Thinking about it I've always kind of had this identity issue (don't worry, this isn't about to get psychotic), but I've always been torn between my farm girl roots and my curiosity for the bigger world. A Country Mouse and the City Mouse dilema if you will.
There's a simplicity to the country life that I love---there's something beautiful about deep green grass and a hard day's work and an honest living. The older I grow, the more I admire the country people. The more I appreciate the work my parents do to produce high quality milk--the more I see the injustice of how little farmers get for doing so much. My parents work 12-14 hours every day (including weekends) on the farm, all year round, yet we're just making ends meet. Seeing our struggle always kind of pushed me away from the lifestyle, "I just want to do anything but that..," get me to the city, give me tall buildings, clean structures, modern interior design. Give me a desk and an office and a steady paycheck that has no dependency on the inconsistent prices for milk/hundredweight. But now as I get older I'm drawn more to the pride of producing something, creating something of your own that can better the world somehow. I get ideas in my head of expanding our maple business, of possibly starting up some kind of other venture.. I get ideas of having a nice house out in the country with plenty of land.. If I have a family that's something I definitely want.. I can't picture myself permenantly living in a city.. It's something I would do for awhile for the experience of it, but I feel like it isn't where my roots are. So it makes me wonder where my future is headed. I always thought I was bound to be this big city girl, you know? I mean maybe.. but it's all so confusing. There's like two images of myself that I conjure up when I think about the future.
On one side I see this professional journalist. This magazine editor, or this columnist, this successful woman who's aware of the world and has a voice to speak about it. She knows the issues, she cares about the issues, and she pushes them to the surface. She conducts or contributes to meetings with big fancy posterboard with expoential growth charts and vibrant photos to be selected for the publication. She writes down story ideas and her words hit the printed press in copy, after copy, after copy. She has Starbucks in one hand and a ballpoint pen in the other, she gets down the business.
Now meet the other self, she's in the sugarhouse boiling down tree sap to make maple syrup. A lively Austrailian Shepard paces in front of her, asking for attention. Once she finishes boiling for the day she goes inside to work a little more on her novel with a cup of hot chocolate sitting on her large wooden desk. The dog sleeps beneath her feet and only stirs when the front door opens signaling that her husband is home. Maybe she's a notable author, or maybe she works for a local media outlet, but she resides in the country. There's room for dogs to run and a family to grow. She might have some livestock, maybe if she gets ambitious she'll start up a small dairy business, or maybe she'll raise puppies, or maybe her husband is a crop man. Or something else entirely, or a mixture. Whatever she does she loves the land and loves the animals, she takes care of them both. An agricultural hippie.
This is why I'm so conflicted. I see these two persons, and I don't know which path I'm supposed to take.
College I feel is a major step in either direction. Two of the schools I'm considering go hand in hand with these opposite persons. One is a media arts college in Chicago, supposed to be fantastic for gaining a media-driven education, they even have Magazine Journalism as its own independent major. Usually everything is just lumped together under the vague title of "Journalism." Great facilities, wicked cool dorm options (bathroom and kitchen in every suite), really modern look.. And they have a minor in environmental science option. Problem is, it's a big change to a humongous city--and it's 15 hours away by car. Coming home, I'd be on a plane for sure. Needless to say I wouldn't be coming home too much.
School #2 is half an hour to 45 minutes away, but in Vermont instead of New York. It's a small liberal arts college, focused on environmental sustainability. It's a close-knit community, and they do have a Communications/Journalism major, but it isn't nearly as focused as the city college, but that doesn't mean it can't be a good program. This school has Agricultural programs and a Writing program along with many environmental applications, that's its main thing afterall. It even has its own campus-run farm, where the students take on the responsibility of making sure the chores get done and the plants and livestock are taken care of. You learn about farming and how to do things like make your own cider and honey. There's a lot of chances to do things outdoors for recreation. I'm not sure if I would be better off commuting or living on campus if I went to this school..I'd kind of rather live on campus, but if the cost is greater than the gas---then it's up in the air.
