We actually have a home in North Carolina!
When we left California, our loan had not yet closed and being between holidays meant that it was impossible to even give an exact date when our new home would be registered in our names – something they do in NC but not in CA. We did not have keys, we did not know the exact day when we would have keys and we wouldn’t have even been able to find our way back to the house without a map app. But we were on the road and knew that if we just kept going, eventually we would have a home to go to.
As we entered North Carolina from Tennessee on December 29, 2020, we got a call from our real estate agent that everything was done and she had our keys in her hand. We made arrangements to meet her at a QuikStop (even though we had no idea what a QuikStop was, it’s a gas station/mini-mart btw). Four hours later we drove into our new town and stopped off at a supermarket and a pizza place. We got groceries to last us a few days and a pizza as our inaugural meal. Ten minutes later we drove into the driveway of our new home. Keys in hand we moved everyone into a room where we could close the doors so that we wouldn’t lose a cat to hiding and settled in for the night.
It is hard to believe that one whole year has passed since that day! Some days, it feels like we have been here for a very long time but most days it feels like we just got here. So much is different in our lives and North Carolina is an entirely different experience from a lifetime in California. I’m not going to go into all the political issues but suffice it to say that life in Los Angeles is not what it once was. I’m often asked if I miss California and I do but I’ve been missing California for a long, long time. I miss what LA used to be, I miss the California that was my home a decade ago. Change is inevitable but we should all strive for change that is positive and the changes that have been happening in LA are mostly positively awful.
Instead of bashing Cali though, I’d rather focus on what drew us to the Carolinas. North Carolina is known for its incredible beauty, it is covered in lush trees and gorgeous farmland. We’ve got big cities and Charlotte is growing by leaps and bounds. Charlotte is a beautiful traffic free 45 minute drive from us and when we need city-things, a fancy mall, big box stores, etc we head out there but we are also a drive away from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham and our state’s capital, Raleigh (which we now pronounce correctly, thank you North Carolinians for the pronunciation lessons). In four hours we can be on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and in less than three hours we can be up in the ski slopes of the mountains or driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and off to the Great Smoky Mountains. Closer to us are numerous lakes and rivers, a national forest, and Morrow Mountain. Door to door, I can be mountain biking deep in the forest or on a paddle board on a lake in fifteen minutes. I couldn’t get out of my driveway in 15 minutes in Los Angeles. Okay, okay, no more bashing. But seriously, I’m not kidding. The four season are amazing yet mild. Just this week we had bright sunny days in the seventies and it was wonderful to wear shorts in December in North Carolina! Our town is small but lovely, we have all the stores, restaurants, and activities we could want, especially things that get us out of doors!
Life is very different as it has slowed to an extremely pleasant rate. It’s easier to enjoy the moment and the small things in life when they aren’t flying by you from behind a closed car window or from a cubicle in a high rise. Each leaf off a maple tree is a treasure and each deer in the backyard is a special treat. Coffee on the porch is a daily ritual as is a walk around the neighborhood before supper. Politeness says that we now wave to everyone we see and stop to say hey y’all, how ya doin? Strangers are friends, neighborhoods are communities, and this change is a glorious adventure here in our new home, North Carolina.