It’s been three years since our family arrived in Idaho from Indonesia. Some days it feels like we just stepped off the plane, jet-lagged and weary from goodbyes, wondering what this new place would be like for us.
Other days I feel like an old-timer, like we’ve lived here for years and years, especially when I’m driving around and saying things like, “I remember when that subdivision used to be a wheat field.”
Someone asked me recently how the transition has gone, and I realized it had been a while since I thought about it. I guess that means the transition is going just fine. In fact, my focus seems to be less on what I miss and more about what I love about living in Idaho.
To commemorate the three-year mark, here are three things I am loving about life in the Treasure Valley.
The classical music station, 90.3. Having an older car with an older stereo system, I rely on my radio to keep me entertained as I drive around. I have sampled all the radio stations out there, and I keep coming back to 90.3, Boise State Public Radio’s music station.
It’s like no other classical station I’ve listened to. The classical station I grew up with in Georgia usually just played chaotic orchestral pieces, full of sawing violins and no discernible melody to follow.
But 90.3 plays music you actually recognize, like the theme from “Downton Abbey” or the symphonic dances from “West Side Story” or the Grand Canyon Suite (featured in that iconic holiday movie, “A Christmas Story”). I love that the station chooses music to follow the seasons, and how they play the loveliest Christmas music on Christmas Eve.
The radio station provides the soundtrack to my driving life, and has introduced me to beautiful music, like “Leaves and Trees” by Rachel Portman and “Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams, which I just heard today.
Celebration Park. This park, the only archeological park in Idaho, was one of our first family outings in Idaho, and memorable because of how very lost we got trying to find it (lesson learned: you can’t always trust your GPS). Located just half an hour from Nampa, the park features a field of basalt melon gravels (i.e. big rocks), some of which have petroglyphs, or ancient pictures, carved on them.
I take almost every out-of-town guest we have to see the mysterious petroglyphs, followed by a walk along the Snake River and across the Guffey Bridge. The bridge is Idaho’s largest historic artifact and was designed to accommodate railroad cars filled with silver from Owyhee County. On our most recent visit, we were highly entertained watching fish in the river from seven stories up.
The Flying M Coffee Garage in Nampa. I missed the “M” just about more than anything during the pandemic lockdown. I love how it’s a gathering place for so many. I’ve often thought it would be an interesting place to do an ethnography, to sit down and pretend you don’t know anything about American culture and see what you observe. I see people conducting job interviews, business meetings, first dates, Bible studies and therapy sessions at the M. And, of course, there’s a lot of friends just meeting up for coffee, which is what I usually do. Their oat milk latte sustained me through my first Idaho winter, and their baked goods are the best in town.
So if you’re new in town, or even if you’ve been here a while, here’s a suggested itinerary for a perfect day: pick up the brewed beverage of your choice from Flying M, tune your car radio to 90.3 and enjoy the drive out to Celebration Park.