What's that you say? How about an updated photo of Oz Girl? Welllll, that's a good point you have there. I'll have to get crack-a-lackin' on that one. You see, when one is the photographer, there usually aren't too many photos of that one.... but I'll see if I can't manage to get a good photo of myself and replace the Oz Girl cartoon with a real Oz Girl photo!
And now, with all that out of the way, here's the LONG STORY of how I ended up in Kansas 5 years ago!
From Tiny City Lot to 27 Prairie Acres...
Over the years, I've had a few people ask me how I ended up moving from Ohio to Kansas. The simple story: I met my husband online and we were married a year later. He certainly wasn't moving to Ohio, sooooo I moved to Kansas.
But you just know there's more to the story than that, don't you?!
This is my attempt to summarize this story... how a city girl with dreams of country living managed to finally find the right guy, who just happened to be living in the country, and so fulfilled two of the city girl's dreams... the right guy, in the right country place.
Tom and I met on the big ole internet in February 2007. Yep, on the internet. We are one of those online dating sensations, a real success story! (said tongue-in-cheek!)
But I'll tell you straight up, there are plenty of nightmares out there in the internet dating world. I'm not going to go into my personal online nightmares (yes, I met more than a few world-class a-holes), but I will say that I had almost given up trying to meet a nice guy via online dating sites.
Isn't it a good thing I listened to my mother, and checked out an online dating site that catered to the horsey loving folks.
Mom likes to watch Oprah from time to time, and she just happened to watch a segment that was showcasing women entrepreneurs. One of these women had started a dating site for people who loved horses, EquestrianSingles, and since we had a horse when I was a teen and mom knew I still loved horses and longed to live in the country, she thought maybe, just maybe, it might be worth my time to check out this website.
I didn't even look at the website for a few weeks... then, finally, one boring, snowy Saturday, I looked at some of the profiles that were posted, men and women alike. Researched it, assessed it.
The people on this website (for the most part) appeared more real, more genuine, more down-to-earth. I decided to give it a try. What the heck? It was pretty cheap, so what could it hurt?
For the first two weeks, I received emails from a few interested chaps, but nothing really clicked for me. Then, an email from Tom on February 11. So, you're wondering... what was his line to me?
I liked your profile and pics. Why does Ohio have to be so far away?
We emailed back and forth for two weeks. It was obvious we were getting along famously, at least via email. So the next test would be a phone conversation.
After two weeks, I decided it was "safe" to give him my phone number. He called me on Sunday morning, while he was driving to a team roping event. We chatted on and on and on... until he was at his destination. Then he called me later on his way home. It was obvious, again, that we had no problem talking and chatting. In fact, we seemed to have difficulty shutting our traps and hanging up!
And so it went, for about 6 weeks. Constant emails and phone calls.
Then at the end of March, he flew to Ohio to meet me. We were both slightly nervous, excited yes, but nervous all the same. Little did we know we had nothing to fear. We hit it off famously when we met face to face and we had the funnest, most wonderful weekend.
From that point on one of us would fly to spend a few days together; we tried to meet every 4 to 6 weeks. Needless to say it started to get expensive, and getting the time off work became difficult as we burned through our vacation time.
It didn't take us long to realize we really worked well together, we loved each other, and we needed to be together every day, not just once a month or so.
And so in early 2008, I put my lil house in Ohio up for sale... I flew to Kansas mid-March to marry my sweetie... and I finally sold my house in late June. We moved my furniture to Kansas on July 4/5, 2008, and I officially became... Oz Girl!
I'm the luckiest gal in the world.
I was able to leave a job that was literally sucking my soul from me. It was the most draining, negative and corrosive environment that I've ever known.
Not only was I able to leave that horrible job and stress behind, but I was now able to live in the most beautiful, calm, relaxing and quiet prairie land smack-dab in the middle of the United States. Where, instead of hearing traffic sounds, I hear nature sounds. Every day.
The chirp of so many different birds, the chorus of frogs, the call of the pheasant, the yip of the coyote... and of course, our own dogs barking and cats meowing, and the horses whinnying!
The hum of the tractors as they plow their fields... ok, maybe not a nature sound, but still a pleasing sound.
Along with nature's rhapsody, night time brings a visual feast... the bright fireglow of wheat field and pasture burnings, and above all else, the clear sky constellations of stars and a full moon that mesmerizes, without the distraction of glaring city lights.
We both realize that we are living the dream... an authentic country life on 27 acres in the middle of vast prairie land.
No neighbors peeking in our windows.
No solicitors knocking on our doors.
No cars or trucks revving their engines.
And we don't take a single bit of this for granted.
We are thankful every day for this little slice of paradise that we call home.
Five years later, I'm still growing and learning, trying to create a more authentic country version of myself. We've planted a small garden... and we have a small flock of guineas and chickens. I still need to learn to ride again; it seems there's never enough time to drag out the saddles and bridles. A round pen is badly needed so we can work with the horses safely, and we hope to get one set up within the next year.
I'll still try to keep everyone "in the news" as we do our country thang.
And if you have a dream to live in the country, then make it happen. Forget all the reasons you can't. Instead, make a list of the reasons that you should, and then...
if you're dreaming it, dare to do it!