November is difficult to summarize because I can barely remember what happened before Thanksgiving. I think I’m finally at the point where calling these posts, ” …months in C-Ville,” is unnecessary; I no longer think of my life here in terms of my moving date, which is a sign it really feels like home.
Thanksgiving table, sans Turkey
Last month, I:
- toured Luray Caverns and Woodstock, VA with Daniel and his dad
- found a limited edition, made in Israel, art print for .50 at Circa
- went on an invigorating walk on the Saunders-Monticello Trail with two new friends
- had to wear a jacket every single day
- thrifted a ton of vintage (and a few things for myself)
- drove to Richmond twice in one week to pick up and return my sister to her Florida carpool
- took my car into the shop twice
- watched Waitress and sipped hot chocolate with a friend
- promoted Water Lily Thrift‘s first annual Black Friday sale
- edited a product information email for my boss
- got another raise at work
- finished ballet classes for the season
- wrote an article
- got halfway through The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- visited Carter Mountain with Daniel and my visiting friend, Andrea
- spent Thanksgiving week with two friends and my sister (who also happens to be my friend)
- hosted Thanksgiving
- attended the Tree Lighting ceremony downtown
- bought lots of Christmas gifts
- hosted a church mini-potluck (where everyone brought dessert!)
- bought my first real Christmas tree
- began an ornament collection
- tinkered with the blog layout
I’m so glad I sit down to make these lists. Without them, I wouldn’t realize how much I actually do and accomplish each month. It looks like we had quite an adventure after all! Guests, parties, outdoor trails, holidays. We’re regular Charlottesvillians, it seems – all settled in and welcoming people into our home.
December is here. It’ll be an exciting month.
October felt almost normal.
Daniel and I in our Halloween costumes
This month I (and sometimes Daniel):
- enthusiastically attended my ballet classes
- worked, one latte at a time, through growing crowds at the coffee shop
- grieved (however briefly) over the loss of our mouse, Chantico, and bought a new mouse, Hecate.
- suffered through an art film our friends insisted we watch
- talked into the night on a front porch
- attended the Black Voices Gospel Choir Fall concert, and loved it
- ate at some good restaurants
- went to my church’s women’s small group consistently
- witnessed the Dalai Lama’s and Bruce Springsteen’s visits to downtown Charlottesville
- met people from all over the world thanks to the universal need for caffeine
- drank lots of spiced hot chocolate and cafes au lait
- walked around a pleasant historic area downtown
- got a library card
- (somewhat) successfully fixed my car’s minor lock problem
- finished decorating the living room and kitchen
- thought a lot about feminism, sexism, and Christianity
- appreciated the fall leaves
- survived Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm
- visited Washington DC for the first time
- wrote two poems after a long hiatus from the craft (one, two)
- attended a Halloween party
- began watching Friday Night Lights
- cemented local friendships
- fretted over our finances
- sold many items at Water Lily Thrift
- enjoyed fall
- got my first taste of what winter will be like
- read 5+ books
- dyed my hair dark brown
This month, for the first time since moving, felt normal. Many friendships are secure and openly mutual. We’re even invited to things on occasion! We spent less time exploring and more time inside, partially due to cooler weather. I grew more secure on a personal level and felt more satisfied in my free time activities (reading, writing poems, organizing, thrifting, etc.) I did feel a bit stir crazy and I’m currently brainstorming ways to fill my time. I can’t decide if I want to pursue a side job or if I should focus more on Water Lily Thrift. We’re walking a tightrope financially and spent a lot of time working out a budget and then trying to actually follow it.
I realized that what you leave behind can hit you hardest in the small ways. You want a friend to commiserate with on local events or weather annoyances. You hear of a new store opening and just wish you could helpfully tell someone about it or check it out with them. You enjoy the excitement of making new friends but miss the comfort of old friends. Your neighborhood is beautiful but you miss having a park within walking distance. You are tired of telling people what FSU stands for. You aren’t capable of giving people good directions within town. You begin to realize that the culture of your new location differs from your old home in just enough ways to make you feel like fish out of water (for instance, southern aristocratic culture is annoying).
All that being said, we really do like living here. People here are more like us in terms of background, beliefs, political leanings, and education than most citizens of Tallahassee and that’s made it easy to settle in.
See all monthly summary posts here.
