Moving to Springfield, Missouri
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One of my dear friends has just accepted a teaching position at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. She, her husband, and their two young boys (5 and 9 months) moved over a month ago, and she is feeling completely disoriented! Having lived in the Bay Area for the past 10 years, she is just beside herself with this completely different change in lifestyle. No Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, or Elephant Pharmacy, no organic foods, she can't find fresh delicious produce or her favorite Haagan-Dazs frozen yogurt, and she hasn't met anyone yet who shares similar values and interests. Her great hope is that the problem is she's spent all her time moving and not enough time yet discovering the ''hidden treasures'' of Sprinfield. Anyone lived there who can give her some recommendations for an even slightly more Bay Area-type lifestyle? She sends her thanks!
My folks are from St. Louis and my in-laws from Columbia, MO - so I would have tons fo advice for your friend if she moved to either of those and commuted (is that an option)?
Otherwise, I think your friend will have good luck getting in touch with the Missouri Sierra Club - http://missouri.sierraclub.org/ . Especially in the summer, they do lots of camping and outings in the great rivers in that area. Sierra Club folks are generally more ''Bay Area'' type; she should find like minded folks that way. I'd also encourage her to go to the theater (maybe through the university) and get to know that community.
And, of course, she can order natural products online with Amazon Prime or something. Cecilia
Springfield -- that's tough. We didn't live in Springfield but rather, in its smaller cousin, Warrensburg, but we faced similar problems. Some things that worked for us: to find congenial people, join the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and go to their meetings. Make an effort to get to know other new hires in other departments -- they are probably in the same boat as you. If there's a Unitarian Universalist church in town, you might consider joining, as you'll usually find lots of like-minded people who'll know where the organic food is hidden. Make regular pilgrimages to Kansas City or Columbia for your sanity. Katie