Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Why Did You Move HERE?"

I currently live in Columbus, Ohio.  Never, in my entire life, did I imagine I would live anywhere other than North Carolina – except maybe Hollywood as a film director.  However, looking back I can see where there have been precursors leading up to my relocating here.

The first Ohio-related experience I can recall was when my church youth group went on a mission trip to Beulah Beach, a small lake town outside of Cleveland.  I met people from London, Zanesville and other places.  Now, North Carolina has towns with unique names such as Bat Cave, Lizard Lick, and still my favorite: Fuquay-Varina, but Zanesville; that just sounds wonderful!  Now I’m sure the Zanies never get the uniqueness of their town name pointed out to them by visitors just like I’ve never heard, “Like the big red dog?” when I tell people both syllables of my first name; but I won’t go into that now. 

Okay I will.  I’d like to think there’s some zany origin story behind the name, but I’m guessing it’s a place founded by actor Billy Zane’s (and all other who claim relation to Clan Zane) forebears.  I do like to think they call themselves “Zanies,” though.  I guess I could drive over there and ask, but not right now.

For the trip we stayed at Beulah Beach for a few days and ventured into Cleveland a couple of times.  At the conclusion of the trip we spent a day at Cedar Point.  Cedar Point’s rollercoasters = WOW.  There are some decent theme parks in and around North Carolina, but Cedar Point – wow; just wow.

My second exposure to Ohio came when my sister attended school in Cincinnati.  I visited a couple of times and it was cool; I liked the atmosphere and it was a learning experience.  WKRP isn’t a real radio station – who knew?  It was also my first time in a big city outside of the South so when I would wave and smile at fellow pedestrians I got the strangest looks.

Up into the college years and beyond I started meeting all these people who moved from Ohio to North Carolina.  Most of them are educators and some in the hospital field, but what struck me was how nice and fun they were.  If these people are from Ohio, I reasoned, that must be a pretty cool place!

Then I moved here.

When I tell people where I’m from I’m invariably asked, “Why did you move here?  And that’s a post for another day, but summarily I moved here for an adventure.  “An adventure; in Ohio?” is the incredulous follow-up question.  Well, yeah.  Living 8ish hours away from everything and everyone familiar to me is an adventure in and of itself.  And rush hour traffic – whoo, doggy.  RDU has some formidable rush hours but Columbus rush hour is for daredevils, thrill-seekers, death-defiers.  I’m sure if anyone from New York or L.A. reads this they’ll probably scoff, and yes, I’m stereotyping those cities, but it’s kind of a big deal for me.  Actually, now that I think about it, Atlanta’s rush hour is kind of scary, too.  But I digress….

I like it here.  And in that I’ve learned the truth behind the saying, “It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with.”  I’ve been blessed with circles of folks who are fast becoming good friends.  When the time comes for me to ship out I know there are a few folks in Columbus who will stay in contact with me and I will want to stay in contact with them.  Yeah, it’s Ohio.  It’s a good place.  I mean, the Wright Brothers were born here then went to North Carolina and aviation was born. ;)  And while they don’t have Bojangle’s or Char-Grill they do have Krispy-Kreme.

And again, it’s about the people; they’re good people.  Not perfect people – I mean, who is?  But they’re the ones in whom I find fundamental things in common.  As DC Talk sings, “We all wanna be loved / We all just want a little respect.”  And where we find that love and respect – in the relationships we share and an even deeper, more visceral, spiritual root – His love poured into these people until it’s overflowing – that is where the real blessing dwells. 

Then I am reminded of home, and then I start missing the people of North Carolina, but then I am once again comforted by the company I keep.  It’s a wonderful cycle.


  1. Yeah, I've gotta say most if not all of the Ohioans I've met and gotten to know have been pretty exceptional.