I think I’ll continue the monthly update in this fashion for 6 months. At that point, I may wrap up each month by its name rather than by how long I’ve lived in Charlottesville. To see my one month post, click here.
Daniel and I by a wildflower field
This month, I (and sometimes Daniel):
- updated my license and registration. It was surprisingly easy – I got it done in one afternoon!
- actually started calling people my friends, to their faces
- hung out on several occasions with some wonderful people
- started ballet classes
- unpacked and organized (almost) everything
- made 4 curtains
- bought a new mouse; we named her Chantico after the Aztec goddess of “fires in the family hearth.” Yes, we are beginning to realize we are pet rodent hoarders.
- finished the layout and design of the dining room and craft room
- hung up all of our artwork
- made a connection with a local vintage shop owner
- sold lots of great vintage on etsy and eBay
- joined the church choir and learned how to chant the Psalms
- ate at a delicious local pastry restaurant (3 times so far!)
- bought a delightful vintage tea towel
- “celebrated” my 24th birthday
- received a twin lens reflex camera, boots, a candle, various Bakelite pieces, and more cat coins from the Isle of Man (there’s one for every year of my life)
- ate at Red Lobster with my grandparents’ gift card (thanks, guys)
- visited Waynesboro and Staunton
- got significantly better at making lattes
- took and edited photos for my workplace’s website
This month went by incredibly quickly. I’m in disbelief that it’s October already. Things have begun to take on a consistent rhythm, which is nice and makes here feel more like home. I was struck with a small existential crisis last week, however, lamenting over the fact that being an adult is often harder than it is easy, often more annoying than it is enjoyable. There are, of course, many enjoyable moments that take place throughout each day, especially working as a barista and coming in contact with so many sorts of people. But I feel like the last several years have consisted largely of missing my childhood, of envying youth and ignorance. I’m glad to be able to think critically, be aware, and join in the conversation, but it’s mentally taxing and emotionally draining. There is so much to know, to take in, to come to terms with, to change – and we either have to do something about it or waste away. It’s a burden we have to bear if we plan on being responsible, useful adults.
Yesterday marked the one month-iversary of our new life in Charlottesville. It’s incredible how quickly time has flown already. In most ways, Charlottesville already feels like home. But there are still loose ends to tie: settling into a church, unpacking and organizing the final traces of our move, finding a consistent group of friends to hang out with, and switching over my license and registration.
Jennifer (my old neighbor) and I reunited
In one month, I (and sometimes Daniel):
- traveled over 12, stressful hours on rural streets and highways
- visited every grocery store chain in town (and still can’t find one as delightful as Publix)
- perused at least 7 antique shops
- bought an armchair and a vintage mirror
- bought a dozen or so books from local stores
- ate at Bodo’s Bagels 4 times
- interviewed for four jobs
- changed my mind about my immediate career goals
- got a job I love (for once)
- visited UVA
- felt consistently nauseous (it’s finally subsiding)
- stretched fabric across a canvas and made two photo canvases and three pillow cases
- bought pet rats (Surprise! I haven’t told very many people yet)
- watched the meteor shower on a farm while listening to acoustic improvisation
- assembled book cases
- celebrated a birthday (Daniel’s)
- saw a Bluegrass legend in concert
- ate lots of delicious food
- visited three churches
- freaked out, a lot
- revamped my vintage store
- made some friends
- toured the neighborhood
- saw Obama in person
- visited with a friend I haven’t seen since high school
I know – and fear – that as time inches along, I’ll stop caring about the little accomplishments, struggles, and tasks I experience each month; they’ll be compacted into a small blurb on the timeline of my life. But, looking over this list, I feel quite proud of how far we’ve come in one month. Moving, especially hundreds of miles away from your previous life, brings uncertainty – about identity, financial security, relationships. But I’ve reflected lately that moving away from an identity that is created for you over days and months and years creates a space for renewed liberty, a wider sphere of choice. I have a chance here to present myself and identify myself based upon who I am and what I believe and what interests me now without fear of rattling someone’s preconceived notions of who I am. I can take pride in what I have achieved. I can say to myself, “You are good enough,” for the first time in a year. The challenge will be to push toward that level of freedom and self-understanding as we scatter presuppositions and misunderstandings along our path in Charlottesville. What I’ve learned here in the last month is that we do have the power to change our lives. In fact, the daily task of life is simply making choices and living with them.