South Cheektowaga – A nice family neighborhood near Buffalo, NY. AKA, the only place I have ever known my entire life. Forty-eight years ago, my dad moved to the neighborhood as it was being built. He was the first class to enter Northwood Elementary school when it opened and once he graduated, he never left. His family home is where he raised our family and when I was 25, I bought my own house a few blocks over.
The house I bought was close to a dump. It has been built in 1968 and no one ever touched a damn thing. The walls were all mint green and pink, the living room had orange hardwood floors and a wall of mirrors, imitating a ballet studio. After 4 years, I put blood, sweat, and tears into making that house a cozy, modern home. In that house, I built a beautiful home with the love of my life and with our dog, we had become a family. I had everything I needed. I had a house I owned by myself, the man of my dreams, my whole family nearby, amazing life-long friends, a full-time job, a brand-new car, and the cutest Chocolate Lab in town.
But each day as I went through the same motions day-after-day, I felt like I had an itch I couldn’t scratch. I never lived outside of South Cheektowaga. I hadn’t traveled very much, and I saw friends who were effortlessly moving all over the world and filling social media with their adventures. So, in 2016, I hopped on a plane to Scotland… alone. I had never been abroad and I has absolutely no idea what to expect. I spent 2.5 weeks traveling the United Kingdom with a group of people who were all completing the same master’s degree program as me. In the U.K. I met three other people from Buffalo. What are the chances? I just kept thinking of how people just like me were picking up and moving all over the world as if they were simply just moving to the next town over.
After that experience, I traveled to four other states in just a few months following that life-changing trip. I had the itch to travel and see the world. Once I flew across seas, the U.S. seemed so small and I just wanted to hop in the car and see more of it. Once of the places I visited was Charleston, S.C. to see my grandparents. I had been there countless times over my life to visit them and it was definitely one of my favorite places. In my parent’s living room sits my favorite picture of me as a child where I was about 3 years old and dancing through a fountain in downtown Charleston. For whatever reason, I have always loved that city. As my boyfriend and I were walking to dinner with my dad, in downtown Charleston he said “This is definitely a place I could see myself living.” I was like… “OHHHH REALLLLY!?!?” Right then and there at Poogan’s Smokehouse, we made the decision to move.
Over the next year, I finished my master’s degree, we spent countless hours searching for our “dream homes” online, and we both started applying to jobs. By spring of 2017, I was flying to Charleston for interviews and he was finishing school for the next part of his medical sales career. We both set out on a goal to take our perfect life in Buffalo and move it to sunny, warm, friendly Charleston. We talked about it every single day and dreamed of what life would be like there. My boyfriend grew up in the same town as me, but he has lived everywhere from New York, to Florida, to Washington. He was excited for the next adventure and I was anxiously anticipating my first.
Everything started falling into place just the way we dreamed of. In May 2017, I flew to Charleston for an interview. The same day, he was offered a job in the field he had be working hard to get into… in Buffalo. Well, that surly threw a snag in our plans. He accepted the offer and continued to pursue similar opportunities in Charleston. In July, 2017, I was offered a position in Charleston. The position wasn’t as lucrative as I would have liked, but it was at a well-known company in my dream city. Overall, it was a lateral career move but the long-term benefits were enticing. After an entire bottle of wine, tears, laughter, and over-thinking, he and I decided together that I would accept the position and go down to build our life.
I immediately sold my house (probably for too little since it went so fast!), booked a moving truck, and lined up a place to stay. I was blessed enough to have one of my best friends offer to take me in while I get settled. I learned a lot through making the decision. I learned that I over-think things way too much, when things are meant to work out, they do (and quickly), and I learned who is in my life to support me and be there for me no matter what. I discovered some people care about me more than I thought they did, I was called selfish for leaving without him, found faith and strength in my relationship, and realized leaving my 8-year-old dog was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster and I have cried every day for a month. I have people who support me, people who don’t understand why I am going, and people who are insanely curious about the logistics.
As I sit in the moving truck while Patrick drives through Pennsylvania, I feel confident in our decision. I feel confident that I have this opportunity to explore the world, try something new, learn a lot about my own strength, and build a life in Charleston for my family to come home to. I pray every day that he finds a job sooner, rather than later and that before I know it, I have him and my dog, Misia back in my bed at night. Actually, I hope to have a bed, since for now I am kind of living like a nomad! No one has to understand my decision to move or our decision to do long-distance while Patrick looks for a job in S.C. that is as fabulous as his job in N.Y. I know I have many more tears to cry and lonely, sleepless nights ahead of me. But soon, when I have a new beautiful home in Charleston with my handsome honey, our dog, and simple things like love and adventure, people will stop wondering why I did it and ask me how I did it. Wherever this life takes me, I am forever grateful that God gave me the strength to have faith in the journey.