Growing up in the big city made the transition to small town America very difficult at times. At first, the lack of department stores, limited school options for the children, and a microscopic Muslim community was depressing. However, after some time, the small town charm grew on me. Fewer crowds, green hills, cows grazing, deer prancing through our yard, a parking spot at jumma, a small family-oriented iftaar seemed like a nice place to raise a family. It is a breath of fresh air in so many ways.
While I have no regrets about the move, there are moments when I miss the old familiar things. Especially being with beloved friends. It takes time, especially in a small town to mesh into the circles of people. They are not as use to newcomers and less open to strange faces. After two years of being the smile most passed by, finally a meaningful moment arouse. The Eid celebration brought most of the community together. I sat with some teachers from Islamic School and asked, does anyone want to start power walking with me? I was so surprised to find that four sisters looked at me and immediately said YES! This was definitely a light bulb moment. Maybe if I thought about this two years ago I’d have more friends.
Slowly, slowly a group of beautiful sisters bonded with me as our power walks continued. We meet once a week and power walk around the city’s Coliseum, a huge domed arena, the city’s prize attraction. Fortunately for us, we can walk indoors or outdoors. So rain or shine, I always have a moment in my week where I can unwind with with special sisters. We share stories of our kids, in-laws, take advice on landscaping and pest control, food habits, husband idiosyncrasies, recipes, and we are even taking our kids to the Harlem Globe trotter game together. It’s nice. Over time I hope it can even grow deeper. A simple common goal brings so much joy to all of us. It seems this city does not have many organized sister activities. Hopefully, me and my power walking crew will change that.
Sharda Mohammed is a Canadian-born mother of two young children. She has a keen interest in learning to foster leadership, self esteem and empathy in young children. She works part-time as a Physical Therapist.