Changin’ the View Redux

A New Life in Rural Arkansas

If you read Changin’ the View on Napoli Unplugged, you know we can be prone to “rash” OMG decisions. While this decision may have been a bit less rash, it was definitely another OMG moment. One day we were living the dream in Naples, Italy with plans to retire there, the next, all of our belongings were on a slow boat back to the States and we were “leaving on a jet plane”… destination – rural Arkansas.

OMG!!! What did we do?

But this time, the itch didn’t hit hard. It was quite the opposite in fact. We had no desire to cut and run, but life had other plans for us. We were at the weak end of a tug of war, and in the end, our heartstrings pulled us back over the pond.

Still… OMG!!! What did we do?

In our last two moves we had downsized from a huge suburban house in Northern Virginia – our 20,000 pound ball and chain –  into a 1,200 square foot city apartment in Posillipo. Five years later we cut that space in half when we moved into the cobbled alleys of Chiaia. No car, no mortgage and practically no housework, most of our life was lived outside in the cafes and on the city’s streets.

OMG!!! What did we do?

We have come nearly full circle. Well almost. We didn’t end up in the suburbs somewhere on the east coast. We landed smack in the middle of the country, more south than north, in a small town in rural Arkansas. Why Arkansas you ask? That’s a story for another day, but suffice it to say, life here is the antithesis of my life in Naples, and in some ways, it feels more foreign to me than Napoli ever did.

A far cry from the nearly one million souls I cohabitated with in Napoli Town or the 300,000+ in Northern Virginia before that, the 2010 census counted a grand total of 2,184 residents living in my new home town, Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. Sound small? Not around here it isn’t. HSB is the largest town in the county (Izard); the next town over, Franklin, is home to 198 residents. No stop lights, no street lights, one woman I met described our little town as sedate. That just may be so.

Still, I’m still trying to adapt. A city dweller and east coast girl through and through, I find myself a good 8+ hours from any shoreline – and by shoreline I mean that of the salty sea, not a river, lake or stream. My view of Italian palazzi and cobbled alleys has been supplanted by cows, barns, trees and winding country roads, my window to the world is now my front porch instead of my little balconetta. And be it a city, suburb or pretty much anything else for that matter, I’m almost, quite literally, 3 Hours from Anywhere.

But as remote (and backwards) as it may feel some days, little by little, bit by bit, I’m learning to love my new life here in rural Arkansas.

OMG… I miss my Bella Napoli, but I think I can love it here too!