Almost exactly six months ago, I saw the ad online for the job I have now.
When I saw it, I called my mom and told her the job was in a "city" called Centralia.
"Centralia?" she responded. "Doesn't it flood there?"
I googled it. It definitely floods.
My Google search also made me realized it was halfway between Seattle and Portland, which, to a big city kid like me, literally meant the middle of nowhere.
When I was invited to do an in-person interview, I skipped class and drove across the state. I pulled off the Centralia freeway exit and immediately got lost. I ended up driving through a trailer park that had a scowling woman standing outside it who was dressed head to toe in a camouflage sweatsuit.
After driving through town (which took less than 10 minutes before I was in rural/farm/more middle of nowhere-ness) I called my dad, hysterical.
"I CAN'T DO THIS!" I shouted into the phone when he answered. "THIS PLACE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A STARBUCKS."
"Well, don't do it then," he said. "No one is forcing you to move there."
But he didn't. It was my job interview, he said, and my first adult decision.
"I WAS ALMOST ATTACKED BY A LADY WEARING CAMO," I shouted at him before hanging up.
I eventually calmed down, found a Starbucks, went to my job interview, and accepted the job offer.
Centralia struck me as being excruciatingly small (which turned out to be true), and as the kind of place where everyone likes Nickelback (also true).
Six months later, I am still here. And I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
I never thought months after finishing college, I would come home from a long day of writing about violence and drugs, and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner.
I never thought I would live in a house built more than 100 years ago that had the primary source heat as a wood stove. Or that I would know how to use a wood stove.
Or that my best friend would be a four-legged knucklehead who eats garbage and kitty poo.
Most of all, I never thought a city girl with strong democrat-root would be content living in this quirky place. I guess happiness can come in strangely-shaped camouflage packages after all.