every minute of the farm and I wish every day that I could be back there. The farm definitely squashed every last bit of whatever city-folk was left in me.
Even my university was in a rural area so the apartment life wasn’t like it is here. Here, I live in a fancy complex next to millionaire mansions. IT’S CRAZY. (Come visit me, these houses look like they’re from Beverly Hills, seriously.) Anyways, I’m lucky because I still have a little yard and a huge porch. My friends at work live in tall apartment buildings with a little porch and no yards. They live there because they’re in the corporate housing for the training program. Most of them are from the North. New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, etc…
I’ve traveled up and down the east coast and I love both the North and the South, but I really did fall in love with being “farmy” and “southern.” People at work ask me to say “ya’ll come back now ya hear” and other typical southern-isms like that all the time. They think its cute or funny and I agree with them. This is a very typical city folk thing to do. When I was in California in the cities there they asked me to speak in my southern accent, too.
Now here’s the whole point to my story…these people live in cities in the North and many of them don’t partake in many activities that I do. Many of them don’t like horses, dogs, or cats. Most of them have never planted anything and what is a mind-blowing fact to me…the most amazing thing about these people is…most of them have NEVER BEEN HIKING.
So, today I took three city-folk hiking! Woo Lordy! Did I open a can of beans! I didn’t realize what I had gotten into because I hadn’t been in that situation…ever. These people didn’t know what to do if a bear walked by, didn’t come prepared with a Leatherman or something similar, and they were really concerned about not having hiking boots. It’s central N.C. it’s pretty much flat…sneakers will work just fine, I told them. It just amazes me sometimes when people who live in cities (and this is definitely not all people who live in cities or urban areas – let me be clear) don’t know how to change a tire, take care of an animal, understand that different plants need different sun, or that you should always, always carry a small set of tools in your car and a Leatherman because you just never know what will happen I just didn’t know how they lived. How can you get through the week without a Swiss Army knife or some simple rope? I use items like that, or good-ole duct tape ALL THE TIME.
It was a very interesting hike and a long, long story, but you’ll be happy to know that four miles later they had survived! They also had…fun.
To make a long story short and to not bore you with details, my mother said it right: “Sounds like the Farmer’s Only commercials…’City Folk just don’t get it.'”
I did have fun and I’ve never laughed so much in my entire life. They even said they would go hiking again! The best part was, it was sunny and 65 and I was outside. I love my job, but I miss being on the farm and being outside every day. City folk just do not get it, sometimes.
Until next time,
Your favorite hiking-gal