Soon-to-be new parents.
And new South Dakotans.
The past year has brought a lot of life changes for Matt and Mikel Crispo, but as they settle into Sioux Falls, they’re nothing but positive about the future.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect,” Matt said. “We’d never been to South Dakota. We didn’t know anyone that lived in South Dakota.”
The two are both nurses and grew up in the Salt Lake City area. Their career paths led them to Sioux Falls when Matt decided to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and was accepted into a program at Mount Marty University.
“It’s crazy because moving here there was so much change,” Mikel said. “I gave up a job I loved, I had just gotten married and had to get a new job, and suddenly we’re pregnant, and we have a baby (coming) and no family, no friends here, and we bought a house.”
But from the start, Sioux Falls has been welcoming, they said. A Realtor connected with them and helped them buy a house via a virtual tour.
They moved in April and settled into a west-side neighborhood not far from Roosevelt High School.
Matt started his CRNA program last month. It’s a blend of online and in-person learning, largely in Sioux Falls.
“I really like my classmates,” he said. “No one sees each other as competition, and everyone just wants to get to know each other and help get through these really hard three years. We have a giant group text, and we’ve gone out, and I’ve already met classmates that have kids due too, which was really nice.”
Mikel, a former pediatric emergency medicine nurse, now works as a gastroenterology nurse.
“The schedule is a lot better, and we’re expecting, so this is going to work better with a child,” she said. “I work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so I won’t have to leave a baby for a 12-hour shift.”
Matt and Mikel have moved to a place that’s outstanding for nurses, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“There are so many opportunities for nurses here, whether you’re looking to expand your skills or find a new way to put them to use,” she said.
“Our health care community absolutely embraces and appreciates those with a nursing background, and we welcome anyone else who can relate to Matt and Mikel’s situation and is looking for that next great career and personal move.”
The best part about moving to Sioux Falls, though, has been connecting with the community, the couple said.
“We love downtown,” Mikel said. “I like to do that every weekend. I love the little stores. We’re trying new restaurants every weekend, and we’re trying to go out and meet people and do things.”
They’ve already been to First Friday downtown, a Levitt at the Falls concert and even participated in the Downtown Burger Battle during their first visit to the city in January.
“We try to do something new each week,” Matt said. “Sioux Falls is small but not insanely small. People go to the events being held. I wasn’t sure how many people would be at a block party or the Levitt, but there were a lot, which is cool.”
Their border collie mix is enjoying all the dog-friendly places around town, and they’re looking forward to outdoor exploration at area state parks.
Matt, a former college football player, has a list of games he wants to attend – from Augustana and University of Sioux Falls football to the Stampede, Canaries and future Augustana hockey.
“I love the promotion nights at the Canaries – there’s even games you can bring your dog,” he said.
For his own workouts, GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness has been a great fit, he said.
“I’ve been going to group classes at a GreatLIFE gym and people would welcome me and ask where I was from and say how nice it was to have us and give us good restaurant recommendations and things to see,” he said. “In Utah, the gyms are so crowded there are times you can barely get a machine and weights, and it’s a zoo. And I feel like GreatLIFE has so many gyms it keeps the crowds down. Everything is clean, and it’s three minutes from our house, so I can just get up and go.”
They both said the biggest standout about Sioux Falls is its friendliness.
“We talk to people wherever we go,” Mikel said. “I wondered how we were going to make friends here, but everyone is really friendly and nice.”
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