A page from Brooke Clay’s book — I’m rural gone urban!


As I prepare for my 4th week in my full-time big kid job, and start my 4th week here in Kansas City, I realize I’m behind on chronicling this massive adventure. Two years ago, I never would have believed that I’d be living in the downtown of a TOWN, let alone downtown of a city with over four hundred thousand people. I never would have imagined I’d drive across 2/3 of the U.S. for and internship that would land me a full-time job 500 miles from home.

I miss ya, Chicago. You were the first big city I ever loved. But you are TOO big for me at this stage in life.

Life changes so fast, but I’m holding on tight and so thankful for this wild ride.

One of my favorite blogs is Rural Gone Urban, by my friend Brooke Clay. When I found out I was moving to Kansas City, we joked a bit about how she was my city living mentor. She is, in a way. Her blog showcases that you can have a multi-faceted personality. You can embrace the “now” without losing track of the past. You can adapt, and adjust to change, and greet each and every day with a sense of humor and a sense of wonder.

I want to be Brooke when I grow up.

I need those helpful little reminders fairly often as I adjust to my new lifestyle. I love it, but even good change can be difficult.

So familiar. So soothing. So wide open and free.

Now I walk past this every day to get to and from work.

Living in an apartment building isn’t that different from living in a dorm. Except, I have a kitchen, I don’t have any roommates, and I can burn candles. (Holy smokes, I forgot how much I love candles. It’s so fantastic to be able to have them again without risk of turning on safety sprinklers in the whole building.) Oh, and I can have a dog. My tiny adorable dog who guards me ferociously, loves me enthusiastically, and seems to read my emotions better than any human I’ve ever met. Oh, and she’ll be getting a kitten soon.

My partner in crime, Rory Rue Rivard.

So, together, Miss Rory and I are setting out on the adventure of urban living. While I walk to work pretty much every day, I do have to drive to get things like fresh groceries. I save those runs out of the city for weekends. I’ve rediscovered a love of fresh produce, but I’m also learning the boundaries of how much I actually NEED in a week. I’m ashamed to admit how many beautiful pieces of fruit and crisp, delicious veggies have spoiled because I overestimate how much I’d need. Living alone is weird.

I love having my own space. My apartment is home, definitely. But in 22 years I’ve always had siblings, parents, and roommates to share space (and food) with. Now I have a one-bedroom, and an almost-complete twelve-pack of beer in my fridge that is disappearing much too slowly. It’s…strange.

Although, when I can step out of my apartment and walk a block and see a view like this, I can handle “strange.”

I’ve found myself marveling at my life. When did I become an adult? In many ways, I don’t feel like one. I find myself thinking, “There’s no way I’m enough of a grown-up to do this.” Then I realize, I am a grown-up. And while no on expects perfection from me at this point, they do expect me to be willing to learn and ask questions. (Good thing I’m good at both of those things.) On the flip side, there are times I wonder if I’m too old for my childlike wonder. Will I ever get sick of watching the planes take off at the downtown airport, just across the river from my apartment? Will I ever stop marveling at the bigness of the buildings I walk past each day going to and from work? Will I ever stop giggling like a little girl and throwing a private chair-dance party every time I celebrate a small milestone at work?

I sure hope not.

Today someone told me that I carry myself in a much more mature capable way than most people my age. That made me laugh, because really I often feel like a little kid trying to figure out the best way to make-believe big kid life. Sometimes there’s a moment of clarify, though…I can be both. I can be both the capable, driven, confident, outgoing young woman who lives, breathes, and dreams her job, and the hopeful, optimistic, sees-the-best-in-everyone country girl that smiles too big and laughs a little too loud.

This city is new and exciting. And while it’s only a matter of time before I go stir-crazy and feel like I need to get out of it for a while, I feel, deep down, that this is where I’m meant to be at this point in my life. Kansas City is what I needed to kick off a new chapter. Sure, there’s still occasional bouts of homesickness and doubt and uncertainty, but that’s all just part of the journey.

You can’t take a big risk like leaving your comfort zone without feeling a little uneasy now and then.

My last morning in the 815. My last morning as an Illinois resident. My last morning of having my mom’s address listed as my “home address.” Kudos to my mom and brother bear for moving me here, by the way.

I guess I’ll just trust the Big Kid inside that seems to know what’s going on, and cling to the hope and stick-to-it-ness that the Little Kid still provides each and every day. I can conquer the big city, and still hang on to those rural roots that I am so proud of.

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6 thoughts on “A page from Brooke Clay’s book — I’m rural gone urban!

  1. Miss Kelly,

    You’re are one sweet lady! What a wonderful post!

    You’re going to have so many great adventures in your urban life, and you’ll find that you’ll have so many more meaningful conversations about agriculture. For example, today my roommate pulled out her debit card to pay for lunch. Normal, sure; however, paired with the adorable puppy was a logo of my least favorite organization. Because of my credibility as an urban conqueror as well as consumer, I was able to have a well-rounded conversation with her about who she is supporting.

    I can’t wait to read about your many adventures – rural and urban.

    B. Clay.

    • Thanks, Brooke. I have to admit, I read pretty much every post you have these days. I identify with them so much…kind of freaks me out. It was only a matter of time before my fangirlness spilled out on my own blog.

      That, and I moved to Kansas City. I couldn’t write a post about it without giving you a hat-tip.

      I’m looking forward to lots of new experiences and open doors. Kansas City is a big food town and a somewhat-ag town, which means there’s plenty of openings to talk about where food comes from!

      Keep up the great work, Brooke, and thanks for reading and responding!

  2. You are going to do awesome! I lived just north of Kansas City for almost four years and loved that town. I love its mix of big city life with glimpses of agriculture. You must make a trip to my favorite western store Nigros. I always went to the one in Shawnee Mission because they would cut you a better deal, but the other store has more of a selection. Best place ever to buy jeans. Have fun on your new adventure.

    • Crystal, thanks so much for helping me retain my enthusiasm for KC! I’m in love with this place so far. People are friendly, there’s so much to do, and there’s amazing food everywhere.

      Although, telling me there’s western stores around just might set me up for credit card debt. I need me some new Wranglers and I ALWAYS need new boots.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate it, especially from a blogger of your skills level!

      • I mean I don’t want this to turn into a “thank you, no thank you, no thank you” but you are too sweet. Have fun shopping! Oh and Jack Stack is my favorite BBQ the one downtown (it’s in an old train station) is better than the one on the Plaza.

  3. Pingback: Why is May the best month of the year? | kellymrivard.com

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