20 Years Ago

20 years ago this week, I left my hometown, my extended family, my job, my friends, and everything I knew. I took a chance and moved 1,000 miles away from my home in Northern Virginia. It was just a few days before Halloween, in 1995. My boyfriend and I packed up everything in our apartment, including our two kitties, and hit the road. Why did we move? Well, my boyfriend (who later became my husband, of course) was a Midwestern boy. After he left the Marine Corps, he wanted to move back home. He asked me if I wanted to come, too. There were many good reasons why it all made sense: lower cost of living, decent job market, and affordable real estate. Also, I had finished college and now it was his turn to go. He had the GI Bill waiting for him. Plus, we knew that we planned to get married and buy a house. With even the skinniest townhouses selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Virginia, we could spend a lot less and get a lot more. And so, we packed up and moved.

The transition, at least for me, was hard. Really, really hard. I was terribly homesick for the first year or so. P had flown out ahead of time and found us an apartment. When I saw it, tears sprang to my eyes. I couldn't cry, though, because my (future) father-in-law was there, hugging me and welcoming me. I cried later. It was a one-bedroom apartment, which was fine, but it looked like it had been built sometime between the two World Wars. Old, dingy, ugly carpeting, ugly tile in the kitchen. Waaaah!

It took me a couple weeks to find a job.  I hated that first job I landed after the move (I was a project assistant for a manufacturing company), but I stuck it out for six months before finding a job with an Information Technology company.

P and I got engaged on New Year's Eve, 1995. We moved into a muuuuuch nicer apartment and then got married on May 24, 1997. A year later, we bought our first home. We are still in that home because, frankly, moving is a shit ton of work. I'd love to have walk-in closets but every time I think about packing up my kitchen . . . that thought is quickly followed by, "Nope! This is juuuuust fine."

I could probably write a whole essay on the differences between the East Coast and the Midwest. There are plenty of pros and cons for each, of course. I've had 20 years to get used to people calling a water fountain a "bubbler" so I can't really pretend to be a newcomer anymore. It's interesting to think back on my 25-year-old self. I had no idea of the joys and heartbreak that lie ahead. I didn't know that I'd get involved in dog rescue, miscarry four times, adopt a baby, lose my in-laws, change my religion, go vegan, and all the other crazy/wonderful/awful things that have happened.  I'm still hanging out with the same dude, so that's good.

Do I ever think about moving back?  Not really. I have gotten used to living in a town that doesn't really have a traffic report. I make less money but have more time. On the other hand, I miss being near my family. I miss the stores. I miss the Metro and the unlimited supply of fun things to do. I miss the diversity.

P and I have talked of moving to the Carolinas when we retire, but who knows. According to those reports I get from the Social Security Administration, it looks like I'll need to work until I'm about 107. So, that may put a damper on the retirement plans. If we do move, it will probably depend on where our daughter ends up. I don't want to be too far away from her. When she has kids of her own, I really need to be there so that I can watch them reject the food she has cooked for them. What comes around goes around, sister! 

It's all good, though. All good.

I hated this tile with a burning passion that will never die.


Unknown said…
Hello! I stumbled onto your blog and have been enjoying your wit. I too am an east coast transplant. (Boston to Wisconsin) also 20 +years ago so I could identify with this posting. I really enjoy your humor. Thanks for the giggle.

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