Buh-bye, Erie! Hello State College!

So, uh, I moved a while back. June 1st as a matter of fact. I moved across state to start a PhD program so my proverbial skirts have been hiked up and I skeedaddled.

I lived in Erie for 4 years – the longest I have lived anywhere in nearly two decades. I’m not going to lie, it was rather easy to leave. Despite the presence of Sailor’s family and a few friends, I developed no deep connection to the place. Which is odd. Sailor and I have been fairly deliberate about where we live and every town holds some place in my heart. I don’t know if Erie has moved into the co-op there just yet, only time will tell.

So I’m here in State College. Surrounded by mountains. It’s freaking me out. I have always lived on the water, horizon in the distance, and here I am in the Happy Valley. Land-locked. My horizon very clearly blocked on all sides by hills and mountains. If geography is determinative, I wonder what this is going to say about my life in the 4 years I am supposed to be here.

Erie is easily reduced to my mistake-by-the-lake. We really never should have left Maine. I can admit that now. Erie is a lonely place. You may not realize that if you are native to the town, but it’s a tough social scene to break into as a 30-something couple. The natives are not very welcoming.

Argue with me if you feel you must, but I have garnered this opinion from numerous persons in the same boat and the general consensus amongst the non-natives I spoken to seems to be this: if you weren’t born in Erie forget about developing social relationships; Erie-ites establish their friendships in grade school and do precious little to widen that circle once they are adults.

Oh, I’m not complaining. It’s just the way Erie is and besides, what did I really have in common with women my own age who have been married well over a decade by that point and have teenaged children? Not much.

I was at the doctor’s office a few months ago getting the required immunizations for this place and when the Nurse Practitioner discovered my age, marital status and lack of children, she very sincerely congratulated me: Excellent. That’s excellent. Good for you. Get that education. Do it for yourself – you won’t regret it.

Here in State College, I am actually surrounded by my peers. Many 30 something women, single, married, divorced, no children and we’re all ridiculously busy. Friendships are instant, easy, and progress at a leisurely pace.

So I’m getting to know the valley. I walk everywhere. Walk. Everywhere. Not something I could ever do in Erie, PA. And bike riding? Fuggetaboudit. Bike lanes abound! Here’s the thing you Erieites: riding a bike is not a crime and does not warrant hostile actions on behalf of drivers.

But it’s not all breaking bread and wine, for here, you see, I have serious problem: The NPR station here sucks. Anyone who knows me can appreciate the gravity of that statement. It seriously pains me how bad the NPR is here. So Erie had that going for it: awesome NPR. The weekends in Erie were as life should be: all talk, all day. None of this 4 hour interruption for damn hippy-folk music that makes my ears bleed.

I’m debating currently keeping this blog. I’ve been such a bad blogger this year I wonder if anyone is still around to even read this. Of course the name will have to change. Of course I won’t have Erie to comment upon. Of course I’ll be wading through this PhD puzzle. We’ll see…

I keep hearing the saying that PhD’s are a marathon not a sprint. Well, we’ll see if I can jog for 4 years.