Take the Girl Out of the Country…

In the face of recent identity crises regarding my rural roots and suburban situation, I found myself stuck. You see, the country is the land I love. I’m a rural girl. However, my current educational situation has me plopped right in the middle of the most affluential suburb in the state of Illinois: Naperville. It’s been voted onto Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list not once or twice, but three times. It’s a nice place. It’s a picture-perfect example of what suburban utopia ought to look like.

It’s a great place to live and go to college. Do not get me wrong about that. However, given my background of country living and my interest in agriculture, I’m a little bit…misplaced.

You see, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

Let’s face it. Naperville isn’t exactly the flourishing grounds for someone who prefers to wear cowgirl boots. It’s not where you’d expect to hear someone use words like “britches” and “y’all.” You’re much more likely to see Jimmy Choo’s than Ariats here. Yet…I use those words and I wear my cowgirl boots with pride. I buy my clothes at the farm supply store. Most of my college peers buy their clothes at boutiques.  There’s days I feel like a fish out of water, but I always know I can go home to rural America and soak it up.

My worn in, stained, ridiculously-comfortable bomber boots. I took this picture as I sat in band rehearsal in my college's state-of-the-art fine arts center.

In fact, I’ve got plans for this weekend to go do just that. I’m going back to my hometown of 400 people. I’m going to head back out to the boonies and walk in the woods. I’m going to go for a tractor ride with an old friend. I’m going to enjoy the simple, rural way of life. The slower pace, the welcoming atmosphere.

Recently, I went to a farm just outside of the suburbs; the farmer I was with assumed I was just another suburban girl. When I asked him if they were doing a corn-on-corn rotation for a specific field, he seemed shocked. I continued to surprise him throughout the duration of the visit. Apparently, he hadn’t expected this little lady from Naperville to know what a moldboard plow was, or to understand the necessity for refuge. I surprised the heck out of that guy! And it’s all because I have one foot in each world. I may be living the suburban lifestyle at school, enjoying all the resources of the city…but my head and my heart belong to the agricultural world.

With that said, I’m going to go kick off my boots, stretch out on the couch, and do some studying. As long as I’m here attending North Central College in the suburbs, I should at least try to be a good student.


2 thoughts on “Take the Girl Out of the Country…

  1. Kelly,
    I totally understand your situation. Back in my “younger days” when I worked in TV news I felt like I had a foot in both “worlds” as well. It worked out well for me professionally and personally–and still does– because I have a greater understanding of some things that many suburban and urban dwellers don’t.

    The important thing to remember is that we have been blessed with the opportunity to experience agriculture the way a lot of others haven’t.

    If we take our personal experiences and add it to the training and education we’ve received by entering “the other world”, just think of all the ways we can share our knowledge about agriculture with others. Oh, the possibilities!

    Having a foot in both worlds is frustrating at times. But, personally I feel it’s my responsibility to stay in both places. After all, if we all were firmly planted in one world, who would educate others about agriculture and its importance??

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the great insight and feedback, Kim! This double-life scenario can be a little confusing and overwhelming sometimes, but I’m really happy with the niche I’ve carved for myself as an agricultural voice in the suburbs. The rural setting is still “home” but I’m fairly happy, for now. Thanks for sharing your story and highlighting the reasons why the suburban world can be a great place for an “agvocate!”

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