A Californian in Iowa
Jon and I moved to Le Claire Iowa winter before last. Jon is a native who lived as an ex-pat in Phoenix for most of his life but I am a California girl born and bred.
Le Claire sits on the Mississippi at the turn where the river runs east-west through the Quad Cities (Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, and Rock Island). Two cities in Illinois and two in Iowa. Two pretty conservative and two fairly liberal. Two under mandatory mask orders and two wide open by the Governor’s decree. Sounds like the rest of the country, right?
One reason we chose Le Claire and the QC was the very nice regional airport and the short 140-mile drive to Chicago’s O’hare Airport. My work as a Medical Device and Software consultant is usually not in the QC therefore I travel.
Or I used to in the Pre-COVID world.
Now I sport the fastest internet connection I can get and spend my days on conference calls. I used to run through the airport to catch planes, now I run on my under-desk treadmill during downtimes at work.
Interestingly, my work life has not really changed that much. I attend the same meetings, I talk to the same people. I have even had more interest from potential clients who would like to hire me. Oddly, in the midst of all this, business is pretty good.
Clearly, I am one of the lucky ones. An elite, well-educated, white-collar, self-employed consultant whose kids are all grown and gone. All of us are healthy even my mom who is getting up there but still selling homes in Rockport, Texas.
But the virus feels closer.
I hear that the child of a friend was exposed and is in quarantine, and a local acquaintance has the virus. Every day it feels like the virus is inching its way into my privileged world.
I cannot count all the ways that this Pandemic has changed my life. I am not sure if I will ever be fully comfortable in a crowd again. I cannot bring myself to eat out in a restaurant, even one with an open patio. Jon showers every day after coming home from his job as a USPS carrier and we both joke about his being infected. But I worry he will get sick.
This blog was started as a hiking blog and I am not even doing that anymore! Nothing in my life feels the same.
My life feels oddly out of kilter. Yet, I am not sick. I have a job. I feel fine.
I do not know what the new ‘normal’ will be but it is clear to me that my life is never going back to what it was. It is also clear to me that it is up to me to make the best new life possible. And so I will.