My Ohio-Kentucky love affair.
Preface: Home for me is Belle Center, Ohio. I’m guessing you have not heard of Belle Center, because only 800 people live there, and we don’t even have a stoplight.
Most people who come from small towns can’t wait to grow up and leave. That was never the case for me; upon graduating from college, I had every intention of settling down and raising a family in the cornfields of northwest Ohio. No, Kentuckians, that is not Cleveland or anywhere near Cleveland ;)
Well, the plan I had for myself did not turn into reality. I was offered a position—one that I simply could not refuse—at Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. So, I packed up my bags and headed south. Three months later, my small-town fiancé, Tyler, joined me.
Last weekend, we were home for Easter. When we crossed the state border to Ohio, I was emotional. When we drove the backroads of our small town listening to Chris Young and Luke Bryan, things felt right. We were finally home.
But then, the strangest thing happened. When we crossed the border to Kentucky on our trip back, I experienced a sense of relief. Why did Kentucky feel like home, too?
Feeling conflicted, I asked Tyler, “If you had to choose right now whether to spend the rest of your life in Kentucky or Ohio, which would you pick?” His answer was just as indecisive as how I felt.
So now, we have two homes, and THAT doesn’t feel right. I feel like I am cheating on Ohio with Kentucky.
That was an extremely long preface, but stay with me.
This week, I have not had a good week. I’ve felt unmotivated, unproductive, and overall, sad.
Yesterday, I had a trip planned to Lebanon, KY to interview three Goodwill employees. Somewhat knowing Kentucky geography, I assumed my GPS would take me on 65 South. When it didn’t, I was very confused, but conceded that the GPS knew better than I did.
The GPS did in fact know better. It took me on a route with more gorgeous backroads and small towns than I ever could have hoped for. It took me on a path where no one was rushing, no one was passing me, and no one was honking at me for not turning right on red. It took me on a 90-minute trip of pure serenity. Forced to drive 40 miles per hour due to windy roads, I was able to stare out the window, admiring the open fields and free-range cattle.
Lebanon itself was just as charming as the rural journey I had to take to get there. After my interview, I decided to stop at a local joint, Ragetti's Italian Food, for lunch. The lasagna didn’t disappoint.
After a week of sadness, which may have stemmed from leaving the backroads of Ohio to return to the busy streets of Louisville, I finally felt at peace. I fell in love with Kentucky all over again.
Will my love affair with Ohio and Kentucky ever end? Probably not.