God I love the Midwest. So, so, so, so, sooooooooo much more than I love NYC.
It's so freeing to be back home and far far away from the world of public transit and rude people. It's refreshing to take a walk just for the hell of it without hurrying or being practically run over by New Yorkers who think they're more important than you are. It's lovely to remember that people around here are nice, no strings attached. I love this ability to finally let my guard down and relax a little. The awareness of feeling perfectly safe wherever I am is so comforting, and it's something I haven't felt since I was last here in January.
I've done a lot of cooking, which is a huge part of who I am and what I love (I'd probably be in culinary school if I hadn't chosen the cantorial school route.) I still don't feel comfy cooking in my apartment in Astoria, despite my best attempts to get over the mice that I still find on a semi-regular basis. I love the feeling of cooking healthy meals for myself and my family and enjoying the time I spend doing so. I've missed it dearly and hope to maybe muster up the courage to go back into the kitchen upon my return to NYC. We'll see.
I am 100% convinced that the Midwest is where I'm supposed to end up once I obtain my investiture. There's something about the ease and friendliness of this part of the country that is so much more ME. It's hard to imagine that I have to spend the next 3 years of my life living in a city that doesn't appreciate niceties or peaceful, easygoing people. I'd even be okay with Chicago or Milwakee or Indianapolis--I don't need to be back to St Louis. I just want to live in a city where I don't have to apologize for being a nice person. I'm done with the attitude I've had to develop in order to merely survive in NYC. It's so clearly not who I am, and I hate the feeling of walking around as someone I'm not merely to fit in to my surroundings.
Who am I kidding...I can't even fake an attitude like that. I guess that's why it ain't working so well for me.
3 more years and I'm outta that city quicker than you can say "Cantor Fishbein."
I get so excited when envisioning my office in my Midwestern synagogue, my Katchko books and Shireinu stacked neatly on a bookshelf while I make millions of photocopies for my volunteer choir and argue with the rabbi about what to sing for Friday night's service before settling in for an afternoon of B'nai Mitzvah students who probably haven't practiced since last week's lesson...