Moving is a very personal process. It involves physically touching and organizing all of your belongings. It’s disruptive. It’s scary. It’s expensive. But it can also be so very cleansing. I won’t go so far to say that I enjoy it, but I appreciate the process. Dare I say, I crave it, like I crave a big challenge every once in a while.
It’s a fresh start. When I look back over the past decade of my life, there’s been a lot of fresh starts, and most of those have centered around a move. These were the big ones:
- In 2005, I moved away from my family to begin college.
- In 2011, I completed my Master’s degree and moved to Washington, D.C. to begin my first full-time job.
- In 2012, I moved to Florida to live with Bret.
- And this year… in 2015… I moved to Boone, NC.
It’s no secret that Boone is not where I pictured myself living. I loved Florida, and I missed the DC city life, so when Bret hit the job market, I imagined we’d either stay in palm tree paradise or be back in a buzzing, bustling, big city. Well. You know that phrase, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?”
This is where I live now…
It’s gorgeous, right? But there is neither a palm tree nor a bustling city in sight.
I have a bad habit of focusing on what isn’t. There is no Target here. There is no beach here. It’s pretty cold all the time. I’m making a point to have an open-mind, though, because I know moving out of my comfort zone has always led to positive change. I mean, LOOK at those mountains! If only I enjoyed camping or hiking or knew how to ski…
One of my dear friends asked me, “Tell me something you really like about your new house.” and, “What’s something you really like about Boone?” Even though it doesn’t feel like home yet, making a point to identify these things is a healthy exercise. I said that I like how our living room came with built-in bookshelves, and I love that Boone has a TON of incredibly delicious local restaurants with a plethora of vegetarian options. That’s a huge plus for me.
Reminding myself of those things and feeling grateful for what IS here obviously makes me feel a lot better. So today, I’m focusing on the good things. Here are some things I LOVE about Boone so far:
- It has an EarthFare. EarthFare is a grocery store full of healthy (and sometimes pretty expensive) foods. They also have a salad bar, a smoothie bar, a hot bar with mashed potatoes which Bret loves. We don’t shop there for all of our regular groceries, but somehow, this place became a staple in our Tallahassee life and I’m so glad it “made the move” with us to Boone. We love their freshly made cookies, their natural low sugar sodas, and the salad bar. They also have the best produce and seafood. Hooray for fresh seafood in the mountains!
- Our Daily Bread. I’ve only been to this place twice so far, but I could tell after a quick glance at the menu that this restaurant was made for me. A whole section dedicated to local vegetarian sandwiches?! A whole display of homemade desserts?! Get in my belly. It’s located downtown which is within walking distance of a bunch of other delicious restaurants and adorable shops.
- Stick Boy Bread Company. It’s a bakery with the best croissants and cookies and coffee. I love it there.
- I’m going to learn how to ski! (Honestly, I just threw that in here because I realized this list is mainly about food, but I do plan to learn how to ski, or, at least, I plan to enjoy the ski lodge experience. They have hot cocoa and a fireplace right?)
- Those mountain views. I mean, they are pretty breath-taking and oh-so-different from our Florida flatness. I am going to miss the beach, but I can drive over to the North Carolina coast in about 4 hours. And I do love the mountains.
- Our new house. I didn’t love it at first, but it’s pretty cute and comes with pretty much everything we were looking for. I really do love our big gas fireplace and enormous windows. Truthfully, it’s more about where we DON’T live. When we came up here to look at houses, we drove up non state-maintained roads that were either single lane gravel roads through a mountain or steep climbs up a cliff without a guard rail. We looked at places without trash pick-up or running water or quality internet (which is absolutely essential when you work from home). Our house is close to campus which means we can get food delivery and our roads are state-maintained which will be wonderful in the winter. I’m grateful. And I’m grateful I never have to drive on these roads again:
- Candy. Yes, we’re back to the topic of food. Have I mentioned…The Candy Barrell?! The Mast General Store has hundreds of delicious candies and you can just fill up a bucket. It’s like trick-or-treating without the effort. I also just really like the feel of the rest of the store. Need hiking boots? Hiking socks? A hiking hat? A hiking back pack? I have no intentions of becoming an extreme mountain climber, but it reminds me that there is a lot of exploring to be done.
- I think this is my favorite thing, though: being closer (only a 5-hour drive) to my family and so many Virginia friends. We’re only 7 hours from DC (hello, co-workers!) and also only 9 hours from Bret’s family which is a day’s drive — certainly closer than Florida. I really missed being able to hop in the car and see my sister on a spontaneous weekend, and I feel like that option is back within my grasp. That means more than any palm tree or city could provide.
I know what it’s like to transition into living in a new place. This process is familiar to me. Everything feels off for a while. You feel like an imposter who is just visiting someone else’s house. You don’t know how to pronounce all the street names or where to find the light switches at first. But then, you do.
When Bret and I started dating, we both knew we didn’t want to live in one place forever. A career in academia grants us with opportunities to live and work in new places. This is just one of them. I don’t want to rush the adjustment phase or pretend I don’t miss Florida. I’d LOVE to cast away in a canoe right now, marvel at those cypress trees, brunch on down at Paisley Cafe, drive through some canopy roads, and then stretch my arms up toward the sun that always made such a friendly appearance after an afternoon shower…
…Do you think I’ll remember Boone this fondly one day? I bet yes. Well, I hope so.
I know Boone has some of these things and also it’s own charms. And, honestly, thinking about Tallahassee also makes my heart ache for other places I’ve lived and loved like Harrisonburg. Gosh, I miss that place. That’s another pro for Boone, though. We’re so much closer to that perfect town where we met. JMU Football weekends, here I come!