Ok. Let's talk about Des Moines.
I know you're all dying to hear what it's like.
My mother in law said Des Moines reminded her of Silver Spring.... 40 years ago. I can see that. Even though the city is established, people do move at a bit slower pace here and our immediate neighborhood kind of reminds me of a bunch of cabins where my family used to vacation in "up-north" Michigan.
There are some REALLY nice areas with gorgeous houses closer to downtown Des Moines, where Josh is in school. Truth is, Josh and I almost rented a house in that area because when we came house hunting in May it was the ONLY thing we could find. The house was small, but it was completely renovated in a gorgeous neighborhood with tennis courts and fences. Hey, just because we're going to medical school here doesn't mean we have to slum it right??
Wrong! We're broke remember?!
We were leaving DC where we payed almost $1600 for a two-bedroom apartment. Now we were moving to Des Moines - where we figured we could pay half as much. And don't worry... we came to our senses. I only wanted that house because I was desperate to find a place before our trip to Des Moines was over. I'm a neurotic planner and the though of leaving the city without a place to live in 5 weeks was extremely unnerving. Thank Gd Josh found our house on Craigslist three days after we came BACK to Silver Spring. (Josh had to fly back to Des Moines a few days later to sign the deal...)
And for all who are curious, we're paying less than half the amount we paid at the Warwick for a three bedroom, two-car garage, full backyard duplex. Go us!
Ok let's talk about Walmart. I know every city has its "IT" place. Like in Detroit, it's the 7-11 on the corner of Lincoln and Greenfield. In Silver Spring it's that starbucks that's always crazy on the corner of Rockville Pike and Randolph. In Des Moines... it's Walmart.
Now this is where my snobby side is going to come out. I didn't even know where the Walmart was in Maryland. I always thought Walmart was a place to pick up soda and firewood when we were in "up-north" Michigan. But guess what everyone? Walmart is now my EVERYYYYTHING. There's a Walmart SuperCenter around the block from my house. And it's so ridiculously cheap!!! We get everything there - produce, groceries, baby products, school supplies, electronics, toiletries. Yup, we're one of a kind, small-town, can't live without Walmart hicks!!
This place is hysterical. You wouldn't believe the amenities in it. You could literately spend an entire day there if you wanted to. There's a Subway, a bank, a hair salon, nail place, portrait studio, pharmacy, and garden section. Ask my mother in law... she spent about 3 hours there EVERY DAY for a week.
And I'm sure you guessed it - it's open 24 hours a day. Lovely. When you have an uncontrollable urge to try out guitar hero in the electronics section at 3:30 am - you can go to Walmart. And believe me... people do.
To be honest, I know my way around the city really well. I work from home until about 1:30 so I have the entire afternoon to go exploring with Aviva. Obviously, I've been to every mall here (we alternate each mall about every 3 days). I'd love to say I go to the mall to shop, but it's usually so Aviva can play in the play area. (I use the word usually... because I can't lie completely). We've also been to the zoo, many parks, many libraries, many coffee shops, and many TCBY visits (that one's for you Tamar!)
I actually think I know my way around better than Josh.
The city itself is also really nice. There are a lot of attractions down town and of course, we love to visit Daddy at school. (Aviva's favorite part of DMU is the "mitochondria mist" which is a misty fountain in the front courtyard of the school. Seems like some very scientific people were involved in the landscaping at school.)
I can't believe my 18 month old will grow up and say that she lived in Des Moines for a few years of her early life. I really hope people don't look at her strangely (no offense Des Moiners out there). As Josh puts it, if you would have told me 5 years ago that I'd be in medical school with two kids living in Iowa, I'd probably laugh in your face. But here we are - big town Midwest/East Coast people who left a wonderful Chevra of young frum couples behind living in the Walmart-crazed city of Des Moines.
It's not so bad. We're liking the slow pace. I'm sure it won't last the rest of our lives...