Archive | March, 2012

Growing Pains

7 Mar

There are certain challenges that come when uprooting and settling into a new state and new life routines. These things easily slip your mind in the moments when you are excited to set out into the unknown and especially so when your major moves really only take place once every decade or so.

Lately it just feel like my relocation challenges are presenting themselves on a daily basis. It could be that I moved to a state whose culture differs so greatly from every other place I have known intimately. I think that’s the easy answer. It’s not South Dakota, it’s me.

There are trivial annoyances that add up to extreme amounts of frustration. For instance, finding a favorite hair salon, esthetician, grocery store, favorite weekend breakfast nook… These are all things that you take for granted when you’ve established roots. When you’ve got roots, it’s easy! I have amazing choices back in Minneapolis, but here we are limited by the small population.

There is also the issue of my expectations of service. I know, I’m back to customer service. But in all seriousness, having worked in the arena all of my adult life I have developed a certain attitude about it. That is, if I have to be nice to people all day long and adhere to the principles of customer service, I expect the same from the people who serve me.

I have traveled extensively in this country and I recognize that service is regional, much like a dialect. On the coasts and Great Lakes regions there is one standard and in certain areas of the South there is another. I get it and I generally embrace it. But South Dakota- and maybe it’s rural America more than anything else- there is some work to be done. I am not afraid of bringing up issues of customer service or speaking with the manager when something goes wrong (or right for that matter!). But I learned a lesson recently about small towns.

Everyone knows each other and people talk.

My poor experience at a local salon (I was ignored 20 minutes past my appointment time while the employees talked with their friends) and my subsequent complaint to the ownership was big news amongst some acquaintances. I didn’t even realize I had any acquaintances at this particular salon, but there it was, the topic of conversation at a brunch I happened to attend. And that was awkward.

And that is the perfect description of my life here in SD: Awkward.

Making new friends is awkward! That eyebrow wax turned out awkward! Politics here are awkward (and stupid)!

So what do I do? I hate having to hold back my opinion, but I don’t want to make enemies all over the Great Plains. I miss the anonymity of the big city. I’m a little bit home sick.