“You moved here from Los Angeles? WHY?!?!?”
I’ve gotten this question dozens of times over the last year. It’s usually delivered with a head tilt, a perplexed look and wide eyes. Of course, I’m usually looking back at them with a confusion because I’m trying to understand why in the world this would be a shocking revelation.
My family moved to LA a week before my 4th birthday and so I’ve always considered myself a California girl. But I can’t quite tell when it stopped feeling like home. Maybe it was when my brother passed away. Maybe it was when I started to grow tired of condo living. Maybe it was when it took me 30 minutes to drive 5 miles. So to be honest, when the invitation to move to Charlotte arrived, it wasn’t really that hard to reply “of course”.
Today marks one year since my sister and I finished our 5 day cross country drive and met our Mom in our brand new city. Our first night here, I couldn’t sleep. It was partially because around 2am my air mattress had sunk into the floor but mostly because it was so.damn.quiet. I couldn’t hear our neighbors. Or cars. Or sirens. Or people walking on the sidewalk. The only thing I heard was my own voice asking where all the noise was. And if we had made the right decision.
It’s scary moving to a new place where the only person you know is your real estate agent (fortunately she is one of the family now). It had been a long time since I had to use Google Maps to get to a grocery store. Or figure out where the gas station was. Or wonder what I was supposed to do when a gaggle of geese decided walking out in front of my moving car was a stupendous idea. We had to find new doctors, a new vet, a new hair stylist, our new favorite pizza place, just about a new everything. What I didn’t realize was how fun it was to go exploring.
What I’ve also discovered is how easy it was to fall in love with Charlotte. Maybe it was the excellent food scene (let’s be honest, the easiest way to my heart is through my stomach) or the friendly people or how everywhere you look, there is something green. It’s easier to breath, easier to feel more relaxed, easier to feel like myself. It’s been an adjustment. I’ve had to get used to total strangers telling you their life stories. And it taking 50 minutes to drive 25 miles because there is no direct route. And remembering to wave and smile at people.
I’ll always have a place in my heart for LA. It was where I was raised. Where my love for Mexican food began. Where my brother taught me to body surf. It isn’t that LA is a terrible place. Or that Charlotte is far superior. It’s simply that life here is a better fit.
Charlotte is now home.