Why Iowa? From a CA expat

I thought I’d chime in this topic that was floated a while ago.  I’m not sure who started it…but here’s my two blog-cents.  Why Iowa?

  1. Agrarian roots seem to give Iowans even long removed from farming a warmth that says, "I’ve got a pot of coffee on and something in the oven…come in and sit a spell"
  2. Neighborhoods still have "marauding bands of kids of various ages" being kids, sometimes doing bad stuff, but mostly just being curious kids.
  3. There are few walls and fences.  Neighbors talk, see each other, and interact more.  We did not have this in our former home…and we relish it now.
  4. Quality of life.  This is a broad generalization…but the ability to "Pretty much do what you want when you want without having to plan too far ahead" is my definition.  Getting in the car at 5PM and heading into the heart of downtown Des Moines is no problem.  Getting into the car and just getting onto the freeway was a problem where I was from.  I routinely don’t remember the last time I got gas, and my wife has halved her petrol usage while doing whatever she pleases.  Everything is just close.
  5. Connectivity to a thriving business community.  I have met more people in the greater Des Moines business community in the last 6 months than I met in all of my career in CA.  From top business leaders to venture capitalists…from business blog coaches to branding experts…from renewable fuel experts to ..you get the idea.  If I’m looking to open the door to something, I’ve got multiple folks lined up with keys and looking to assist me. I hope I can give more back than I’ve taken.
  6. Housing.  One can easily procure a 3br, 2ba, 2car garage type home in a very nice neighborhood for $150k.  Additionally, one can find a $80k 2br home and a $500k 5br home.  All of these places could be within the same general area.  At the end of the day the "normal" American progression from starter home…to family home…to big dream home…and everything in between is obtainable. 
  7. Weather. I know, coming from CA the cold has gotten to me a little and frozen a few brain cells!  The bottom line is that I enjoy the differences in weather, the rain, the snow (we’ve only had 1 inch this year so far), and the seasons.  I’ve written before that weather is such a small part of normal life when you’re busy with the family that it really doesn’t matter as long as you can do what you want to.  I enjoy sitting around a fire on a cold night as much as I do around a patio table on warm summer evenings.  Also, if you do your own yard work (as I do now), you have a full 3 month reprieve from doing anything!  It’s not as cold and snowy here as up north in Wisconsin…and not as temperate as Kansas City.  I think it’s just right.

We chose Iowa about a year ago…and it has most certainly chosen to embrace us, welcome us, warm us, and provide us with new friends and opportunities that we never dreamed of.  It’s our turn to give back and we’re going to make that a priority in 2007 and beyond.

Thank you Iowa…and that’s why.

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