month in review: 11/2012

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.

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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.


twenty four

I turned 24 years old yesterday.

It sucked.

Objectively, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my day: I slept in, opened up a few presents from Daniel (he got me a series of early Bakelite pieces), went to work, got complimented on my outfit, received a delicious smelling candle from my boss, ate some honey bunches, and had the best Chinese food in town from the comfort of my living room. It was actually a pretty perfect day.

But I felt miserable. The article I posted upon my arrival here indicated that there comes a point after every move when the mover’s positive expectations come crashing down. I feel that I’ve made great professional and personal progress since moving here. But I need help in the social department. I’ve met lots of potential friends, had great conversations, participated in activities, and gathered phone numbers, but I haven’t quite gotten to the state where I and my social partner mutually acknowledge our friendship. I really do think that a handful of local people would have been happy to celebrate my birthday, but I was too shy, and too set on wallowing, to ask.

My birthdays have been, at least for the past 5 years, a reunion. Different groups of dear friends may never have mingled throughout the year, but they were always at my birthday. We’d get a big table at a restaurant and have a lovely, raucous time catching up. It was more a celebration of the great people in my life than a celebration of my birth. The realization that I wouldn’t get that reunion this year hit me yesterday, along with all the sadness and insecurity of losing the daily, physical support of many friends.

I realized, too, that the birthday group I memorialize was gone before I moved, separated by distance, spouses, falling-outs, jobs, and heaps of schoolwork. Life is likely full of more chasms, more continental drifts, and I have to let it go and learn to live on my newly formed patch of grass, letting go of what it was, disregarding what it looks like elsewhere.

Thank you to all who sent me birthday greetings via mail, text, facebook, and phone. I know you’re out there and I appreciate your kindness. You’re still there, I know, but it’s hard to feel that sometimes.Twenty four will be a good, productive, transformative year, I’m sure.


Today, after a successful meeting with possible employers at a local shop, Daniel and I headed out for an afternoon of exploring Charlottesville.

Our first stop was Bodo’s Bagels, a local favorite, where Daniel had the lox and I had tuna salad on a garlic bagel. It was delicious and both of our meals combined were $10.00.

A woman from the shop this morning recommended an antique store called Circa, which turned out to be full of gems. Despite the fact that they had hundreds of items, it was well curated (and well priced). We bought a nice vinyl arm chair and then headed out to explore the surrounding shops (reluctantly – if we could have, we would have bought the place out).

We happened upon a shop called Carpe Donut and bought a donut and an iced cider to share. Since the donut she gave us was small, she voluntarily gave us a second one for free! People are so nice around here!

After having a wonderful chat with the owner of the local Wild Birds Unlimited, we went to The Bookroom, a local used bookstore, to check out their stock. By the time we got home, our armchair was being delivered by two deceptively strong women from the antique shop.

I’m so thankful that my mom helped me get the duplex in shape yesterday so that I can feel a bit more at ease in my new home. Knowing I can come home to artwork on the walls, food in the fridge, and clothes properly placed in the closet helps me get motivated to explore. Charlottesville is pretty great so far.


They say that moving can be just as traumatic as a death in the family.

The 12 hour drive was the longest one I’ve made as the sole driver of my vehicle. Five people and three mice stayed in one hotel room the night before we got here. And then the unpacking began. At one point, 8 people in total were helping unload the Uhaul. I am grateful for the help, but it can be very overwhelming to enter a new stage in your life suddenly and to have nowhere to flee for a moment of screaming or weeping or thinking. And to be hundreds of miles away from your female best friend. And to be married to someone who’s busy enjoying the moment when all you can do is see the desolation you’ve caused by moving in the first place.

To be fair to my new home city, Charlottesville is wonderful. There are a lot of thriving local businesses and cool things to do. Rich American history surrounds us, as do the Blue Ridge Mountains. The thrift stores are nice, there are a wide variety of retail stores not available in Tallahassee, and they even have a restaurant dedicated to soup (I love soup).

But it’s hard to pick up and move. And I think it needs to be shared, honestly and without forced happiness. I’m sure I’ll have some happy, hopeful posts, but for now, I need to be honest with myself about my reality, get through the grief, heal, and move forward.


We move in a week.

Daniel and I both feel a sort of stagnant anxiety. The move is inevitable. It is approaching quickly. We have a lot to do.

I’ve lived in Florida for almost 14 years – that’s most of my life. I never didn’t like it, but I’ve grown to love it – particularly its nature – passionately, especially within the past few years. There is so much beauty here. A hummingbird just came to our porch! A baby manatee was less than 5 feet away from me at Wakulla Springs yesterday. I used to see otters play in the lake by our house. Tallahassee is full of quiet canopy roads and hidden parks. The Florida Caverns are some of the most ornate caves in the United States. Torreya State Park boasts a view that makes you feel like you’re in the foothills of a mountain range.

I have always felt most at peace when I look out to appreciate natural beauty. I know Charlottesville has it, too, and it will probably overwhelm me. The beauty of Tallahassee and of Florida in general have served as a daily reminder that I am blessed, that the world holds wonder still.

Tallahassee has changed me more than any other location, mostly because it held my growing-up years. I was just reflecting with a friend that when you go off to college you don’t realize, at least not on an emotional level, that you will never return to home life as it was. Tallahassee became more than just the place I attended college, it became my home. I’ve lived here 5 years. Within that time, I lived alone for the first time, navigated classes and roads, led student organizations, lost and made friends, lost faith and gained it, had my first kiss, cried deeply, laughed heartily, got married, rented an apartment, graduated, saw my friends fall in love, worked odd jobs, learned custom framing, and experienced the heaviness of post-grad life. I was challenged. I failed and succeeded. I learned compassion and forgiveness and pain. These have been hard years and wonderful years.

A quiet excitement is beginning to surface. I never intended to spend my whole life here. If I’m going to move, I’m glad it’s Charlottesville, a place consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the United States. I’m happy to live near the Blue Ridge mountains. I’m happy that Daniel and I get to go together. I’m happy for another starting-over point – a time for reinvention and introspection and speculation about things to come.

I think we need to be woken up by landmark life changes. I needed to know that the move was coming to realize how much I have, and how much I’ll miss. In the past few months, I have finally gotten around to re-visiting people and places I love, to exploring places I hadn’t yet worked up the energy to visit. I’m grateful for the deadline that tells me I only have a few more moments to squeeze out what Florida has to offer.

I’m happy that amid the chaos of packing and uncertainty and early 20s crisis, I can find so many things to be happy about.