Moving

Things Are a Lot Different in a Small Town

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As you all know, I recently moved away from New York City and it’s not going well. I never considered myself that much a of a city girl. Sure, I was taking the train alone by the age of 10 but I also owned a car and drove it regularly. I lived in the most suburban part of NYC for the last 18 years of my life so I thought I could handle a small town.

I didn’t think there would be that much of a difference. Boy was I wrong!

If you actually live in a small town, you’re probably going to roll your eyes at a lot of what I’m going to say. Considering that my town has a population of 11,000 I am not exactly sure how small it’s considered. But for me, this shit is very small. Every day something new happens that makes me think, “Holy shit, I am living in the boondocks!”

This has been quite the learning experience for me. Below are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since moving to the boondocks.

What is up with volunteer firefighters? Coming from a city where firefighters are revered, I just cannot get behind the idea of volunteer firefighters! Any child here who dreams about growing up to be a firefighter one day, needs to be put in their place. “Sorry sweetie, fighting fires is just a hobby. You’ll need a real job.” Cause apparently risking your life to save people from fire is not worthy of a paycheck. Since this is a small town, and the surrounding areas are even smaller, I can understand not needing a HUGE staff. Maybe have some people who want to volunteer if there is a big issue. But to not have any paid staff members is absurd to me.

If I get sick or hurt here, I am going to die. As a hypochondriac, doctors are very important to me. I had reliable doctors back in Staten Island and I even had 1-2 urgent cares that I trusted for same day issues. Now I have to start all over again and at a place where the doctors do not have the best reputation. I turned to my coworkers for references when I first moved here but practically all of them do not have a primary care physician. These are grown ass adults so this boggles my mind. I finally settled on a doctor that had decent reviews. However, I couldn’t get in for 2 months and the office is 45 minutes away from my home. I need to drive almost two hours just to see a mediocre doctor. There’s also no hospital in my town so if I fell down the stairs I’d have to drag my ass to the next town over, 20 minutes away!

I question the whole cost of living theory. When I was moving up north from NYC, so many people commented on how my cost of living is going to be much cheaper. When it came to rent, they were absolutely right. In NYC, I would be living in a studio basement paying what I pay for my 2-bedroom apartment up here. But plenty of other things are either just as expensive or even more expensive than the city. I have never spent more money grocery shopping than I have here. It’s unreal. I’ll go in for just some fruits and veggies for the week and spend over $60.

Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. This is one that I NEVER thought I’d say. Every 2 weeks getting paid in NYC, I would die a little inside. “Why does half my paycheck get taken away?” Then I moved to a place with volunteer firefighters and it all made sense. NYC may take a bit too much taxes but a lot of those taxes do go to good use. I’ll take some out of my paycheck to make sure those putting out fires are compensated. I’m also willing to pay out of my paycheck to make recycling easy cause recycling is a real bitch here. In NYC you could leave a three-piece bedroom set outside and sanitation would easily take it. Here, it’s like they don’t want you to recycle. Since I’m renting I don’t have to pay for garbage pickup. However, the garbage pickup does not recycle. So if I want to do my part for this world that’s wasting away, I have to lug all my recyclables to a dumpster down the road. Now, I get this is a first world problem complaint. However, not a lot of people can be bothered with going that extra step. Where I live, my neighbors don’t recycle. They just put all their giant Amazon boxes with all the other garbage. This world is falling apart, towns should be doing everything they can to make recycling as easy and accessible as possible.

Who comes up with these business hours? My current library is off a main street. And when I say main street that’s the actually name of the street. I am convinced that only small towns have a main street. And they are usually incredibly quaint and cute. My main street is no exception. However, the hours of the shops and restaurants are bizarre. My sisters came to visit on a Monday and decided to walk around main street while I was working. They came back to complain that only TWO stores were open. There are some shops that are open for three hours a day, two days a week.

I miss rats and cockroaches. Now this is a statement I really never thought I’d say. I’m not suddenly a fan of rats and cockroaches but I’d take them over ticks, bears, and rattlesnakes. The wild creatures living in this neck of the woods freak me out on a daily basis.

