Emotional move

In May, my friend Jen wrote a blog post in which she poignantly differentiated between a physical move and an emotional move. What she wrote–and what I have also found to be true–is that the physical move happens and then the emotional move keeps happening. We moved to NC 13 months ago and for the first six months, I felt pretty much uniformly bummed, lonely, and pissed.

Being in a new physical place is hard because the comforts of knowing your physical geography well are absent. It is just unsettling to not know where things are, to get lost going to Target, and to get stuck in traffic and not know any better. It’s also hard because you don’t run into people you know, you’ve left behind an entire community available for spontaneous social interaction, and even if there are people you know in your new location, they have their own social rhythms established. Sometimes they want to incorporate you into them and welcome you to everything (in these cases their kindness overwhelms you to the point of tears) and sometimes they don’t. The emotional move is less financially expensive and physically taxing, but it lasts much longer.

But it does get better. At 13 months out, North Carolina feels like home. Our animals are settled and happy. We have art hanging on the walls. Communities around yoga, work, the gym, and our town have emerged. In some ways, we still really miss Nashville, especially the food and our family and family of friends, but our life here is rich and, for the most part, lovely.

Dry laundry for free

Clothesline | InvitingJoy.net

When we moved into the house we’re in now—a rambling, 1970s rental ranch-style home, complete with dark wood paneling and the occasional mouse—one of the features that sold us was the amazing yard. It is a long rectangular lot, but it is completely fenced, which is perfect for the doggie, and it also came complete with clothesline poles.

Eager to start drying clothes, I chose a bad type of cable that started to fray, which we replaced with just regular clothesline (duh! should have done that from the start). Then, one of the poles started to lean due to a mud patch made by the constant condensation from our house’s ancient heat pump as it struggled to cool the house this summer, so we moved the poles to a different and better-suited part of the yard. After a visit from my dad, who led an expert concrete mixing and hole-filling operation, it seems like we’re done messing with it. In spite of the various clothesline iterations, we’ve been drying clothes out there since the late spring, and I am thrilled with the double savings that come with neither using the dryer nor running the AC to combat the heat the dryer makes. Plus, our laundry smells delightful.

Bus miracle

This morning I left my university ID card, bus pass, and office key (all of which were on a lanyard together) on the bus. I’m not quite sure how it happened because I was not paying any kind of attention (actually this inattention is probably why it happened). Anyway, I got to my office door with no key, and immediately started saying swears, breathing quickly, and crying a little. I walked back out into the misty morning and retraced my steps without finding the lanyard. Then I walked back to the office and camped out in the lobby, where I looked up when the next bus was coming, realized it was coming in five minutes and ran back out into what was by then a light rain.

From the stop, I called the transit lost and found, where nobody answered, and then struck up a conversation with a man waiting there. I told him the story, and he said I should call the transit office instead. It was a great idea, and the woman I spoke to told me that the bus coming to the stop was not the same bus as before, and that she would contact the bus I’d been on earlier, but that there were no guarantees that anyone would be able to find my stuff. We hung up, but she called me back almost immediately, and let me know that the bus driver must really like me (!) because she would bring my things back when her route went back by the intersection near my office.

An hour later, I had my key and cards in hand. Five hours later, I’m still amazed at how well it all worked out. Infinite gratitude to Tamika, my amazing 6:50 am bus driver.

Sugar free?

Yesterday I started 6 weeks without added sugar. Part of my inspiration comes from my friend Sarah, who gave up sugar during her first pregnancy, and the other part comes from a group of yogis that I’ve been hanging with as part of my yoga teacher training, which started in March and will finish this coming February. One of these YTT classmates is in social work school, and as part of a unit on addiction, her prof asked the students to give up an addiction. Sugar was one of the closest things to an addiction for her, and it is for me as well.

In emotional crisis, I regularly turn to food, particularly sweets. If something stressful is happening, I realize rationally that eating something won’t solve the problem, but I don’t usually care. It feels really good in the moment to get the shot of dopamine that comes from a donut or pint of ice cream, and while I have absolutely no problem with any foods inherently, I seem to have lost the ability to moderate donut and ice cream consumption. I am hoping that this six weeks will serve as a reset period, and when I start eating added sugar again, which I absolutely plan to do, I will be able to be more mindful of when and especially why I have it.

Of course, if this experiment is going to work, then I have to figure out a better way to cope than eating a bag of chips for supper and buying a new scarf (both happened last night). I guess I’ll just see how it goes.

Bus-related giggles

Last Friday morning, as I got off my first bus and prepared to cross the street to catch my second bus, I had to pause for a second because my audiobook was interrupted by LOUD music. The first bus lets me off right next to the frat houses at the local university, but at 6:30 am, I am used to things being a little bit quieter. It appears that the gentlemen of one fraternity partied through the night, for no apparent reason. Except perhaps to be awake to serenade fellow riders and me with their rendition of “Tiny Dancer,” as we waited for our bus and marveled at the stamina of youth.

The friendliest bus

This morning, in preparation for an appointment I have this afternoon, I drove my car to a park and ride and, for the first time, took the bus from there. Four other women waited at the stop with me, and while we were waiting, they asked me whether it was my first time at the stop (yes), offered homegrown tomatoes (no, thank you), and chatted about their upcoming days.

When we got on the bus, they merrily greeted the group of women already seated and continued the happy banter. Today, it turned out, was one woman’s last day on the bus, so there was a present for her. They traded tips on their favorite nail salons, and asked a pregnant lady about her plans for work until the baby comes. When we got to my stop, they all wished me a good day as I got off.

I probably won’t take this bus more often than every couple of weeks or so, but what a treat to look forward to when I do!

Bus commuting

I started a new job at the beginning of August. (A big girl job, as I’ve been calling it.) Along with the office, coworkers, and regular work hours, I have also become a bus commuter.

The university where I work subsidizes the cost of the bus pass to an incredible $25 a year, so it seemed ridiculously expensive by comparison to pay to park and for gas–even in my reasonably efficient Civic Hybrid. Plus, my bus commute takes about 50 minutes, roughly the same time it would take for me to drive 25 minutes, park, and then walk 15-20 minutes to my building.  Finally, I commuted to a nannying job every day this summer, and while it was crucial for me to have my car to drive my charges around, toward the end of three months of daily commuting, every time I got in the car I felt (maybe irrationally) like I was statistically due for a wreck. Adding all of this up made it an easy choice to take the bus, but logistically I still had some things to figure out.

In a way that is probably typical of someone raised in a Texas suburb, but nonetheless embarrassing and revealing of my privilege, I had basically no idea how to take a bus. Trains/subways in cities I’ve lived in or visited have not been a problem because they stop at every stop. Faced with needed to communicate with the bus driver that I needed to get off, though, I was at a loss. So I watched the online how-to-ride videos through the city’s transit website. I felt dumb, but the reason they have those videos is for people like me, who have never had to get on a bus. I mastered the commute in a day or two, and I’ve been happily riding ever since.

I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, while enjoying not having to pay attention to the road. I’ve definitely messed up the schedule and missed a couple of buses, but I find the whole process preferable to driving myself. Here’s to many more years as a bus rider!