A view of the Chemung river at sunset from the levy path

It’s been a year since we moved to Corning, NY. I always imagined Mark and I living in Rochester after I graduated and when that didn’t happen I was really startled. But also excited. I liked the idea of moving to a new place by ourselves. That pretty much wore off when we got here. The beginning was really hard. I didn’t have a job yet and no real networking ability because all of my contacts lived in Rochester. I didn’t know anyone. For the first month and a half I pretty much just ran, cooked, finished planning our wedding, applied to jobs every second of the day and attended employment workshops at a temp agency. I would do this crazy thing during the day while Mark was at work where I would "run away" - as in physically run as far as I could away from our place and then find my way back with my GPS. I ran to keep myself from going insane and not feeling absolutely worthless while being unemployed. I look back now and realize that running kept me alive. I got to know Corning from running everywhere.

I tried making friends and met a lot of unintentional people at first. Truthfully, I didn’t want to make new friends because the friends I had that lived far away are the best friends in the world. I remember thinking that I would never find a job and never make friends here. I experienced what it was like to feel really lonely. But adulthood is inherently lonely. It’s just that one tells you that. I cried a lot. I hated this place. We would visit friends in Rochester and upon leaving I imagined endlessly what our lives would have looked like living there - in a cute little house on Gregory Street in a diverse little city with bikable streets that I was already familiar with... and good food.

But it got better. Within a week I got a call, an interview, a job offer and my first Corning "friend date" which turned into a job with a good company and a real friend who really showed me a piece of her soul the very first time we spent time together. Things looked up. As time went on, my office hired this awesome lady who is equally as obsessed with cooking and food as I am. We became fast friends, clinging to each other like masts of a ship, faring seas of rampant sexism and antiquated world views. And we still do! But with much more sass and glory.

I signed up for a half marathon and met another runner in the sauna at the YMCA. Yes... IN THE SAUNA - and we’re both normal. We started running together and now we work out together all the time. She’s one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I just got to celebrate her advancement to the next year of nursing school! We’re running the wine glass half marathon together in October on her birthday.

Now when I leave Rochester it’s a lot less heartbreaking and I look forward to coming home. Home. This is home. I learned to love Corning as soon as I realized it wasn’t Rochester and was never going to be Rochester. Corning is Corning. Corning has so much outdoorsy stuff to do, a real focus on recreation and health plus people are really friendly here. Y’all do need to figure out what good coffee is but I’ll give you more time on that one.

It takes a lot of gumption to move to a brand new place and put down roots. I give my mom so much credit for doing this - ALL 4 TIMES WITH 3 LITTLE KIDS! Side note: when I whined to her about moving she straight up responded with *cue the southern accent and sass*: "honey, don’t act like you’re the first woman in history to move to the middle of nowhere for a man". Savage but warranted. Thanks for the reality check ma. In one year I graduated, moved, took my first career job and got married. Take it from me: space those big life things out if you can K? I didn’t end up finding the community I thought I would find in Corning. But that was always impossible. The people I have met and become close to are too incredible for me to have conjured up in my own head. As I look back on this year, I wonder if it’s OK to say "I’m proud" of myself for having moved here and lived here a full year. Because really all I did was exist for a year in a place. But I did it starting out with few resources and at the base of an immense mental mountain (that I’m still climbing). So I am proud of myself and I love that we did this. I love that we decided to go on this adventure and we made it. We’re still making.

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