I just don't know.. The city seems so interesting, but I also love the charm of a small, close-knit college full of other peace and earth-loving hippies like me. What if I try to snatch a bite of the city mouse cheese, only to be caught in the paws of the big cat? I just don't know, I feel like I'm at a crossroads. There's options beyond these two schools, but they're my top contenders at the moment, so I thought it'd be best to pair them against eachother.
There's one constant across my inconsistent string of ideas, and that's to receive a good education. Regardless of what I wind up doing, I want to always be learning, and college grants the best opportunities for that--the best intellectual environments, and I want to sieze the opportunity while I still can.
I know this was one big annoying argument with myself, so if any of you read this, I give you major credit.. Hopefully my next post will be on a different sort of topic.
OH WAIT, maybe I should let you guys know about my trip.. So I went in positive spirits, a chance to do something with my mom, and a "Farm Show" honestly didn't sound too bad to me, as I've admitted in this post, I'm kind of into that stuff. So we go late Thursday morning. We do a little shopping at the mall and go back to the hotel because we intend on going to the farm show in the morning. Hello major blizzard... It was snowing non-stop Friday, my mom was too weary to venture out in it.. So we were stuck in the hotel room, all day. I think I watched "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Shining." Perfect for being stranded in a hotel, no? So somehow I managed to survive through that, I tried to keep my complaining at a minimal, I knew my mom hadn't planned on this happening--it was right at the end of my vacation from college too.. so I really didn't want to be stuck for a day of nothing. But the next day we packed our bags, checked out of the Best Western, and headed to the Farm Show.It was pretty alright stuff. Mainly vendor booths advertising their product or services, spoke with some of them. It'd definitely be neat for someone who knew what everything was. Lots of big machinery, like huge. It was neat to be around so many "farm folk," wearing their Carhartts and boots, seeing both children and boys my own age climbing up into the tractor's to look them over. Did I mention this was all inside, thank god.. So my mom and I went around and looked at most every booth, she talked to company correspondents that she knew, we got a free buffet lunch from some friends of hers, and I bought maple cotton candy in the maple part. Although I wish it hadn't been a three-day-excursion, I'm glad I went and spent time with her, and it was a good experience to go to the show.
It was nice to come back though. I finished up visiting with friends, saw Amanda again, spent more time with Tom and Julie's family. One day, the day I was supposed to be heading back to college, Tom had the idea to go snowboarding on the hill behind his house. So much fun. It was pretty warm out too, so we were just in jeans and sweatshirts, falling down in the snow, and it didn't even feel that cold! I just got right back up, and trudged back up the mountain, it wasn't uncomfortably cold at all, it was weirdly..refreshing. I fell alot though, I have a ways to go in my snowboarding career, ha ha. Luckily the snow was deep too, so no pain. One run, I fell directly on top of the burdox bush... Smooooooth. Thankfully I had Tom to help pick the burs out of my sweatshirt. I went grocery shopping with them, and I had my own list too, and we didn't get back until 6:30 or so, and my mom wanted to take me home by 5, or I needed to find an alternative ride, she's not a night-time driver. So I decided what the hell, I'll just stay another night, because Julie offered to take me back the next day. So I went home and said my goodbyes, got a nice visit in with my grandma :). Never again after that one time, will I ever let myself be home without seeing my grandma atleast once. That time I ran out of time before I had to go back to college---guilt ate me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week. It felt nice to have an extra night too, not to rush right back to school. Julie and I had a nice drive down here too, I wish it had been farther kind of so our conversation didn't have to end as soon as it did. I'm hoping her and Amanda will come down to hang out here this weekend, but it's undecided. But here I am now, at college once again. Procrastinating homework once again ;), but atleast I'm blogging. I hope everything is going well with all of you.