My mom and I were chatting the other day about what Brett and I are planning for the future, where we would like to settle down, etc. It was when she described me as a “WyoBraska” girl that I was up in arms.
“No!” I exclaimed. “I’m a Nebraska girl living in Wyoming.” Ever since I moved to Wyoming, my pride for my home state has only strengthened. My new home does not have Runza and there are few fields of lush crops. Husker fans do not come out in droves on Saturdays in the fall here. Wyoming does not have my beloved lakes, rivers, breathtaking Nebraska sunsets, flat lands and rolling hills. And most of all, it doesn’t have the friendly, giving, generous Nebraskans I know as my friends and family.
I often feel like a high school girl with a crush on a boy. Any chance I get to mention my home state, I’m eager to talk about it. If someone brings up a Nebraska town, site or restaurant, I feel my heart swell with pride. “I know all about that! Talk to me about it! Let me tell you how awesome it is,” I want to shout.
But as each day passes, I’m growing fond of my new home. I was resistant to it at first. I can’t like to live in a place that isn’t home, I thought. But I do. Having a job where I’m surrounded by supportive, smart, funny and inspirational people is a huge bonus. I have received flowers more than once as a thank you for running stories for people in the newspaper. I find myself taking on ventures I never thought I was capable of doing. And I’m working on projects that involve fascinating, charismatic and truly incredible people. And they all call Wyoming home.
While I don’t have a large gang of friends here, the people I have met are near and dear to my heart. Whether we are going out to dinner, chatting over coffee, seeing movies or playing ridiculous card games, they have filled my life with laughter and joy.
As the state with the least amount of people, it’s easy to think of Wyoming as desolate and empty with few opportunities. I have found the opposite to be true. While the economy here tends to rise and fall with oil prices, new businesses and restaurants are continuously popping up. I love that there are still eateries and stores I haven’t discovered. It’s fun to see what is out there, and try something new. Plus, Wyoming is a vast state with amazing things to see. I feel a little foolish that I have only traversed the eastern part of the state when the western half has so much to offer. I’m hoping to make a trip to Yellowstone ASAP, but I have seen and done some incredible things within only a few minutes of my front door.
Speaking of places to visit in Wyoming, the scenery in this part of the country is breathtaking. While it is a small mountain, I can drive to the top of Casper Mountain in 30 minutes. And what a site it is to see! The Big Horn Mountains near Sheridan are breathtaking. I’m also just a short jaunt from places such as Alcova and Pathfinder Reservoirs, Ayres Natural Bridge, Garden Creek Falls and the North Platte River. Even if you are just driving the interstate, you will see natural spectacles.
The transition from moving from the place I was born and raised wasn’t easy. I still have moments of homesickness and where I’m ready to get back to the good life. Yet, I know if I do leave Wyoming, I will miss it. I will miss hiking Casper Mountain on warm Saturday afternoons, eating at local restaurants with divine cuisine, snow in April (I’m weird I know), jaw-dropping scenery and most of all, the wonderful people who have made life in Wyoming worth living.