Making Big Sandy Home
September 11, 2019
I was born and raised in California about 30 miles from the beach, but I never felt it was home. Since I was sixteen years old, I planned on moving out of this state with the thought of only returning to visit family and friends while on vacation. My husband, on the other hand, was just the opposite, he loved California and the thought of leaving the beauty of the coast, and the perfect weather had never entered his mind. But the reality was we couldn't afford to live in the state and have the things we wanted in life. So in 2015, we decided to start taking vacations to try and find a place to call our new home. We traveled to Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon, but none of these places felt like home. In June of the following year, we decided to take a vacation to Big Sandy, Montana, where my husband had extended family. All packed and ready for vacation, we traveled 1290 miles from Fremont, California to Big Sandy, Montana.
After two days of driving, we arrived in this little town with dirt streets, smiling children who seem happy to be outside. They were walking down the street in swimsuits heading home as it appeared after a fun time with friends at the local pool. As we drove through this little town, people waved as we passed. We spent five days here, visiting, sightseeing, and fishing. We joked about finding "Mayberry." Jons family kept trying to convince us to move to Big Sandy. They had an empty house and said we could live there. We laughed it off and went on enjoying our vacation. We couldn't imagine living 80 miles from the city, 40 miles from the nearest Walmart and all our friends lived in California and our families in the neighboring states.
Vacation came to an end, and we started our long drive back home. Our conversation keep going back to this little town we're we had just spent the last five days and how it felt like we were on another planet. A planet where parents aren't afraid to let their children go out and play. Where people are friendly, and life is lived at a slower pace. We laughed about how people waved to each other driving down the road rather than flipping the bird with road rage. All of a sudden in unison, we looked at each other and said, "We'd be crazy if we don't consider the offer made by the family." By the time we arrived home we had decided Big Sandy, Montana was the place we wanted to make our new home. The only problem was I needed a job before I could move.
Jon called the family and told them we had decided to come to Big Sandy, but Robin needs a job before we could move. They then told us about Big Sandy Activities, right up my alley as I was a care provider and not afraid of change.
We arrived in Big Sandy on Labor Day 2016; I started my new job a week later and loved my new position as a personal care assistant and the five ladies I worked for. We experienced so many new things in our first year, like bunny rabbits in our yard, deer walking down the road, snow and snow shoveling, to name a few. My parents came to visit a few months after we moved here and I will never forget my dad telling us "I give it a year then you will be looking to move back to the warm
Our second year, we discovered Montana from one end of the state to the other. We saw bears up close, a moose and many other animals you don't see in the concrete jungle we came from. We visited Glacier and Yellowstone. We experienced more snow than the year before, not to forget the fridge temperature of -52*. One night we even watched the northern lights from our front porch. Oh, and did I mention more snow than the year before. Our family and friends outside of Montana thought we were crazy, going from the beautiful California weather to this unimaginable weather. Nobody could believe how much we liked Montana weather. Well, maybe not the shoveling so much but its all part of our new adventure and the place we now call home.
We are now entering our third year in Montana, and we have made the dream of owning our own home a reality. I am still on call at the activity center and work full time at the medical center. We have made good friends and have great neighbors. Big Sandy has given a new meaning to the phrase " friendly neighbors."
We went from a California wave to standing in the streets of Big Sandy visiting with our neighbors. Witnessed a community coming together when the snow has taken over. It's amazing how everybody takes part in helping one another and in return, pays it forward.
So, to our family and friends in California: Yes, we do have internet, we do get snow. No, we don't have the beach or the so-called perfect weather, but we do have a friendly community where you know your neighbors and the children are respectful.