April Jeppson: Making Albert Lea feel more like home

Published 8:45 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I have always enjoyed relocating to a new city. Sure, it kind of stinks to go through all my belongings and carefully pack them up only to have to unpack them again. I don’t know if anyone enjoys that part. However, moving to a new city has always excited me.

April Jeppson

There’s something fun about getting kind of lost in your new town. Learning the street names and which roads wind around and take you to unexpected places. Trying out new restaurants until you find the one that has the best hot wings. Or which gas station is your favorite. That’s such a random adult thing, but it’s true. I have a favorite gas station, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 

Email newsletter signup

I was talking to a friend the other day about moving. My eyes lit up when they said they had never lived in a town longer than five years. I was the same way. When we originally moved to this town our plan was to only stay for five years. At that time my husband would have been eligible for a promotion and a transfer. We were going to use this town as a stepping stone, gain some experience and move on to bigger and better things. 

That was over 11 years ago. At some point, I looked at him and said, “I could die in this town.” I didn’t mean it in a bad way — it was me realizing that I would be OK living here forever. After that, I started to get comfortable here. It was almost freeing to know that I wasn’t going to move anytime soon. It was the first time I was actively building roots. I started to make my house a home. 

I thought about all the stuff I wanted to do but wasn’t going to since I would be moving soon. If I’m not going anywhere, I guess I can paint the living room. We can also put on a new roof. I can repaint those dressers to something more fun. Heck, if we are really doing this, why not build the deck of our dreams. The possibilities were endless.

Making the decision to stay also made me want to belong to this community. If I was going to live here, I wanted to get involved. I started joining groups and attending meetings. Now that this was my city, I wanted to join the fight and help make it better. I was no longer going to be a nameless nomad, but a proud citizen of this town. 

In the last half a dozen years I have thought about moving on occasion. Sometimes it’s to be closer to family. At other times it’s the realization that if I ever want to have Thai food delivered to my home at 9 p.m., I’ll probably have to move to a bigger city. I ebb and I flow, but so far, I’m still content with our decision. It’s really starting to feel like home. 

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.