Three months ago I packed up the last of my belongings into my Mini Cooper, bade a last, tearful goodbye to my dear city, and started the long drive south from Salt Lake to Phoenix (about 700 miles). I cried for the first several hours, my heart sad and heavy to leave my beloved city, family, and friends behind. Eleven hours later I arrived at my new home. Blue Eyes and his kids had thrown together a Welcome Home party, complete with posters, balloons, streamers, cupcakes, and a bouquet of flowers. I cried all over again.
Moving is hard, yo. The best thing has been living with Blue Eyes, seeing him every day instead of every other weekend, and figuring out how to finally merge our lives together after years of living apart. There have been a lot of adjustments for both of us as we try and navigate our days and weeks and months, some have been easy adjustments, and some have been a lot harder. We’ve both had some growing pains, for sure. I think the hardest thing, however, has been a lack of a network here. Of course I still have my dear friends and family to rely on, we chat, text, email, and all the rest, but it’s not the same. I have made some tiny little baby steps towards finding a group of people here, I know they exist, the trick is to figure out where they are hiding. Yay, for the internet, for helping boost those fledgling relationships along!
Aside from the obvious best/worst things about moving (living with Blue Eyes/missing My People), here are a few other things, three months in:
Things I like:
Clear air with blue skies and sunshine. Winter in Salt Lake City is famous for some of the worst air in the world. No, really. The mountains/ski resorts are gorgeous, but down in the valley the air tastes like chemicals and you can walk around in an army-issue gas mask and no one bats an eye, although they may ask you where you bought such a brilliant device.
The house, for the most part. It’s not my dream house, but there are some really lovely components, and I can disguise most of the not-so-ideal ones with some paint and art and books. For the first time in forever I have a bedroom large enough for a King-sized bed, and it is glorious. I also have a yard for the very first time, and we’ve been working to get it cleaned up, this week I’m planting our vegetable garden! Next up is a patio with fire pit.
My home office with it’s large window, walls full of books and real art, and a nice comfy chair where I can curl up and do some research or pleasure reading. My office also doubles as a little art studio, and I’ve loved having better access to my paints. Granted, it is also a lot quieter and lonelier than working in an office with delightful co-workers, but the physical space itself is far superior to a badly lit desk in cubicle-land.
Things I miss:
The mountains!! Goodness, how I miss my mountains. Locals keep telling me that there are mountains here, and they point to a cactus-covered hill and I try and nod and smile, but inside I know they have no idea what they are talking about. That’s like trying to convince someone that a small pond is really the ocean. Sorry, no comparison.
Living downtown. I lived in the city center for almost 15 years, for me it seems like living anywhere else is kind of pretend. I am in the suburby-suburbs now, with lots of similar houses (all of them that particular brand of Arizona beige). There are very few not-chain restaurants and the ethnic food leaves a lot to be desired, the one Thai place is pretty meh, and the sushi place is hardly worth the trip. There are not any Yelp-rated restaurants within 10 miles of us; it takes almost 30 minutes to get to decent street tacos, for crying out loud! This is a far cry from dozens of delicious options within a 1.5 mile radius. We are on the edge of a suburb of a suburb…it’s…it’s been a rough adjustment.
The weather. I am not one of those who hates winter, or the cold, or the snow. I love boots and scarves weather! I love wearing tights with my skirts! I love suiting up and tramping around in the snow, exploring on snow shoes, and then curling up with a blanket and some hot cocoa to warm up. I love the seasons, however, the summer is my least favorite. I just don’t do well with the heat and all that sunshine, my skin can’t handle it. So, when it was 92 degrees on February 10 I very nearly packed up my car and moved north, I just cannot deal with that kind of heat. I did a little research, for 7 months of the year the average DAILY temperature in the Phoenix area is over 95 degrees and for 3 of those months it’s over 105 DEGREES (40.5C). All those people who kept saying “it’s only hot for a little while” are damn liars. It’s sweltering for three-quarters of the year!! I don’t think there has been a week since I moved in where I didn’t crank up the AC a bit to prevent sweat from pooling on my skin. I…I am really dreading the heat. I will most likely be parked inside from April thru November. Ugh.
The next three months will hopefully have more friends and roots put down here, finishing up our backyard and–fingers crossed–being able to harvest some vegetables from our garden. I have regularly scheduled trips back to Salt Lake for work and am able to swoon over my mountains and have lunch with friends, eating delicious Thai food (or sushi, or whatever) within blocks of my office.
Moving is hard, but take your time- you are only three months into a big life change! Although I could never live in AZ with that weather. I am not a fan of any heat over 80-85 degrees so luckily here in Chicago we only have a few months of that. As far as no mountains, at least you have little hills. We are just flat (I miss Denver!).
Frankly, I could never live in Arizona with this weather either. I’m already counting down the summers I have left here (seven summers left).
On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 12:34 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
The people in Georgia will continually tell me “oh, there are mountains just north of here, and you’ve got the Smokies!” They do not understand that they’re not the same brand of mountain.
I did luck out on food, though. Access to no less than three 24-hour Korean barbecue joints within ten minutes is nice.
Yeeeeaaah, those are mountains. Foothills, maybe. Nice, rolling hills…they aren’t mountains.
Mmmmm, korean BBQ!!!!
On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 4:14 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
Ok, maybe it’s getting a little weird. I had a Mini Cooper when we moved, too! We traded it in for a family car because my husband takes the train every day. It will be missed!
