We are a Hawkeyes through and through. My husband, James, and I met freshmen year in the only class an engineering major and music major would have in common: Rhetoric. Our first dates were strolls through campus followed by dinner at Burge Dining Hall. James even proposed on the steps the Old Capital. Indeed during our undergrad years Iowa City was home, but like many Hawkeyes after graduation we left the cozy nest of Iowa City. Our adventures took us to England, Boston, and Minneapolis before we circled back to Iowa City where James would take a job with the University.
While I was thrilled to be coming back to Iowa City, I was also apprehensive about this move because I didn’t know what to expect. As a former military brat I’m no stranger to moving but this was my first time moving back to a place I once called home. What would be the same? What would be different? Would I connect with my college friends who stayed in town? Would Iowa City still feel like home? After all, cities similar to people grow and change; I was no longer the naïve graduate who left years ago. I had become a professional, a wife, and now a mom. What would life be like as an alumni living in Iowa City?
Returning as alumni certainly eased the moving process. Our basic knowledge of the area helped on the house hunt. We had many well-wishers cheering us on via social media throughout the move saying, “So happy you’re coming back!” Some college friends even helped us with meals and unpacking. A sense of familiarity also helped alleviate some of the moving stress.
A Mom’s Eye View of Iowa City. Now that we’re unpacked one of my favorite things about returning to Iowa City is experiencing it as a mom. The Iowa City Moms Blog has been a wonderful resource for learning about the town as a mom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Iowa City is a great place to raise kids.” It’s great to see this first hand as we explore the town. I love Iowa City’s parks, kid-friendly restaurants, farmer’s market, and my favorite, the Iowa City Public Library. There are so many gems beyond the University’s campus and discovering them has been a real treat!
A Move is Still a Move. Still no matter where you are moving, a move is still a move. I confess, after the initial excitement of returning to Iowa City wore off, the process of truly settling began. While there is so much that is familiar, both Iowa City and I have grown in the years we’ve been apart. We need to be reacquainted. Often I find myself missing the people and places we left behind. While I’m thankful for my friends here in Iowa City, I realize that they have established lives and it’ll be awhile before I’m fully grafted into the community. Making a place home, even a wonderful place like Iowa City, simply takes time.
In the City, For the City. As an undergrad I came to Iowa City for an education. I lived here, loved it, and left. Now that I’m making Iowa City my home, instead of asking what does Iowa City have for me, I’m asking what can I give back? As a long term resident I hope to have a positive impact on the community. I’m not sure what that will look like. Perhaps it will be welcoming new comers, volunteering, or simply being a good neighbor. Whatever life here brings, I’m honored to be in Iowa City and for Iowa City.
About Laura Wife, stay at home mom, music educator, and bassoonist, Laura Ankrum lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Prior to the arrival of her little boy, Laura taught elementary music and beginning band in the Boston area. Now her home is her classroom. Laura is passionate education, encouraging other moms, and eco-friendly living. She writes for the blog First Time Mom and regularly contributes to the Kelly Wels blog.