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Relocation Stories: Our Next Adventure


Hello! My name is Angela Backstrom. My husband, Zach, and I moved to Council Bluffs in May of 2022. Zach grew up mostly in Minnesota, Colorado and North Dakota. I grew up in Chicago, North Dakota and Michigan. When we got engaged in 2007, Zach was living in North Dakota and I was finishing up my degree in Indiana. We decided to move to Colorado after our wedding and start our married life together there. We had a great five years in Denver. After that we moved to Michigan for eight years. Our move to Michigan helped us accomplish two big goals: we paid off our student loans (living in Michigan was much more affordable than Denver!) and my husband finished his master’s degree and found a job in ministry (there are churches everywhere in Michigan!).

During our time in Michigan, I started to feel the itch for our next adventure. We realized that eight years was the longest I had lived in one place in my whole life! We headed out to Washington state in the summer of 2021. We were only there a year but took advantage of our time by doing a lot of hiking and exploring.

When we started to look for what was next for us, we heard of a church here in Council Bluffs that was looking for a new worship director. We got connected to the church and came out to Council Bluffs in March of 2022 to check it out. We were pleasantly surprised with the size of Council Bluffs. We thought it was going to be a small town in the middle of a corn field, but we were wrong! They even had an Aldi which I was super excited about because I missed Aldi while we were in Washington. The church, Citylight Council Bluffs, offered Zach the job and we accepted! Someone sent me a job posting from Iowa Western Community College. I applied, interviewed and accepted the job before we even moved which took a big stress off. At Iowa Western, I am the assistant to the dean of Communication and Fine Arts. I have really enjoyed working at Iowa Western. There are always activities happening on campus and they have great benefits. If you know of something looking for a job, have them check out Iowa Western!

We moved here in May of 2022 and moved into a rental while we looked for a house. We only had to look at five houses before finding ours. We live up behind the Fairview Cemetery near the Lincoln Monument. We love the area we live in. It’s nice to be able to go on a walk through the cemetery or go check out the view from the Lincoln Monument.

We have enjoyed exploring Council Bluffs and seeing everything it has to offer. Hands down, one of our favorite new additions to CB is Mercy Thai! When we first moved to CB, we were missing a Thai restaurant but now Mercy Thai is here and we LOVE it. We go once a week! If you haven’t been there yet, I strongly encourage you to check it out. I also really like many of the local ice cream shops, such as: Zaltes, Doozies, Tastee Treet, Christy Crème and the Sugar Makery. So many options! When I ask people where something is located in CB, I ask them to give me directions in relation to an ice cream shop because I definitely know where all of those are!

We have really enjoyed our time here in Council Bluffs and we look forward to exploring more of CB and are excited to see to see the growth and changes that are happening. It’s exciting to hear about parks being developed and new local businesses opening. Check it out for yourself!

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