Surely you’ll acclimate to the weather. Coming from Texas, where the weather is much, much warmer, I thought I’d be freezing to death by now. But my version of what’s cold has changed. Also, if it’s anything like TX, there’s enough A/C and fans everywhere for you to forget the discomfort you feel between the comfort of your car and the cold blast when you open the door to where you’re headed.
I feel you on the restaurant thing. I’ve been to Salt Lake before and the food was great! Houston also has a HUGE restaurant scene. I mean HUGE. We’ve found a few great places here but I’ve been cooking more than ever, and my cooking is beginning to suck less, thanks to Pinterest 😉
I don’t know how the acclimation thing will go, to be honest. In Salt Lake I kept my bedroom window open a solid 8 inches during the fall, winter, and spring. I think I only closed it when the temperatures got below zero, but for months it was in the teens and twenties and still, window open. I really cannot stand the heat very well. We’ll see how I do!
I also had the thought of learning how to cook more delicious things, last night was a pretty solid curry that I’d make again and again. So, one point for Harriet!
On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 8:32 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
Moving IS hard. I’ve moved a bunch of times in the past ten years and it’s funny how sometimes I don’t even realize how attached I’ve grown to a place until I’m leaving.
I would totally trade you weather if I could. It’s not that I don’t like Utah weather (the inversion, like you said is terrible, but the summers are perfect), but I love heat so I’m that weird person that would adore Arizona summers…although any time I go anywhere hot I always freeze because the air is cranked up so high in any and all indoor locations.
Yeeeeeah, I kept my bedroom window open in SLC until the temps dropped BELOW zero. I predict my life here will really start to suck in April….
On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 8:41 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
Wow, what a massive move! I can only imagine how hard that must be. I’m thinking of you and wishing you all The Nice People in the world 🙂
Yes! Nice, Smart, Progressive People! Why do they hide from me?!?
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 3:55 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
I hear you – I like visiting Arizona but I don’t think I could live there year round either! Also I noticed NY missing from your list of upcoming trips… how can we fix that? 🙂
Lady, as soon as I score Hamilton tickets I am booking my flight!! (It’s a weekly, if not daily hunt for something that isn’t outrageously expensive!)
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
I keep waiting to get used to the heat and it just hasn’t happened yet. It’s been almost a decade. Blerg. At least I can seek comfort in some excellent tacos.
WHERE ARE THE TACOS! But seriously, where? I found–and LOVE–Mucha Lucha’s in Scottsdale, but it’s at least 25 minutes without traffic.
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
We were talking about this yesterday, discussing some friends of Loel that moved and are now facing putting down roots without the help of a built-in network for the first time. I know it doesn’t necessarily feel like it, but 3 months isn’t that long–it took you years to develop your old network, it just didn’t feel like it because so much of it grew organically whereas now you have to kind of hunt for it. The suburbs thing is a real challenge, though, I feel you on that! I’m very glad we went for not-quite-suburbia over here as at least we feel a kind of ownership over our environment. It’s hard to forge connections with Arizona beige 🙂
“It’s hard to forge connections with Arizona beige.” Yes. This. Exactly this.
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 1:46 PM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
So. Many. Feels. I know exactly how you feel 🙁 the struggle of moving is incredibly real. It’s hard. But at least you are in the US right? 😀
True, thank heavens for some continuity and at least the same language!
On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 3:23 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
I steeled myself for the weather when I moved to Nevada, and I think I did pretty well, but I will say that hot is hot, and there’s no escape once it hits. We had a whole stretch of days over 110 degrees here, and my car even recorded one particular day when the temperature hit 122. I distinctly remember toward the end of summer last year when the averages were down around 102 daily, and felt relieved that it was finally cooling off.
Not to be a bummer, but where you live is even hotter for longer.
Can I be honest with you? Well, I’ve always been honest with you. I feel that you’re in the homesick stage of moving, and it saddens me to read these posts. I wonder if your trips back and forth to Salt Lake are prolonging it and making it worse for you? You’ve just always struck me as a sort of independent person who takes care of herself, and now you’re sort of out of your element a little bit. I’m probably overthinking it. These posts are likely just ruminations and you typically spend days in cheery delight. I hope that’s the case anyway. I definitely get how the change is probably affecting you though. Snowy mountains = 🙂 and sandy desert = 🙁 for sure. I’m fortunate in the sense that here we have both, although I will admit our snowy mountains (and yes, they are real mountains) are somewhat lacking. At least I can see them and their presence is comforting.
Soon the homesickness will be over and life will grant you opportunities for awesome. Arizona will feel like home. 🙂
I do think a “clean break” with SLC would be easier…but my job is still in Utah, I have to go back to fulfill work responsibilities on a regular basis. And the reasons for keeping my job are much more than the trips north. The benefits piece alone (insurance and retirement and all that adulty stuff) are REALLY REALLY hard to walk away from, particularly with all the health crap I’ve got going on, my insurance is one of the best I’ve ever heard of. Ever.
So…yes, I agree. But I also disagree. I also know that we will not be in Arizona for very long, just until the kids are in college (7 years from now, holycrap). So part of me is kind of reluctant to put down very deep roots here anyway, because we certainly aren’t staying for longer than we have to, ya know?
Moving is hard. Leaving behind friends and family is harder. I still miss my friends and family every single day…. going back to visit is a blessing and a curse (because it does hurt so bad afterwards).
The silver-lining is: you won’t be staying there forever. That’s good to know.
For me it’s nice to know that even though I’m “far away” I’m also relatively close, and will continue to visit every month or two. And yes, also knowing that this is not permanent, that helps as well. I can’t imagine living as far away as you do from your family and loved ones.
On Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote: