Saturday, September 13, 2008

What is Life in Kearney, Nebraska Like?

The "Archway"--You have to drive under it when you are on the I-80!

The Cornfields with the Sandhill Cranes eating the corn
Bell Tower at UNK
The MONA--The Museum of Nebraska Art. It's actually very impressive

People often ask me about my life in Kearney, Nebraska. If you're really not interested about a continuing saga of my life in the cornfields...just quit reading now! I guess people ask because I am a San Diego girl at heart and being cold and living the snow has not ever been one of my goals in life. SORRY!

First, I just want to let everyone know that Daren did not kidnap me and bring to the middle of nowhere. I followed him. There it's said and now he and his friends can just be happy! :)

Kearney, Nebraska is in the state of Nebraska. If you know anything about geography, Kearney is exactly in the middle of the state. We are 180 miles west of Omaha; 130 miles west of Lincoln, and about 200 or so miles east of the Wyoming border. Kearney is 1733 miles from Boston and 1733 from San Fransisco. It's really in the middle of no-where! I am surrounded by cornfields on all sides and no mountains anywhere. It's so flat. REALLY, REALLY FLAT!

There are approximately 30,000 people in Kearney. Kearney is mostly a small city of farmers, ranchers, doctors, and university people. The make-up of the town is mostly WHITE! I know that sounds so racist. I don't mean it to me. I am just stating the facts. We do have a lot of migrant farm workers in some the outlaying towns. The nice thing is that we do have 6,000 students at UNK. Out of those 6,000, 600-700 of the students are from countries all over the world. I teach mainly Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans. I LOVE IT! My family is so blessed because of this.

Now to the important points about Kearney. There is a mall--about 30 stores. Herbergers-kind of like Yonkers or Dillard's and a JC Penney's. We do have an Old Navy, Gap and a few speciality stores like that! I have the convenience of Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart. There are four other grocery stores in town where I shop when at all possible. For me to make a run to the mall or grocery store, we are talking 2 minutes max. NICE! We do have a Hobby Lobby and a Hastings Bookstore. We have a 4-plex and an 8-plex for movie-goers as well as a bowling alley. We did have one of the last drive-in movies but it was destroyed by a tornado in May. One of the saddest days of my life. Drive-in movies in the summer have been a family tradition for the last seven summers. So sad.! On the other hand, if you are looking for fine dining you need to drive three hours or so due east. We have your basic Carlos O'Kelly's, Apple-bee's, and the like but nothing exceptional. What I wouldn't give for an "Olive Garden," or "Macaroni Grill." EEK!

On a typical day I drive the kids to school. The high school is less than a 1/4 mile away and the elementary school is about 1/2 mile away. It's nice. The kids just have to cross some busy streets in the mornings...and with all that traffic...Believe me, it does get crazy in the mornings, I like to know that they get to school safely! UNK--University of NE at Kearney is a mile and a half away. Yes, we really should walk or ride our bikes. We really should!

We have several private gyms in town if you like to work out. We can always use the university and the hospital also has a very nice facility. There is a great YMCA just over the hill--mound--from our house, so that makes it nice if the kids want to go to some classes or something. We have 9 wonderful parks in town with more being built. There are three outdoor public swimming pools in town. We live at Harmon Park Pool all summer. It has a great slide! There are also a few indoor swimming pools for winter use.

Daren and I love living in a small town. We put few miles on our car and we love it! We should put even less than we do but with four kids going in a hundred different directions, time is sometimes the main issue. Kearney is small town USA at its finest! People know each other and seriously stop to say hello and ask how you are. It's a nice feeling. People watch out for each other. For the most part they are kind to each other. We love knowing our kid's teachers, their sport's coaches, their friend's parents...and...I think you get the point. Its also good to live in a small town because you can't say something bad about someone because that person is probably related or a friend of someone you know.

The schools in Kearney are great! There are 9 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and a high school. There are also some private schools, if you really feel the need. The kids here are motivated to do well and they want to achieve great things. Our kids friends are the best. We have good friends as well. Daren and I sometimes worry about the emphasis that some parents put on high school graduation. There are huge parties for every graduating senior. Life in a small town isn't without its problems. There is a lot of underage drinking and at least one death of a young person every year because of it. You won't hear police cars and fire engines too much. And when you do you really take notice. The main noise that you hear day and night is that of the thousands of trains that pass through Kearney everyday. It's just crazy! The smells they bring with them can be overwhelming! --CATTLE CARS, there's no smell quite like it.

So, while I never get my car much over 50 mph on any given day, and I have to do without traffic, pollution, and crowds of people. I do love life in a small town. I do miss my friends, large LDS wards and living close to a temple.

So if you happen to be in the neighborhood, please don't hesitate to drop in. I'll leave the light on for you! :)

1 comment:

Smith Family said...

Hi Ann. I liked your post about your fun little town. I love small towns. Adam went to medical school in Kirksville, MO (17,000 people) and we had a great time there. Your town sounds huge and a lot better than Kirksville though because we only had a Wal-Mart for shopping.

I too got lost in Breaking Dawn. My husband knows to expect that I will be missing for a couple of days when I read one of Meyer's books.

I loved your pics or Colin and Christopher! I couldn't believe that they were so grown up and handsome now when they used to be our litle primary kids. I guess that was a long time ago now. Take care!