ARKANSAS CITY, Mo.
— When Marko and his wife, Maria, moved to Arkansas in 2015, they were stunned by the price of real estate.
Marko, a software developer, had just moved to the small Arkansas town of Arkadelphia, a suburb of Little Rock, and his plans for the future were in limbo.
But as he worked his way through his college degree, Marko saw the value of the local community, the diversity of the people he met and the chance to live in a place that could support his career.
Arkansas City, where Marko had lived for the past three years, is a small, mostly black community that has become a destination for many students from all over the country seeking to learn and work here.
That was Marko’s hope.
In April 2017, Markos daughter, Alicia, graduated from University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in accounting.
By the end of the school year, Marky, a 24-year-old software developer who works in marketing, had already started his first job, working at a local hotel.
The move to Arkansas meant Markos first time back in the United States had been the most rewarding of his life.
When his wife left for college in June, Markon had to take time off to care for his newborn daughter, Lulu.
And Markos goal of moving back to the state was also at stake.
He wanted to see what it was like.
I just wanted to live, he said.
With his business, he was able to earn some money while helping his wife care for Lulu and their newborn daughter.
It was an expensive move.
Markos family is among the largest in Arkansas, with more than 4,000 people living in the town of around 5,000.
But he didn’t expect to have to leave his home town for such a long time.
“I was expecting a long break, like the last five years, but I didn’t think it would be this long,” Marko said.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing, this will be great.'”
The couple moved to Arkadelphia in August 2017 and Marko quickly realized that this was a different place.
While he has no regrets about leaving Arkansas, he has some regrets about where he lived when he did.
As the population of the town continues to grow, Mark’s wife, Alicia was worried that the town would become too large and overwhelm Marko.
She worried that Marko would become isolated, that he wouldn’t be able to connect with other people.
So, in December, Mark was invited to speak at the local business fair, held every other month in August.
Alicia and Markos son, Connor, were invited.
During the two-hour event, Mark, Markova and Connor visited the local restaurants and grocery stores.
On a sunny August day, Markovas son, who was studying business administration, was in attendance.
They took selfies with the townspeople and celebrated the arrival of the new year.
This was a big day for Marko, who knew he was going to spend the next few years in the same place.
But his plan was in jeopardy.
His business, which employs roughly 250 people, was being forced to expand.
Despite the fact that the majority of Arkansans live in the rural areas surrounding the town, Mark wanted to stay close to home, he explained.
There were still some businesses that were still in operation in town, he thought.
To be able do what he wanted, he needed to make the most of his time in Arkansas.
At first, he had no idea how long it would take for his business to expand, so he was optimistic.
After the event, he began to feel that it would probably take a little more time.
He had a few ideas about how he wanted to spend his time, but no plans to actually move.
The family soon discovered that Markovs plan to live a life of freedom in Arkadelphia was unlikely to come to fruition.
Many of the businesses in the area were either closed or had not seen the kind of growth that Mark wanted, Mark said.
Some of the residents had also begun to complain about the lack of quality of life in the small town.
Several businesses in town were closed, Mark had to deal with his own problems and had to work on the job market to make ends meet.
Eventually, Mark decided to take a leap of faith and start a new business in the community.
Since his business was already small, he wanted his family to be able come along as well.
Some businesses, like The Dandy, started as small businesses that helped people, but the family’s business, called The D&D, has grown