Remember those painted rocks that I had decorating my workspace? While we were packing, Evan asked me what I wanted to do with them. Knowing me (HOARDER) I probably would have packed them. Rocks. I know. He suggested, "Why don't we place them in different spots around Estherville?". I loved that idea and ran with it! We thought about the places that are most special to us around Estherville and I wrote a little message on each rock and left the rock outside of each place. It was our way of saying goodbye to Estherville...
...because you kept us safe.
We rented this house sight-unseen. From Ohio, we called up a phone number that was in the Estherville online newspaper and said "House for rent? We'll take it. See you in two weeks!". Although it isn't perfect, we made it our home. I loved sitting on the porch drinking coffee in the early fall. I love all the light that pours in through the windows of my work room. I love the built-in bookshelf in the living room. I love the high ceilings.
...because you welcomed us.
Our landlords were so welcoming to us when we moved to Estherville! They own one of the local furniture stores, as well as our house and a few other buildings. They've invited us over for a backyard bonfire, paid me to babysit their kittens and even collaborated with us on a business venture. Sometimes I would walk the few blocks from our house to their shop, just to chat. It was nice just to feel like we instantly "knew someone" here when we moved in. It wasn't just them though - I felt welcomed by so many warm smiling faces in Estherville.
...because you lead us to our future.
After a little bit of research, when Evan decided he wanted to get into Wind Energy, we knew we were coming to Iowa. Iowa Lakes was a great school and got him into the Wind Industry after one year of study. I'm proud that he'll be contributing to society in such a positive way, through providing clean energy from a natural source.
...because you nourished us.
Saying goodbye to our dear old grocery store :). It's a true adjustment to go from shopping in a city like Columbus where the food options are limitless. The grocery stores were full of choices and beautifully stocked. There were also many specialty stores from which to choose to expand our horizons. Here? Slim pickings! The adjustment was rough and I complained quite often. But we have still managed to eat healthy within our extremely low budget. Can you buy all fresh and healthy foods and feed two people for a week for $30? I can now say that I've done it and it's possible. And I taught the cashiers what Couscous is and even taught them that they DO have it in the store! It's near the rice.
...because you helped us connect.
Knowing that I'd be running an Etsy shop when we moved here, I knew I'd become a frequent visitor of the Post Office. Not only that, but because we live so far from many friends and family - we make trips here for them as well! Visiting the Post Office on such a regular basis has made me think about how important it is and how it has helped me to expand my business and reach out to others across the country and the world. Estherville has no other shipping options so the USPS has been my one and only trusty delivery service. I love how beautiful this building is and I will miss it and all it's glory.
...because you felt like home.
The library. This center-of-town landmark caught my eye the moment I saw it. It is basically the "town square" and most events in town take place right here on the Library lawn. I also love the comfort of a library, walking in and smelling that "book" smell instantly and remembering the magic of discovery as a kid. I love to read and have been focusing on reading more since moving to Estherville. Riding my bike here in the mornings has become one of my favorite routines - and reading on the benches outside on cool afternoons is like heaven! Having a place like this that I love to frequent makes me feel truly at home.
...because you gave us thrills.
Discovering that Estherville had a unique place like this was actually pretty exciting. I'd never seen a bridge like this in person before and was so surprised to see one here - in a place that I expected to have "nothing". This bridge made of wood, chain link fence and thick cable wires stretches far across the river that runs along one side of town. It's a pretty long bridge and because of the way it is constructed, it bounces and sways when you walk across it! It combines three of my fears: deep water, heights and walking on surfaces which look like you could fall through. That last one turns out to encompass many things including but not limited to: sewer drain cover things, those metal grates on the sidewalks in large cities, bridges that don't have a totally solid surface, clear glass floors or stairs, etc. I'm a giant baby! When I walk across this bridge, I have a mix of "wow this is beautiful" and "omg I'm gonna die get me off this thing get out of my way!!!!" So I make it to the middle and usually end up either running back or running the rest of the way across. Which is bad because when you run, it swings and bounces even worse, making it way more scary than it needs to be. But afterward I feel like I just had a thrilling adventure.
...because you inspired us.
These train tracks are about a block away from our house. There are many rows of tracks and the trains often stop right here in town for a day or two before moving on. We've utilized these train tracks for multiple photo shoots and I constantly feel inspired to walk over to them and along them and see what else there is to see and photograph. The rocks are pretty, the tall wild weeds and flowers are photogenic, the old rotting couch sitting in the weeds is cool, and the view of the Fort Defiance National Forest is breathtaking.
...because you were mysteriously beautiful.
This unique building is a block away from my house and the back of it is facing those inspiring railroad tracks. I can't help but stare at this place every time I walk or drive past it. I have photographed it from every angle and still can help but wander by it now and then - thinking - what is IN there?? Who owns it, and why, and how? What is the history of this place? So many questions and no answers. So I admire and wonder and photograph some more. I'll miss the mysterious beauty. Estherville as a whole has been mysteriously beautiful and I will forever think of it as the first place I felt truly at home.
When you move, I highly recommend doing a project like this as a way to say goodbye to the place that you've lived. I was really sad about leaving and this was like a form of closure. A way to say thank you for being my home and was a good way to see all of my favorite spots for the last time!