Most of you have probably noticed that the tone of this blog has changed over the last few months. After the positive response I got to my post about the Jim Henson Museum, I decided to focus on travel and food. Hence all the posts about things I’ve done lately. The problem is I don’t travel or eat out all that much and so have run out of fluff. It is therefore time for some honesty.
My feelings towards the Delta are decidedly mixed. Cleveland is very isolated. The town itself is actually quite nice (more on that below), but the rest of the area … not so much. You have to travel far and wide to shop anywhere other than Walmart or Kroger or to get to a decent airport. My favorite activity (contra dancing) is unknown in the state of Mississippi and there are no good radio stations around here making a subscription to XM necessary. The internet sucks as does the cell phone reception. On top of everything it’s hard to feel like I fit in. People are very nice and polite, but most of my friends are from elsewhere. Clevelanders and transplants seem to move in largely (though not entirely) separate circles. And the fact that most of the people around me, no matter where they’re from, seem to be either married or in relationships does not help matters.
Yet there is also a lot to like about Cleveland. The town has a strong sense of community. Yesterday, for example, the local Young Professionals group had a kickball tournament. I got to see people I don’t often interact with and have fun. Despite the heat it was a good time and afterwards a bunch of us went out to the Froyo place in town. We then met up again at a party down at Delta Meat Market, which is a specialty grocery store and butcher shop downtown. It was a good time and a reminder of why I actually kind of like it here.
For all it lacks, Cleveland’s got a lot to offer. Between Delta State, Teach for America, and the big research complex the USDA operates down in Stoneville there is a diverse group of people living around here. My goal with this blog is to capture the complexities and nuances of life in the Delta. Of course it isn’t home and quite possibly never will be. But that’s ok. I’m here now and might as well enjoy life.