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Moving Day: One Year Later | nextlifechapter.com

Tim in front of our rowhome, right before we left for the airport, our van in the foreground

Today is May 2–exactly one year ago today my husband and I woke up from a night spent sleeping on an air mattress in an otherwise empty bedroom. Adelaide too slept on an air mattress in her bedroom, mattresses borrowed from friends who lived around the corner. The girls and I had a flight to catch, but we first had to return the mattresses at our friend’s house and say good-bye. I knew it would be hard, the last good-bye in what seemed like an endless stream of them over the six weeks since I got the job and we decide to leave Philly and relocate to Tallahassee, Florida to be closer to Tim’s family.

Tim took us to the airport and finished cleaning up the house we had called home for nearly six years. The house we returned to when both of our daughters were born. The only home they had ever known. He cleaned, made one final trip to the recycling center/landfill, and somehow managed to fit the rest of our belongings in our minivan before locking the door and heading out on the Philly-to-Tally drive. Our POD left the day before with all our other earthly belongings and would meet us at our final destination once we determined where it was we’d be living.

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Here I am one year later sitting on the couch in our new apartment having just returned from a two-mile run (something I couldn’t have done without stopping a year ago), and it all feels surreal. It’s feeling more like this is our home, but it still seems so strange that it’s been an entire year. I don’t love it here. Not yet. (For some reason, on Instagram I can’t bring myself to use the popular hashtags #ihearttally or #iheartFL because it feels inauthentic.) But, the days are getting easier and we’re into a routine, for better or worse.

The good things:

  • My girls like their preschool/daycare. We really lucked out with a great place for Adelaide to spend this year preparing for Kindergarten. It was hard to leave the school she had been at since she was 12 weeks old, but we found a school in Tallahassee where she could continue to grow. Juniper started daycare in January and has adjusted nicely as well.
  • Daycare costs are less here and by living near family, Junie was able to spend weekdays with her grandparents from age four months until right before she turned one in January. It was a blessing to have this cost savings, and (I think) the bonding time between granddaughter and grandparents was mutually beneficial. Papa and Gram, it was fun, right?
  • I like my job. I took a pay cut in moving here and sure, I wish I was paid more. Plus, I don’t know if there’s much room for advancement (at least within my department), but I like my co-workers and what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. That’s more than a lot of people can say.
  • I’ve made some good friends and am continuing to find “my people.” Making new friends as an adult is hard. I joined a knitting group and am slowly getting to know them and meet others through activities and friends of friends. It’s an ongoing process that will take time, but I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in “putting myself out there,” letting people get to know me, and deepening relationships with the few I already knew here. I’m thankful that I have an understanding husband who knows friendship is something I value and has supported me in making this time for myself.

In addition to friends, the things I thought I’d miss most about big city life were the cultural opportunities–the children’s museum, the zoo, art museums, theater. It’s definitely different here, but we’re making the most of what’s available. I am proud to say that just in the month of April Tim and I saw Jason Isbell play at an outdoor amphitheater, I got free tickets to a conversation with James Franco at FSU, we took Adelaide to the FSU Flying High Circus (no animals, just Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics), we went to the beach and to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab (where we are members), and Tim and I saw a production of “Once” the musical at the civic center.

There are many other good things about moving here–the weather (in the winter at least), the gulf coast beaches, the pool at our apartment complex, family support, public schools–I know it was the best decision for our family. It’s the beginning of our second year in Tallahassee, and I’m wondering what this year will bring. What will I be thinking next year as I look back on how far we’ve come?

Moving Day: One Year Later | nextlifechapter.com

Selfie on the plane to Florida, May 2, 2015

Moving Day: One Year Later | nextlifechapter.com

Girls enjoying the pool at our apartment last Sunday, May 1, 2016

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knitters 2015

The knitters and me at the going away brunch they threw for me in April.

Moving is hard. Yep. I said it.

