“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” -Nelson Mandela
As I said in an earlier post, we moved a week after Elijah was born (because we are certifiably insane lol). What I don’t believe I mentioned was that the move was to an area Scott & I are both from. To give a bit of a backstory, because his job is so specialized, it doesn’t offer many positions in certain areas. Unfortunately, the, “small,” city we lived in didn’t have any openings & the uncertainty of his former job continued to loom over our heads. So, with being responsible for a new human life & all, we chose to bite the bullet & leave before his position was cut. We had a few choices in bordering states, as well as some down in Florida but chose to go closer to family since a job opportunity was here. Here specifically being Eastern, Kentucky.
For my U.K.. & out of state followers: Eastern, KY is a different sort of place than the rest of the U.S. It’s a very rural area with not nearly as much forward thinking as the rest of the states have to offer. It was also an area that massively helped Donald Trump gain victory in the election….let that tell you what it will. lol
With that being said, there have been a few things about living here that have bothered us.
For one, for the most part, the people here don’t trust other people & are leery of outsiders. One quick way we were reminded of this was noticing it’s rare for people to smile at you or smile back at you. I’ve heard of this also being the case in NY as there are just so many people & the lifestyle is so fast paced but I find it interesting this is also the case here. One reason I think this mentality is present in the area is, years ago when out of state people came into the area, they presented these legal documents to Appalachian people who could not read to sell their mineral rights for next to no money & ripped them off big time. Ever since, it seems as if the don’t trust outsiders has remained a common theme.
Something that ties into people not trusting others is that the area, minus within individual churches, is there isn’t a sense of community. What I mean by this is that, unlike places like Lexington, there aren’t any groups like mom groups.. There are no weekly or even monthly events within the community. I had even, going out on a limb, posted on Facebook before the move back asking if anyone wanted to get together for a stroller group sort of thing with their children. Zero interest lol Not one person commented & there are a lot of people on my FB from here.
Another thing my husband, his manager (who lived away from the area for a few years as well), several other people he works with that live out of the state & commute, & myself have noticed is that a lot more people who live here are rude. For example, we were grocery shopping last week &, while I was getting Elijah out of the baby wrap, a lady came up behind me. The parking spaces were at an odd angel so I asked her if that was her car she was trying to get to. She replied it was & I moved over, shutting the door a bit to let her through. My husband came around by that time to put him in his car seat. As he was strapping him in, the woman starts backing up &, had he not stepped out to hold his hand up, would have taken out my car door that she could see was present the entire time. When he closed the door, she backed out & sped off. His manager, who Scott shared this story with, said she’d experienced much of the same while living here & even noticed it in the elementary school her children go to.
THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT ALL PEOPLE LIVING HERE ARE RUDE, I know a lot of really good people living here/who are from the area.
There’s also a depressed feeling being in the area because it is so rural. There is A LOT more poverty concentrated here than other places. There are a lot of empty run down buildings sitting around, along with some run down ones that are still occupied. In the place we’re currently renting, we’ve seen a few run down or empty homes as well.
There’s also just not a lot of diversity here. I.E. white is the racial majority & you don’t even see a lot of people from other groups. Among other things.
With all of the above, compounded with the fact that you are away from common conveniences (like the mall, Target, Starbucks, a wide selection of restaurants), you are also away from good healthcare/specialty healthcare as well. For example, Elijah needs suck training so I’ll be taking him to Lexington for that biweekly because it’s not something that’s offered here. My husband & I, along with his family that lives here, don’t trust the hospitals in the area &, if possible, would make the drive to Lexington anyway for better care. Fact: 2 out of 4 of my grandparents died in a hospital here due to the fault of the hospital. So yeah, it’s not exactly a promising place to be here.
I asked my cousin who had tried moving back to the area before how he had managed & what his experience had been. For him, it was much of the same, adding, “Once you move away & your perspective of the world changes on every level, you become inherently different.” He also agreed that there is definitely a depressive energy in the air. On surviving it, his advice was to, “try to find people you can relate to…& buy lots of alcohol.” LOL
While I won’t be following the latter part of that advice, Scott & I have already came to the realization that we cannot stay here. Our plan is to ride out the year (as we are locked in per his contract) & then, ideally, move back to Lexington or another city we’d feel more at home in.
I am not saying Eastern, KY is an awful place with nothing to offer the rest of the world. I think it has a lot to offer. What I’m saying is that, once you leave & are use to a totally different lifestyle, it’s very hard to live here again.
In other life update news, we will be moving within he next month…again thanks, to our crapyy landlord/living situation. The AC has never worked upstairs, despite us bringing this up to him, & his solution to cool the 3 bedrooms & 2 baths up there was to, “provide a window unit.” We can also hear our neighbors through the walls, as well as any & all traffic noise. So yeah, it’s not working out lol We will still be living in the area because of the contract, just not here.
I also need to give an update on our breastfeeding journey & what that has entailed but that’s for another post.
Have a beautiful week, friends!