With only two days before we leave, my heart explodes with excitement, joy, and gratitude for what lies ahead for Husband and me, but tightens with heartache for all we’re leaving behind.
Oh, Forest City.
You know, Spring Valley Road is my favorite road in this entire town. It’s only maybe one mile long but I love that there are very few street lights on it because it makes it the perfect place to drive if you wanted to see the stars clearly at night. I recall many summer and autumn nights in the past, driving down that road blasting Owl City over the car speakers with the windows rolled down. I can’t imagine a better road for it.
I love late night walks around town during the summer. It used to be late night solitary runs but they were deemed unwise and with an ailing back, not very feasible anymore, so I settled for walks with company. Besides the occasional car that drove by, North Clark Street through downtown was oddly peaceful during these walks. Then early evening walks were added and it was a joy to be able to spend so much time outside while the weather was so nice. I love how safe I felt walking throughout the town. I didn’t need to worry. Will I have that still in the new place?
And of course, the Wind Turbine. Who can forget my favorite place of escape throughout my undergrad years? When things got tough or I needed a place to go to get away for a few hours, I would grab a light blanket and a pair of headphones, throw them into a bag and run to the Wind Turb to go be alone with my thoughts, the wind, and more often than not, a sunset. Little did I know then that the place would hold more significance a few short years later when the Love of My Life would ask me to be his wife there. The Wind Turb is by far my favorite place in this little old town. Standing beneath it hearing the “swoosh, swoosh, swoosh” of the blades as they rotated made me feel so powerless yet so significant all at the same time.
The College is the only reason why I initially came to this town yet somehow it has played a part in why I stayed here past graduation. Until now. Memories swell in my mind and heart of: doing walking rounds in the dorm buildings as an RA, Kum’n’Go runs, late nights in the comm lab, a life-changing conversation on 2nd Thorson, movies in movie lounges, RA training, attending games, singing full-voice by myself in the Recital Hall or Atrium late at night; Memories of graduation caps and gowns and tears and laughter and hundreds and hundreds of photos. So many of the people I currently keep in touch with, I met at this College. I met my husband at this College. I had my first grown-up job at this College. It will always have a special place in my heart.
Ah – so many memories.
In the evenings, if you stand on the hill under the water tower near the College and look west, not only will you be able to watch the sunset, but as the sky darkens, you’ll be able to see “city lights at night.” (I’ve always had a thing for city lights at night.) In actuality, it’s just the many lights of the houses and the factory located on that side of town and there aren’t that many, but I loved looking at them. If you want to see spectacular lights and spectacular sunsets, you should go check it out.
Then there are memories at the tennis courts, the Y, Sum Hing, and Cabin Coffee. And the people, so many friendly, wonderful people who made this town bearable through times of restlessness or loneliness.
Honestly, it’s gonna suck leaving this Little Town. This is all I’ve known of living in the U.S since I moved back here seven years ago. Living here, when something would trigger a memory, I would say “oh, that reminds me of Kenya or Madagascar.” Now, all I’m going to be saying is, “man, that reminds me of Forest City.” I will really miss you, Forest City.
Goodbye, Little Town. I already miss you dearly. You’ve served as a great first home for me here in the U.S. I look forward to coming to visit in the future.