In just a few days, I will be moving to Murray, Kentucky.
I know what you're thinking, and you're partially right (yes, I'm chasin' tail -- but it's more than that). I would never have decided to go to a small town in western Kentucky if I hadn't met The Man, but I definitely wouldn't be going if it weren't a good opportunity for me personally.
A few facts about Murray, Kentucky: The population is over 89% white (just to give you an idea, Fort Pierce = 49.5% white, 41% black, 15% hispanic). There is no shopping mall, but there are a couple of strip malls and a Wal-Mart. There's also a Huddle House, which is my new favorite restaurant thanks to the matronly waitress who calls me "honey" and the ragtag group of regulars (Hungry Bear, get in line). There are only four "bars," which are also restaurants -- they're required to earn a certain percentage of revenue from food sales -- and only stay open til midnight. It was a dry county until five or six years ago, so one still has to go to the next town to buy beer or liquor to take home (this could be good for me). The annual Kentucky Lumberjack Challenge is held in Murray, and of course I can't wait to compete. Murray is west of the mountains, but it's still slightly hilly; the weather is temperate with four distinct seasons. It was beautiful when I was there last week; 80 degrees and sunny during the day, 68-70 at night. The air feels good, it's soft and soothing and comfy. Nearby is a big national park called Land Between the Lakes, which really is situated between two huge lakes and is incredible - there are bison and elk and deer, and the lakes are breathtaking. One has to drive right through the middle of LBL to get to Murray from the east.
Murray State University is neither big nor small; enrollment is near 11,000. They're actually highly ranked in several areas (arts and athletics are big ones) and call themselves one of the "Public Ivy" institutions because of their high academic standards. I'll be living just a couple short blocks from the campus, which is great because the whole area is very bike- and pedestrian-friendly. My short-term plan is to take a job at one of the restaurants right away and then keep my eyes peeled for a position at the University; employees get to take six classes a year for free so that would be a big help if I could pull it off. I'm planning to obtain a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology or advertising. Right now I'm working on a few writing projects on my own, and am collaborating on a writing gig and a comedy skit/short with friends of mine. I finally feel a certain clarity and confidence about what I want to do with myself professionally and creatively, and that's such a huge relief.
Now that I've made the decision to go, I can't wait to get to Kentucky and get on with my life. I feel like this situation I'm walking into is positive and healthy and will be good for me in a lot of ways. Strangely, it doesn't feel impulsive, it just feels right. I'm thrilled and can't wait to begin. Let's get it on, hash brown.