“I just moved from San Diego, California to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”
This statement is commonly found in the dialogue I have with new people I meet in the Lancaster area and it seems to set a uniquely different tone for the rest of the conversation. Their initial responses aren’t usually with words, but the extended silence coupled with puzzled expressions that scream the question, “What the heck are you doing here??” But politely they reply with a composed smile, “Oh, that’s nice. Why did you move to Lancaster?” My occupation bomb is soon to follow as I tell them I play on the National Field Hockey team. After a treacherous transition period moving from the Olympic Training Center in southern CA to The Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, PA, complete with tons of hotel rooms and microwaves, I finally consider myself settled into a new home.
I must say, whatever preconceptions you have about Lancaster, you need to give the city a real chance before you boil it down into an Amish infested farm town. Don’t get me wrong the California culture was overflowing with in-your-face excitement, and as a born and raised VA beach kid I found a connection to home with the ocean and sunsets one block away from my house. The marvel of Lancaster is a little bit more discrete, but there are plenty of hidden gems to be discovered. For one, farmers markets! Combine a bakery, grocery store and a mega yard sale, put it on steroids, bump up the quality, lower the prices, and voila you have a farmers market! I know, sounds incredible. And I shamefully admit that I am addicted to donuts. The sunsets over the countryside are breathtaking. The brewery scene has allowed me to taste a sip of heaven. The definition of brunch should include: perfected in Lancaster. As a churchgoer myself, I appreciate Lancaster’s emphasis on faith. If anything goes wrong with my car, I can guarantee that there is an auto shop in sight. There is so much history to experience here. I love that people in the area actually know what field hockey is! I don’t have to go into my poorly scripted explanation of a mix between soccer, lacrosse, and ice hockey.
I probably didn’t come close to convincing you that Lancaster, PA should be your next vacation destination, but all this to say that I am very happy here. My CA to PA move has taught me one thing: Always choose to see the blessing where you are.