So we're here...
Although I'm still not really sure where "here" is just yet. I'm driving and walking around like I got dropped on Mars instead of just another state. I went to the grocery store the other day and I truly felt like an alien, like "what is this place?" and used the self checkout like I had never shopped before and my heart was like beating so fast and I kept messing up and I was getting nervous thinking like, "I bet everyone knows I've never been here before." I don't know why. I don't usually get this weird, and this definitely isn't like a totally different world from where we've been before. It actually reminds me a lot of where we grew up in Michigan. (Besides the red dirt! What is that?!) I just think coming from being in Texas for so long has me in some kind of culture shock. I felt different in Texas, but I feel really different here. The biggest thing is probably the accent and vocabulary. When we got to our apartment and went into the leasing office do to the paperwork, I couldn't even concentrate because I was listening and kind of fascinated by her accent. (And because I was telling myself in my head not to cry yet.) It's not that she was hard to understand, it was just new and different to me. The only word I remember was when said said mail box, it was more like "bawx." And then the movers came and I actually could not understand them. He asked me if we were Texans fans and I stared at him for a minute, and finally went "Oh, you said Texans!" It took such concentration to figure out what he was saying. Not that everyone I've met has a hard accent, but more so than not. And, it's cold!! Wasn't prepared for that at all, for some reason. I was going from wearing my vest everyday, to now coat/hats/mittens/the whole getup. Although we've been surprised by the amount of people we've seen still wearing shorts, haha. Whenever someone asks, Johns opinions so far include "everyone talks to everyone and everyone wears sweatpants" haha. To which I respond, "um, I wear leggings like every other day soo..."
Besides the accent and the weather (and apparently the sweatpants), something else just feels different. We've been here a week tomorrow, so not long enough to put my finger on it, but something is different. Or maybe not different, but new to us. We tried to go to the movies on New Years to see Star Wars and we got in line, and then got out of line and decided to just go home. We didn't like it. (We learned from people later that maybe we were in a bad spot lol.) We've gone to all our usual places like Target and Costco, and for a minute it feels like everything is normal, sometimes even like we're back home home, then we go back outside and it's like, "oh right, we're here." "Here" being either South Carolina or North Carolina, which maybe makes it even more confusing because we're so close it's like we live in both. I'm sure soon it will all seem the same to me (like it did in Nebraska/Iowa), but right now it's confusing me x2. I didn't think that I had any real expectations of how it would be here, but maybe I did because I'm feeling somewhat disappointed. But I know I haven't been here long enough to really know anything, so saying I'm disappointed is probably premature. (And stupid.)
Truthfully, I got scared when we got here. Before we left I wasn't nervous at all, but I know I also had intentionally pumped myself up for the drive here (which sucked, and I'll get to later..), but when we finally crossed that line that said "South Carolina" and knew we were close, I felt this pressure behind my eyes and like I was going to explode with anxiety and nervousness. Then we drove past this amusement park, which for some reason crossed me as creepy, and then immediately off our exit there was this giant inflatable gorilla and I could see Ted's head poking out of Johns truck ahead of me and I had these thoughts that we took Ted away from his home for this? And then the tears came. But I'm sure most of it was just buildup from the drive. I've always been someone whose energy rollercoasters up and down, so having to be "up" on the long drive, it's no surprise to me that once we got here I immediately fell "down" and then stayed there for a few days while I adjusted to what's new, and missing and what's gone.
I think what we're having the hardest time with (besides the cold lol) is where we live exactly. We don't love it. And we loved where we just lived, so there was a lot to live up to that just wasn't going to happen here. For one because we set out to lower our living expenses this year, so we knew the apartment itself was somewhat of a downgrade. And two because we're living outside of the city quite a ways (much cheaper here), so the area is just kind of "county." I know I used that word a lot in Texas, but this is a different kind of country. (*You were right Jessica lol. There are different versions of country.) Not that being in the country's a bad thing. Like I said, it really does remind us of where we grew up. (Picture this: middle of nowhere, lots of back roads, an old gas station down the street...) But I guess maybe we liked the Texas "country" better. I know this is confusing, but someday I'll read it back and know exactly what I mean.
