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Liz

Telegram reporter Liz Morales is settling into life in Columbus after moving here in mid-June.

COLUMBUS — I graduated from college on April 29. Three weeks into my lifetime of summer vacation, I got a call from a little town in eastern Nebraska.

“Hi, Liz. I’m Tyler from The Columbus Telegram and I would like to set up an interview to speak with you.”

I had never heard of Columbus, Nebraska. I had been to Omaha a handful of times and drove through the state two years ago while returning to Missouri from Washington. On my way through Nebraska, Columbus never crossed my line of vision. Ever the adventurer, I accepted the interview. Why not?

When people ask where I am from, I always have to think about it. I spent my first two years of life in St. Joseph, Missouri, then my family moved to Germany when I was 2. We came back to the United States a year and a-half later to another little town in central Missouri. I lived there for 12 years before we moved to northern Missouri to be closer to family. My folks are still in that town 15 years later. So to keep the answer shortish, I just started telling people I’m from Missouri. It’s not a lie.

In the past five years I have lived in southern California, southern Washington and Missouri, all to end up in Columbus, which is completely fine. I’ve been here since June 19 and have no complaints as of yet.

Needless to say, I am very used to being the new kid.

After I was selected for the reporter position at The Telegram, I was on the hunt for an apartment. I heard it was very difficult to find a place to rent in the area, but I love a good challenge. That is until it becomes nearly impossible. The day before I was about to rent out a white van down by the river, I found an apartment.

Mind you, I had never been to this apartment. I took a total of two trips to Columbus that included the interview and a little stroll with my folks to scope out the town. Each trip was pretty interesting.

Columbus is larger than my hometown by about 10,000 people, so understandably there are quite a few more businesses here. I just wasn’t expecting this place to have a Wendy’s. Or a library that is twice the size of what I’m used to. The fact that there is more than one thriving business downtown also took me for surprise.

The day I moved in to my mystery apartment my phone died in transit. I had no GPS and the sun was going down. Perfect. I had no idea where I was going so I pulled over and asked anyone and everyone I could find for help. After a good hour of frantically searching for this place, I finally found my apartment.

I had asked the landlord for videos of the building and my place, so I blindly wandered into my new abode. I settled as best I could with my parents’ help and took the week I had left before work began to explore Columbus on my own.

First things first, I had to pan Wal-Mart out. Every single one of them is set up differently and since I hate shopping I needed to map out the quickest route.

I didn’t want to head downtown except to see where The Telegram was located. The one-way roads that go here but not there confused me and I wanted to take my time with that. No need to obliterate my car or get to know the police my first week in town.

A few years ago one of my friends and I took a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo. We tootled around downtown Omaha and noticed there was a great amount of one-way streets. You really had to pay attention to where you were going or that would be the end of it.

I’ve been driving for 12 years and understand that paying attention is just part of the game. But with the one-way streets in a new place it just adds to the frustration. Missouri doesn’t have very many one-way streets, so I never got used to looking for them.

In time I got used to the streets here and which ones only go west or east. I consider that an accomplishment.

At third glance I found there is quite a bit to do here. That is if you know what you enjoy doing in your free time. There are restaurants I haven’t seen since my time in California, a few parks to run around and a YMCA that I have come to enjoy.

As I said before, I have lived in quite a few different places. I’ve ridden sand dunes in California and Arizona, climbed on top of a volcanic mountain in Washington and at age 3 was driven down the Autobahn in Germany.

My motto is this world is mine, so I’m going to see what it has in store. I plan to find new adventures in Columbus.

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Editor's note: The "New to Town" series features regular columns by Telegram reporter Liz Morales as she documents her transition to Columbus and what she learns along the way.

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