I am a totally normal person. I never even considered that my way of life was out of the ordinary. My way is so simple. On any given day, you could find me sipping on a yummy cappuccino in King’s Park (no matter the temperature), taking the kids I babysit to school, or just hanging out, writing at a coffee shop and people watching. Never did I ever think that any place could be so different that these simple things that I like, things that became my routine, would be so uncommon in anywhere but here. (Here, I refer to New England at large). Do you feel this way? Have you ever been so accustomed to a particular way of doing things, that you believed it to be normal? I, for sure, cannot be the only one. Our routines become a part of us. It’s rather beautiful, like a chaotic synchronicity. Chaotic, because we never know what to expect when we wake, but synchronized, because we are in control.
Just not in control of the weather. Need I mention, we may have endured three different seasons since we knocked off our alarm this morning. That’s just the charming way of New England, at any point in the year.
When I left Newport six months ago, I knew that I was going to be experiencing some differences in my daily routine, however; I was not anticipating in the slightest what was to come.
I left Newport in February, quite a sleepy time in town. As nervous as I was, I was also rather excited to move to my destination. I am always up for a new adventure. But, I do love the snow. As cold as it can get in New England in the winter, it will forever remain one of my favorite times of the year. (This is only because I have a car starter. Without that, I’d move on to an exciting paragraph about the glory of a Newport summer).
I was sad to go! I was leaving Newport during a time when my fantastic collection of sweaters was at it’s peak…when my nights curled up by the fire with Uggs on my feet, Malbec in my glass, and Jane Austen in my hand were the best meditation…when early morning squash sessions with a dear friend could set the mood for the day, and they were always just what I needed to start me up.
So anyways, I left. I put that life behind and set off in my cute little Volkswagen Jetta. We drove twenty seven hours to a place I had never been before. Oklahoma.
I had read about Oklahoma…wasn’t it the setting of a Steinbeck novel? I’m not sure, but let me tell you, it seems the same as it was back when it was discovered back in the nineteenth century. It is rather barren, absolutely sprawling and well…it’s nothing like Newport. Nothing even like the most remote part of New England. What was I getting myself into?
I was sort of anxious at this point. I was excited to finally get to my destination. I could not wait to experience what I had conjured up in my head. There must be cowboys everywhere, nice people, horses galore, tasty hamburgers…These thoughts took over and for a moment I did not miss Newport. I could not wait to get settled in and meet some new friends, check out the local bars, and claim my spot at the local coffee shop.
Except, what I pictured in my head was nothing of reality. For starters, European made vehicles in my new city are as rare as eating a bad meal at Midtown. (My oil change cost almost $200.00)! And, gasp, there are no coffee shops. I can go to the local Starbucks, but if you love to indulge in a nice cuppa or cappuccino like I do, then clearly you are out of luck. It’s no knock to Starbucks, but when you are used to Empire Tea and Coffee, Lorusso’s Cafe, or Rosemary and Thyme, you become utterly disappointed.
To be honest, the only thing that reminded me of home was the most foreign thing in the state! An Aussie. And the best part of our meeting? It was at a Ted Cruz rally at a casino. Random? Yes. I was not a supporter of Cruz, nor did I think I’d be caught dead at a casino. It’s okay though, because I met a friend! His accent and habits were a reminder of Newport, where it seems that every other person is a Brit, Aussie, Kiwi, or South African.
That’s when it dawned on me. There is no culture here. It is basic. The local restaurants include Chic Fil A, Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. The people seem sullen and complacent. There is no pride in this particular city where I live now. I was for sure getting used to being here, though. It was not until I came home 4th of July weekend to Newport that I realized how lucky I truly am to call Newport my home.
I woke up on a random yacht. My friend was making a delivery to Hyannis, so after a night enjoying ourselves at the Cookhouse, he, myself, and some other crew members walked over to Goat Island and continued a soiree on the water. That next morning, I was invited to sail up the coast with them that day. This was not the first time that this has happened, but this was the first time that I felt a pit in my stomach. It was a feeling of longing. I had to say no, all because that afternoon, I had to catch a flight back “home” to Oklahoma.
I bid my farewell to my friend and set off for my house. My walk down America’s Cup and eventually down Thames Street to the Fifth Ward had me thinking very hard. I was overcome with memories, and they aren’t even that extravagant. By Bowen’s Wharf, I saw images of Christmas time; the tree looking elegant against the bay, hot chocolate in hand, and just remembering feelings of super happiness due to all the families and friends around. That, among other memories made me realize that Newport is not just a community, but it is a family. We are all connected in some way for we identify with the Newport way of life. It’s not like this anywhere else.
In Oklahoma, at least in my city, I cannot just walk down the street and get a coffee or grab an insanely mouth watering breakfast sandwich from a place like Ash Mart. They just don’t have establishments like that, or neighborhoods even. I can’t ride my bike along the coast and feel the mist of crashing waves on my face. We have a lake, and it’s pretty, but it’s not my ocean.
Here, squash is a vegetable; it is not a social game to rev up your heart rate and keep you feeling young. (Luckily for me, the Aussie and I improvised on a racquetball court…he gets me).
I didn’t realize it until after I left and came back again: The Newport way of life. It’s perfect. It is unique. I miss it, and I crave it. I will never again take for granted my routine. I feel that routine is such an ugly word. It connotes a certain kind of complacency, like a schedule if you would. But it’s different.
I just miss the little things. I mention coffee a lot because that is something that you either make yourself, or you can purchase at a gas station. I miss walking around town, discovering new alleyways or secret coves. I miss the people, especially the social atmosphere that Newport promotes. I want to hike around Fort Wetherill again with my best friend. I want to be on the water, in the water, around water. How special it is, Newport, that town we call home. I’ll be back, but before I come home, I will continue on my adventures. Being away from something so special for so long is the reason why I adore even the slightest of it’s characteristics. To all you Newporters, love where you live. It’s a truly magical place.
Although currently living in Oklahoma, Alexandra Ventura still calls Newport home and hopes to return to the City-By-The-Sea someday soon.
Alexandra is a graduate of Salve Regina University.