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.