Edwardsville, pt. 1


In my last post, I mentioned that I was taking a staycation of sorts in Illinois.  Those three days are exactly what I needed – I feel so refreshed.  But why did I have to end?  I’m pretty sure I say this all the time, but the more I get to see Sean, the harder it is to separate. I’ve just got to keep in mind that vacation with Sean and his family is just a week away.  A week! Will I survive? Heh.

Between sno-cones and sleeping through watching movies, part of the Illinois weekend agenda was checking out Edwardsville, Illinois.

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Deciding where we’d like to live in the future has for sure been the biggest challenge of our relationship so far. Luckily, it hasn’t cause any fighting or serious conflict; we’ve really been trying to work together to find a place that makes us both the happiest we can be.

My dream locale

Sean’s dream locale

Close to or in a city

Small town

Pedestrian potential, preferably

with public  transportation

Not a big fan of public transportation,

But wants everything to be nearby.

Plenty of vegan-friendly restaurants

Sean likes to eat.  Anything. But he likes vegan food, too.

Good coffee shop

Good coffee shop

Sporty. Must have a gym and good running routes

Running routes a plus.

Temperate or warm climate.  Arizona > Alaska

He’s a heat-lover, too

East Coast, West Coast, no-coast.  I’ll go anywhere. In fact, I’d love to get away from the Midwest.

I don’t think he likes California (wierdo) Prefers

To stay near the family.

I’d be okay with an apartment or a house.

Wants to own a house.

I like a little danger.

Safety first. (This rules out a lot of cities)

The all-important X factor: MUST have some kind of personality and culture. Artsy or quirky. A (live) theater is a plus. And nightlife – I don’t need streets full of clubs and absinthe bars, but the town should not shut down at 8 pm.

Huh?

(By the way, St. Charles does not have the X-factor.  Everyone just goes to Target and McDonald’s and knows nothing about Broadway, tempeh, Pablo Neruda, jazz clubs, or Vihno Verde,  Sorry, St. Charles folks, but it’s just so Midwestern suburban boring here.)

As you can see, it’s city girl vs. country boy. But really, even though he likes quiet, smaller towns and grew up in one, he’s got a lot of city in him, too.  He’s way more refined than I thought he’d be when I first met him.  The man’s got potential. Winking smile

Sean’s been gunning for Edwardsville for a long time, and I’ve been really reluctant about it.  It fits his big requirements (small town, close to family, safety), thereby not fitting some of mine.  I’ll admit that one of my weaknesses in life is my unwillingness to let go of my perfectly-laid out plans and dreams. So although I agreed to visit Edwardsville with him a few months ago, I had already chosen not to like it. In truth, I don’t even want to relive those negative thoughts.

But you know what? Life isn’t supposed to turn out exactly how we imagined. 

Over time, I started thinking about what was best for us. Edwardsville may not be New York, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong place for Sean and I.  I’m not saying that I decided to settle with Edwardsville – I simply needed to be more open minded that it could be a good place to live happily.

I decided, then, to take a day on my own to explore the town.  And you know what?  I kinda like it.  More than kinda like it.

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The first thing I did was hunt down a coffee shop.  Naturally. 

And I did!  It’s pretty much perfect – just a few walking minutes away from some of the houses we like, cool vibe, and bottomless cups of my favorite brew: Highlander Grog! As an added bonus, they have a vegan-friendly menu.  Check out my veggie burger and salad:

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I love veggie burgers that are actually made out of vegetables – and this one was fantastic.

Along the same street, I also found a bookshop, wine bar, countless shops, and a healthy restaurant owned by two bodybuilders! Oh, and a Walgreens, too.  And all of it is within walking distance from where we’d likely live! 

The newer “downtown” area is chockfull of necessities, like grocery stores, restaurants, a Books-A-Million, and some clothing stores.  It has enough of a small-town feel for Sean without making me feel like I’m stranded in Mayberry. I need some hustle and bustle in my life. 

Overall, I’m really warming up to Edwardsville.  A lot needs to happen before we move, namely jobs and marriage, but it feels so good to know that there is one place where we can both be happy.  And he promises to take me to St. Louis if I ever start going into city withdrawals. 

Oh, and if Edwardsville doesn’t have enough to offer,  there came the store to squash all remaining doubts.  It deserves it’s own post, but I’ll give you a hint: VEGAN RUEBEN SANDWICH.

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