We have officially been in Chattanooga for over a month. As of yesterday I have been at Unum for a full month. It has flown by. Although some aspects still feel new, and we are definitely still learning our way around the city, it often feels like we have been here forever. Even though we are in a tiny apartment, where none of the furniture or decorations are our own, and we are living out of suitcases to some extent, and eat out for most meals, still, it feels like home. I guess it goes to prove that home is truly where your heart is. As long as I have my little family together, it feels like home, regardless of how much that home may feel like it is in disarray.
We went back to Birmingham last weekend to check on the house and start getting organized for the “big” move that is, Lord willing, supposed to happen at the end of this month. We have a contract on our house with a scheduled close date of 11/30, and although I still feel a little anxious about it all working out and going through as planned, things are moving forward. The Lord has definitely been taking care of us throughout this whole process, so I definitely don’t need to start second guessing Him now! Anyways, I wasn’t sure how I would feel being back in our Birmingham home that we love so much. Even though we were there less than a year, we put a lot of work into that house and we made a lot of happy memories in that short time. Moreover, I was curious how I would feel being back in Birmingham…a city we called home for so many years and loved just about every single day. You know what though, I wasn’t overcome with emotions or regret. I didn’t feel any sense of “Why did we leave here?” It just felt….familiar. Like being somewhere that we knew like the back of our hand, but not necessarily somewhere that we longed to be. Sure I miss it. I miss our comfortable home, our precious friends, our wonderful church, our favorite restaurants and shops. I miss knowing where everything is and not needing to bust out Google Maps when I need to find the closest CVS. But again, so much of that is simply comfort. We lived a comfortable life there…no question about it. We knew this move would shake that up and make us feel uncomfortable for a little while, but I have to say, it’s been much easier to find our groove than I had anticipated, and going back to the Ham this weekend, and not becoming a big ball of emotions, proved just that. It was nice to visit, but it was just as nice to get back to Chattanooga to our tiny shotgun apartment with the green carpet and blue tile and 12-inch television from 1985;) Matt was with me, Asher Wade was with me, and therefore I was a happy girl.
With all that being said, we are happy here! It’s been an eventful month, and certainly an adjustment, but we have gotten comfortable surprisingly fast. People are incredibly friendly, the scenery is beautiful, food and restaurants have been amazing (haven’t had one bad meal yet, and believe me, we’ve had A LOT of them), and most importantly, there’s tons to do and it’s generally all family friendly – aquarium, children’s museums, art museums, zoo, countless parks, the riverfront, running trails galore, indoor rock climbing, train rides, shopping, ice cream shops, movie theater, the list goes on and on! There’s a real “community feel” that I love. Some benefits of living in the corporate apartment have been that we can walk to work (my office is literally across the street, Matt is a couple blocks away and AW is a couple blocks from Matt’s office), we’ve had way more family time because we spend less time in the car and we are forced to get out and do things (a/k/a less time in front of the boob tube), we’ve been more active and are getting more exercise, we’ve been saving a lot of money since we don’t have any utility or cable bills (we are still paying our mortgage in Birmingham of course, but hopefully we just paid our last mortgage payment!!), we can walk to a plethora of restaurants, the river, the park (a few different ones) and cute shops, we have very little upkeep, not to mention housekeeping comes every other week, and it’s just generally been fun to be in the middle of downtown where everything happens! Don’t get me wrong, I will be MORE than ready when we finally find a house, but this has been a fun experience for us.
I really love my new job. One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t like it, but it has been the total opposite. The work is interesting, but low stress and laidback…something I really needed in my life. Every single person I have met has been incredibly welcoming and helpful. Coming from a 50-person company to such a large company (10,000,000 employees total!) was obviously a huge change for me, and it was an adjustment being in the typical large corporate environment, but the perks are great. We have the best cafeteria (that I hate to admit I frequent daily, but it’s just so good!) and a nice gym and locker room, so I can work out on my lunch break. They even offer classes just like you would have in a public gym. It’s a team environment so I always feel like I have a ton of support and back-up. In other words, when I’m out of the office on PTO or something, I don’t feel like I have to stay connected because there are plenty of people to cover for me. It’s just a completely different environment and culture. I miss my co-workers in Birmingham, who were definitely more friends than co-workers, but I’m starting to meet people here, especially at the gym on my lunch break. Matt is enjoying his new office (he was able to transfer with Regions, so that was a blessing) and excited about future opportunities. Asher Wade has adjusted to his new school so well, which has been the biggest relief. That is honestly what I was most worried about with this whole move, but in usual AW form, he took everything in stride and barely batted an eye. Don’t get me wrong, there was some hesitation the first few weeks when we dropped him off in the morning, but now he runs right in to see his teacher and buddies and he’s all smiles when we pick him up. He’s learning a lot and being exposed to new things and ideas, which I know is important. That kid never ceases to amaze me with how easily he adjusts to change.
So as you can see, overall it’s been a great move and I feel really good about the decision we made! I am honestly trying to think of any negatives, and the only thing I can think of is that I’ve gained a few pounds, but even that ultimately stems from a positive…dang you Chattanooga and all your good restaurants! Need to kick it up a notch at the gym;) Change is always scary. Uprooting your family and moving to a new city is really scary. Trusting in God’s plan can be scary for sure. Even if for some crazy reason down the line this doesn’t work out, I’m proud of us for stepping out of our comfort zone and taking this leap of faith. It’s definitely taught me a lesson about listening to and trusting His guidance. That’s ultimately what led us here, and I certainly want it to keep leading us.