This past week I traveled 1,392 miles from Iowa to Iowa. Nope, that’s not a typo. Last Wednesday I boarded a plane in Des Moines, IA and flew to Iowa Ave., a palm tree lined street in Riverside CA where my sister and her husband now reside.
I’m more likely to claim coincidence over fate, but neither my well-traveled sister nor I could help smiling at the inherent irony of her latest move. For years while she charted back and forth between the States and Europe, I remained firmly rooted in Iowa, occasionally joining her for a week in England, France, and finally Ireland.
Now, though in miles we are not so separate, our lifestyles appear leagues apart in our respective three-vowel homes. Or so I thought.
Only 17 months apart in age, we’ve always been close, but recently I’ve realized it’s actually the biggest changes in our individual lives that strengthen our bond even more.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry about how her recent nuptials would alter our relationship. Yes, I knew nothing would change the fact that we are blood relations, but platitudes of ‘You’ll always be her sister’ tend to fall flat after the first few iterations.
She was embarking on a journey I didn’t think I possessed the map follow. What I neglected to consider was that I was making big changes of my own (quitting my job and switching careers!) and in doing so, I actually chose the same path– to follow my passions.
I may not have a pool in my backyard, citrus groves mere blocks from my apartment, or unseasonably warm weather nearly all year round, but so long and she and I both continue to be true to ourselves, neither of us needs a map.
Afterall, we are both in Iowa.
I must admit, nothing pleased me more than seeing my first picture book stacked alongside robust texts of medieval art and history on the bookshelves lining her living room. My travel watercolor pad returned to Iowa with me, but I love knowing that a little part of me is still in California.