A few months ago, while Bret and I were shopping at the Outlets, I spotted a pair of heavy-duty waterproof boots. Our Boone friends had lectured me whenever I showed up to their homes in flats. You’ll need a good pair of boots. So I bought them. And I waited patiently for the first snowflake. All October. All November. And then, in mid-December, it snowed just a little. I laced up my new boots. I crunched in the thin layer of snow on our front deck. I took a picture of the boots in the snow to validate the purchase. And I thought: This is my Boone life.
Boone is colder, smaller, and more isolated than any place I ever imagined living. Summer was unfamiliar. Fall was supposed to have epic, vibrant leaves, but instead we had heavy rain that knocked them from their branches prematurely. I’ve been reassuring myself that snow can turn my heart. I’ll learn to ski and learn to like it here.
Hopefully I’ll get to ski in 2016.
So far, Boone doesn’t feel like home yet, and that’s okay. I knew it wouldn’t feel like DC or even Tallahassee, but I thought it would have some small town comforts. So far, it I haven’t found them. There is no Target. There is no swimming pool. There are no neighborhoods to drive around in and look at Christmas lights. I know this sounds simple and trivial. I know that I have A LOT to be grateful for: my job, my health, Bret. I am grateful. I do miss Florida, and DC, and Virginia. A lot of things that I associate with home aren’t here, so it’s been an adjustment, but I am trying to like this place. Honestly. I had a Florida friend who always complained about Tallahassee. It was fruitless and annoying and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that to Boone. So I look for the positives:
- Boone is full of a community of friendly people. I’ve made friends here who also moved here reluctantly for a spouse/partner.
- There are so many good breweries. I’ve learned I love stouts.
- I buy my eggs from a local farmer and I’ve been asked – more than once – if I have any chickens. I do not want my own chickens, but I love the emphasis on eating from local farmers.
Boone is different than I imagined, but it’s challenging me in healthy ways. It’s
forcing teaching me to be flexible and that’s a good thing. I always like to reflect on my year when it comes to a close. I wrote blog posts summarizing 2013 and 2014 and I’m sure glad I did, because time moves us forward, and those details already seem like a blur. I’ll remember 2015 as the year of adjustments.
Here’s our 2015 recap:
- Bret interviewed for jobs all over the country and we wondered where we’d be moving next. He went to Vancouver for the MLA conference and I worried the trip wasn’t worth the investment (interviewees had to pay their own travel expenses!), but, fortunately, one of those interviews led to an on-campus interview which led to a job offer which led us to Boone!
- I planned one last Disney Trip for us while we were still annual pass holders. We had the best time even though it was sandwiched between some very busy weeks.
- Bret continued to travel for job interviews. This meant he was cancelling classes and flying to new places we may be calling home. I thought this would be the fun, exciting time, but it was full of anxiety and tears. While Bret was away, I’d stay up late talking to Velveeta and wondering if we were going to be moving to Texas or New Jersey or Michigan.
- Bret being out of town gave me a lot of time to enjoy the Florida sunshine and do some crafty things. I made Valentine’s and mailed them to family and friends to remind them how much I love them! Sadie helped.
- March was another month of travel. I traveled to DC trip for work (and visited with my friends Brandi & Teagan!)
- Bret accepted a job offer in a place I had never been called Boone, NC!
- Tiffany & Erik visited us in Tallahassee
- We traveled to Tampa for Bret’s CCCC conference!
- We went house hunting in Boone. It snowed! [It was terrifying.]
- Steph visited me in Tallahassee and we squeezed so many fun things into one weekend: LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art festival, Pridefest, the Southern Shakespeare festival, Wakulla, sushi at Kiku, and ice cream at Lofty Pursuits. I loved that Tallahassee place.
- Other than that, April was full of packing and securing a moving company.
- I want to cry just thinking about May. It was so hard leaving our Tallahassee friends and home. Bret and I kept talking about how weird it would be to talk about living in Florida in the past tense.
- Bret was working hard on his dissertation most nights, but we were able to attend the Beach Boys concert!
- We spent our very last night in Tallahassee with food trucks and friends. And then we packed late into the night. It was worth all the sleepiness.
- We moved to Boone and had to light our fireplace because it was so cold!
- We went to fancy (by my FL standards) dinner parties with new friends.
- My sister visited and helped me paint our living room and kitchen and gave me a “half” birthday card. She is amazing.
- I went to Miami for work and felt so thankful for my job and wondered when I’d get to visit Florida again next.
- We had a “Staycation” to get to know Boone and the surrounding area. We went to Asheville for a weekend!
- I went to DC for work… and had a lot of fun, too! I stayed with my friend, Brandi, and we went to a Nats Game and played in “The Beach” exhibit at The Building Museum.
- Bret’s parents visited us and we had fun showing them around our new town.
- Bret and I went to the Highland Games on top of Grandfather Mountain!
- We had our annual Girls Weekend. This year, we went to Wilmington, NC and had a blast. Every time I talk about this trip, wiser women always encourage me to make sure we never let this tradition go.
- We went back to Tallahassee for Bret’s graduation! I was so proud.
- We went to JMU and visited some friends!
- We went on our first Boone hike!
- For Bret’s birthday, I ordered him a real authentic deep dish Chicago pizza and had it shipped in dry ice from Chicago!
- More traveling… I got to speak to a class at JMU and hang out with my friend Brandi and her adorable dog, Gertie!
- I went to DC for work again and had a cute lunch @ Caza with one of my DC friends and co-workers.
- I discovered the amazing (but maybe slightly over hyped) Boone Farmer’s Market!
- My sister and brother-in-law visited us in Boone, and we visited them and went to Kings Dominion!
- Velveeta had to have tooth surgery + medicine 3x/day
- Two weeks of non-stop rain made our house leak…
- PA trip to see Bret’s family. Fall was beautiful in Pennsylvania!
- We were honored to attend our friends, Lindsay & Marc’s, wedding!
- We went to my 10-year High School Reunion
- I went to California for work!
- I went to Baltimore for work!
- I went to Raleigh with Bret for a conference.
- We had Thanksgiving with my family at Hatteras. It was the first time I’d been to Hatteras in way too long, and Bret’s first trip ever!
- We decorated our house for Christmas for the first time in Boone!
- I enjoyed Faculty Dinners, a Boone Girls Night, and hosting a Movie Night with new Boone friends!
- Bret & I had a day date lunch at Appalachian Mountain Brewery. I’d been meaning to visit this place for MONTHS and it exceeded all of my expectations!
- We got to spend Christmas and New Years with friends and family in Virginia and Pennsylvania!
I started off this post talking about how Boone isn’t my favorite place in the whole world yet. I’m still adjusting to the area, but Boone is full of friendly people who love good food and brew their own beer. It’s cute. It’s cold. It’s a weird little place. It doesn’t feel like home yet, but I’m getting used to it. It has become my “normal.”
Looking back to the beginning of 2015 reminds me that my “normal” used to be palm trees and sunshine and that’s tough to reconcile sometimes. It’s been an adjustment. I miss the sunshine state. We had so much anticipation toward our next move. I thought maybe we’d be back in DC this year. I couldn’t have prepared myself for all of the changes that were in store, but if I could tell myself one thing, it would be this: Any place can be a wonderful adventure as long as we’re together.
This year we moved together, explored Boone together, traveled together, and trained to run a half marathon together. It’s been a good year. And if you’re thinking that maybe I’ve been traveling too much and I haven’t really given Boone a chance, I hear you. Here’s to 2016: my first full year as a North Carolina resident!