That’s how long it’s been since I moved from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Boston, Massachusetts. I told myself I’d reflect about my move to Boston at some point – what made sense, a month? 3 months? 6 months? Nevertheless, you’re getting a 5.5 month recap. For those who know my background, I moved around a ton growing up – mainly every few years along the southern states. I went to one elementary school in China and three elementary schools in the US, and thankfully just one middle school and one high school within the same school district thereafter. I don’t remember the moving aspect being hard, mainly because my parents are my best friends and we just went through the changes together.
I admitted that college was a hard move. I share (a lot) that Arkansas was one of the easiest moves. I’m about to divulge that Boston is the most emotionally raw and scarring move I’ve made.
Rewind to February/March 2016, when the first thoughts of moving to the northeast starting brewing in my head, I was curious. I was excited. I’d never lived anywhere north of Northwest Arkansas, and I figured I should explore different areas of the US while I’m young, single, and unattached. I played around with the idea of moving to San Francisco in my late college years, I even tossed around with the idea of Seattle. When the decision came around the last Thursday of April, I started mentally preparing my journey ahead.
Come first week of June, I was shifting in my seat, getting ready to leave Arkansas. Slowly, as the days crept to June 17, I realized I didn’t want to leave the Natural State. With some coaxing and reassuring by my dear friends, I somehow boarded the two flights and found myself at Boston Logan Airport on a cool, summer Friday night. All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to do. Other than the fact that my apartment was furnished and the concierge kindly showed me the ropes, I was with 2 luggage bags in hand, first hungry, then lonely.
I’ll separate the next couple of milestones to give you the best idea of how the last ~150 days played out.
First month: truly a blur. I was getting settled in my new role, and we had pre-planned travels that needed to happen, from Neenah to Schenectady, I was scrambling to get acquainted with my new team, my new office, and my new customer. I barely had time to eat, let alone think and reflect.
Second month, more exactly, week six: WOW I HATE BOSTON. I finally let myself come up for a breath and never had I felt more lonely, frustrated, stressed, and tired in my life. I frantically called old co-workers, mentors, and friends, asking them why I felt this way and pointedly told them the northeast is not for me, and I’m moving back to the south the first chance I get. My new small group (from church) probably thought to themselves, who is this crazy southern girl that can’t stand the new city? I couldn’t handle it either. It wasn’t until a new friend did not hesitate to reprimand me that I was making the judgment way too quickly and needed to give Boston a chance. Not sure if it was the alcohol and oyster happy hour talking, or if he was just being an honest brother in Christ. I listened.
~September: After a few days in the White Mountains with my parents, a few days in Austin for on-campus recruiting, finishing my first planning meeting with the customer, and a long weekend in Minneapolis with my best gal pal… I oddly felt happy to be back in Boston. I missed my small group. I missed my apartment. I missed cannoli and pasta. Wait, am I starting to feel at home? What?
October: I wish I wrote down the specific days that I felt really good about my new life. Because they were so instrumental to my growth. I spent every weekend of October in a different city, and that alone probably gave me enough room to give Boston a true reflection. That was it. I had multiple birthday plans (yes, that’s one measurement I use), I had options on the weekends, and I was being invited to social outings other than bachata socials. I looked forward to seeing individuals and I was opening up about my struggles (the true ones, not the I wish I had more sleep ones). This was it. Month four was a transformative one.
November: Still riding on the wave of October, I’m realizing that I like Boston. (gasp, you didn’t see this coming a few paragraphs ago, right?) I had two sets of friends visit, I had a weekend to myself, and I’m writing this as I’m on my way home to Houston for the week. I love where I live, I love the friends I’ve made, and I love the church I go to, love on, and serve in. I went to a Friendsgiving event where a friend from church hosted 60+ people in her house. At the bottom of it all, it’s about the people. It always has been. The cannoli I consume are just bonus.
It took five whole months. Five long months for me to put down shallow roots, probably a couple more months to let them flourish and hopefully not die in the snow. At the end of it all, I was just so impatient with myself. I relied on my past experiences and my ‘adaptability’ (yes, that is a strength I refer to often). I thought I was so set because I’d moved X number of times growing up. I completely forgot that God was the provider of it all – He gave me the community I had in college, in Arkansas, and the community I go home to every time in Houston for support. I relied on God more than ever in these trying months – there were days I’d come home from a 10-hour day at work, making dinner, catching on my shows, and truly wondered…why did I move here?
There were many factors I couldn’t control – the timing of the move, the unfortunate loss of Fitz, and how the new role came to me, but I could control my judgment of the city, the people, and the daily choice to try to love Boston. Quite a few people will tell you that they worried for me, because they’d never see me so low/upset in a consistent time frame, but I also closed myself off from old friends. It was all to protect myself from having to explain why I hated the city and it was easier just to deal with it alone.
In the past couple weeks, certain individuals have asked me how long I think I’ll be in Boston for and where the next destination is. For the first time, I don’t know, and I don’t have a plan (shocking!!!). I will say I’ve become less Type A since moving here (a few of you will say your hallelujahs), and that’s totally okay for me. I’ll see if I survive my first true winter – apparently 3 snow flurries in Arkansas didn’t count. I love my job. That hasn’t changed. I’m in the process of bringing home a cat. I’m dying for you all to meet him. At the end of the day, I’m so grateful for the process, and I will always stand by the statement that I will never regret this move. Here’s a first dab at Thanksgiving vibes for ya.