So that and the apartment itself are just getting us a little bit depressed. I feel bad even admitting this because I don't want to be ungrateful, I just have to be honest about how we've been feeling. (It helps me process and feel better lol.) It's brand new, so it's nice...just not as nice as our last place. I sound like a brat, which I hate, but again - someday I'll know what I mean. I think if John were to have come out here a few weeks ago like he was supposed to, he might not have picked this place. But we're here and life is going to go on, as it must. I guess what we're feeling worst about is Ted. I wouldn't call this exactly the most dog-friendly place. We used to live in a huge complex, with tons of walking paths and grass, and there isn't much here. There also aren't many dogs, and Ted being the most social dog on the planet is like dying to play. We took him to the (tiny) dog park here a few nights ago and he went absolutely nuts. All by himself, haha. I mean, we played with him but he went pretty wild all on his own. Johns been researching all the dog parks in the area, so hopefully we can find something to make up for the lack of exercise/social interaction he's going to get here. (Unless there's dogs we haven't met yet..?)
I've been feeling guilty about not writing since we've been here, but I think I needed some time off. If I sound sad right now, just know it was worse five days ago, haha. I think I needed to almost grieve the change. The move here wasn't exactly an exciting one. I was excited when we first found out about it and I tried really hard to keep it up, but the truth is that it's just more of a "stop" for us until we keep going again. I like moving, but the circumstances this time were a little bit different. Since this is Johns home office now, we aren't considered "traveling" while we're here, so it wasn't exactly a good thing (in his eyes mostly) to stop here as opposed to keep traveling. I won't get into detail, but there are a lot of perks to "traveling." So there have been a lot of changes, in every aspect of our life.
But today is a new day. We let ourselves basically wallow for a week but today it's time to buck up. John went back to work today, I have an interview later (decided to nanny again) and it's time to just embrace this chapter of our life. And already I'm feeling much better. Sometimes that's what writing does though. All of a sudden I feel like I've been being ridiculous and ungrateful, when I really have it all. So what we live in our self-described "country?" So what if we sound funny and don't get what the word "catawampus" means? I have to keep reminding myself that what we're doing is pretty awesome. We get to live in different parts of the country and just jump right in and learn about the place and the people, and it's fun. And it is exciting. Maybe we don't fit in, but maybe we're not supposed to. That's kind of the beauty of it right?
We went out downtown (or uptown) Charlotte on Saturday night with some people that we lived in Texas with, and even though we had hangovers yesterday, we felt better after that. They aren't from here, but they've lived here before and they love it, so I think it rubbed off on us a little bit. (They also taught me all the lingo I need to know, like catawampus lol. Don't even know if I spelled that right, had to google.) And I got excited talking about all the places I want to see here, and the things we want to do and I need to stop and appreciate the fact that we even get this chance.
Here's a picture of us from Saturday night that I love/hate.
Hate the kissy lips, but love everything else. Looking at this I see two people who maybe needed to "stop." To remember that sometimes life isn't always climbing up a ladder, and reaching for bigger and better things. Maybe what we really needed was time to slow down. Those last few months in Texas we barely saw each other, and it was hard. These past two weeks we've been together non-stop, and although we've been in a funk, we've been together. Last night we layed in bed and watched Grease (the entire movie, which never happens) without a care in the world and I was thinking like, "wow, are we really this bored?" And I've been thinking maybe it's good we're out in the middle of nowhere. Less distractions. More time at home. More time together. I know starting today that degree of laziness won't continue, But I'm hopeful that his schedule won't be quite as demanding this time and that we can find an in-between with our life here. Maybe this right here is the real perk.