Moving to a new city and state as an adult pretty much sucks. The only way I know it will get better is because I’ve done it before.

When I graduated college, I moved from Southern Indiana to Portland, Oregon with Erin, a friend from school. I had just turned 22 and it was a huge period of transition for both of us. We didn’t know what we wanted to be when we grew up. We felt lost without our circles of friends from school, but at least we had each other. Well, at least for the eight months before Erin left me and moved back home to Illinois.

After Erin left I was forced to leave my comfort zone, find new roommates and make new friends. When I made the cross-country move to Boston for grad school four years later, I had created community in Portland.

The first few months in Boston were tough. I missed the life I had in Portland and although I knew I needed a change and I was excited to go back to school, I was starting over again. Fortunately, being a student automatically put me in situations to make new friends. I met Tim, my now husband after living in Boston only three weeks.

Three years later, after finishing grad school, Tim and I moved to Philadelphia. We wanted a fresh start and had heard good things about Philly. The cost of living was better than New York City, and it had an emerging arts scene that made it extra appealing. Moving to Philly we were forced to start over again. I don’t think I loved Philly at first. Finding a job, meeting new people, and navigating a new city is stressful. I had Tim, but the transition was tough. It took a while before we felt at home, but fast-forward eight and a half years and I had a fulfilling life. We were married, we adopted a dog, we had a three-year-old and a new baby. I had a job that I liked (and had worked at for over seven years). I volunteered in my community, had close friendships, and a city I knew well.

We’ve been in Tallahassee now for almost six months (what!?! how did that happen!?), and I’m still mourning my Philadelphia life. I miss my girlfriends tremendously and am moved to tears every few days whether by things I see on Facebook or an email I receive from a friend. Sure, on a moment-to-moment basis I’m doing fine. I’m settling into my new job, meeting new people, and finding activities to do with my family. We have the loving support of my in-laws and that’s been great, but I still feel homesick. Philly feels like home to me, and I don’t know when I’m going to get to visit again.

I think it would be easier for me if I had a Philly trip planned. If I knew I would be going to Philly over Christmas or even next year, I think it would be a easier for me. I could say, well, I’ll see you in May. But now, we have no plans to return to Philadelphia. It’s expensive and our Christmas holiday will be spent on pricey flights to Central Illinois to see my side of the family. Then, in April we’ll be flying to LA for my sister’s wedding (again, an exciting trip–yay, Gina!–but it’s not Philadelphia). Tim’s whole family is going to Key West next August and there’s just not enough time (or money) to do all the things I want to do.

Sometimes I daydream of just taking a long weekend trip to Philly for a girls weekend. I’m sure I could make it work financially if it was just me, but part of the reason I would want to go to Philly would be for my friends to see June and how much she’s grown. Plus, I would want to take Adelaide and have her get together with all her little friends.

It just breaks my heart to think that Adelaide won’t see her friends again or that by the time we do get back to Philly they won’t remember each other. I don’t know why that’s so hard for me. One bonus of moving Adelaide when she was only three-and-a-half years old was that she would be easily adaptable. Still, I hadn’t considered that she may one day completely forget her time in Philly–a time that was so important to me as a new mom and young family will likely just be the shadow of dream for her one day.

Tears stream my cheeks as I write this. I wrote it in two separate sittings and still, both days, tears.

My brain knows that I’m doing the right things–putting myself “out there” to meet new people, explore my new city and make new friends. I feel blessed to have made such good friends in all the places I’ve lived. (Otherwise, leaving wouldn’t have been so difficult.) I remember when I first met Tim and he said I talked about Portland all the time. I’m sure I did. Portland, Portland, Portland. Now I feel I do that with Philly–especially at work. I catch myself doing it. In Philly this and in Philly that.

Somedays when a Philly friend sends an email or comments on Facebook and says that it looks like I’m doing well or adjusting well, I cringe a little. Yes, sure. I guess I am. Right? But hell if it isn’t hard, and boy do I miss Philly.

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