Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2017

With airs and graces: The journey is never what you imagine, it’s often better

By Grace King | Aug 25, 2017

The first article I ever wrote was about running a flower shop the week before Valentine’s Day. I was 14-years-old and didn’t even have my learner’s permit yet. My mother drove me to the interview during my school lunch hour on a weekday afternoon. Afterward, we ate quesadillas at Taco John’s.

That was my first experience in telling someone else’s story. There was something beautifully human about it. That I was privileged to sit down and talk to someone about their experiences was eye-opening and humbling. Most people aren’t lucky enough to know the career path they want to take when they’re only children. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t sure what that meant or looked like until the interview where I stood with a notebook and pen in hand in the middle of a chaos of pink and red flowers and listened to a man passionately talk about the intricate work of preparing bouquets for their busiest day of the year.

A lot of life has happened since then. I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. I went to study Multimedia Journalism at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. I sat in my Intro to Journalism professor’s office and cried because I got a “C” on my first college article and thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. I listened as she challenged me to do more.

There were a few other times in the past four years that I considered working in a different field, but nothing ever made as much sense to me as being a journalist. It’s gritty and full of passion and deadlines give me a sense of purpose.

The first question I get when I tell people this Iowa girl moved to New York City for seven months to move back here for a job is “Why?”

When I got the call from Mt. Pleasant News offering me the position of Community Reporter, it came down to a choice between the city of my dreams and starting the career I’ve been studying and working unpaid internships to prepare for. I took into consideration everything I just told you. I took into consideration how much I hate driving and how much I love taking the subway — even when it’s commuting an hour to work every day.

I thought about how the cafe job I was commuting to involved pouring coffee for eight hours a day.

I considered the independence and freedom I had acquired while trying to “make it” in New York.

I thought about my parents and how much a plane ticket would cost to come home for Christmas.

I considered the bodegas where I would buy cup noodles for 30 cents on my way home from work at 11 o’clock at night.

I thought about how I had been searching for this type of job for five months in the city and still had no leads.

I thought about the joy found in sitting down to have a conversation with a stranger and walking out as friends, the satisfaction that comes with putting the finishing touches on a story, the rush I get when I see my name in print.

Since you’re reading this, that means I must have chosen career.

I’m an Iowa girl at heart. I didn’t realize how much I took that for granted until I looked up and only saw skyscrapers, until I looked across the street only to find more and more concrete. I missed the Midwest.

My heart aches for New York City. But when I feel the grass between my toes and hear the quiet, when I am invited to Sunday lunch by my neighbors and can now afford to buy Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because it’s half the price here than it is in the city, I can take a deep breath and be present and grateful you have welcomed me to your town.

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