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I Give Credit to People Who Move Away From Home

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I moved in the middle of March to start a new job as the Youth Services Librarian for a small library. Between moving, starting a new job, and getting engaged, I have not had much time for anything else. I will blame some of all that on why I haven’t posted regularly. Hopefully now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can start writing in this little old blog more. Lord knows I have a lot of material to write about.

I want to start with writing about my disastrous move up North. I may be a bit dramatic with my use of the word disastrous but it has not been easy. I moved about 2 1/2 hours away from where I lived and grew up. Doesn’t sound like too far away but a lot can change when you drive 2+ hours. I moved to the Catskills so technically I am still a New Yorker. However, for anyone familiar with New York, you know that New York City and the rest of the state are two completely different species. I don’t even know why they are considered the same state. They have nothing in common. I could have moved to New Jersey (an actual different state) and it would have been less of a culture shock.

This move up was not a smooth one. For starters, I was the only one who moved up full time. My fiance is a professor so he had to finish up the semester before moving up full time. He officially moves up this week. But before this week, I would spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon by myself. I am OK with living on my own. I did it for many years before I met Jonathan. However, living on your own in a new place, where you don’t know anyone, is difficult. Once I got to my house after work, I felt trapped (I’ll elaborate on that a little later). I was in a complete rut. I would wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, and then do it all over again. Jonathan would finally come on Friday and I’d have someone to hang out with only to have to say goodbye so quickly on Sunday.

Why did I feel trapped in my apartment? Why didn’t I step outside, take a walk, try to meet new people? Let me tell you why! Cause my apartment is in the middle of nowhere. I live on a route, not a street. I don’t have any sidewalks. There are woods behind me and across the street from me. If I want to go anywhere, even the supermarket, I have to get in my car. It’s also incredibly dark where I live, no street lights. Only bears (which have already attacked our garbage cans once so far!). I am not going out after work so I can come home after dark by myself. Am I a scaredy cat? Definitely. I have no shame in admitting this. When I get to my apartment after work, that is where I stay. I am not venturing outside to get attacked by a wild beast.

Speaking of my apartment in the boondocks, I am counting down the days until my lease is up. Jonathan and I worked with our landlord and she agreed to a 6-month lease instead of a year. I am so glad of it too because I am moving to a new apartment the second I can. A part of it is because I miss sidewalks and want to be able to leave my house without having to hop in my car. But the main reason I cannot wait to leave is because I have to hold my breath whenever I take a shower or do the dishes. My lovely apartment comes with sulfur water. If you’re not familiar with sulfur water, you’re incredibly lucky. Before March, neither was I so I didn’t think to run the water before renting an apartment. However, up here in the Catskills, many buildings get their water from wells which can result in sulfur water. What’s so horrible about sulfur water? It smells like rotten eggs! And I am not being dramatic with this one. I do not even brush my teeth with the water. My bathroom sink always has at least two jugs of store bought water next to it. (My mission for less plastic this year has not been as smooth since moving to a place where the water scares me.)

The only thing that I’ve been somewhat OK with is my job. Sure, I am still learning to get comfortable with the work and my coworkers, but I’ve only been here for two months so these things take time. Overall the new job has been the one bright spot with my move. However, it did not start that way. I started my job on a Monday and by Thursday I had to go home because I felt like I was dying. I got the flu my very first week of work and had to miss 7 days of my new job. Great first impression. Thankfully my boss was understanding and told me to take all the time I needed. However, I hated having to take an entire week off of work after only putting in 3 1/2 days. I also discovered that the flu fucking sucks. I know this is common knowledge but you never fully know how horrible it can be until you have it yourself. That was my first time getting the flu and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

With Jonathan moving up full time and our lease halfway over, I am sure that things will start to go a bit smoother. But I realized that I don’t think I ever would be able to move away from home on my own. I think if I didn’t have a fiance coming up with me, I would be back home as soon as my lease is over. (Sorry job, but you’re not that special.) I guess I am not as independent as I always thought I was. But moving away from home on your own is reallyyy hard. I give a lot of credit to all those people who have done it. Kudos to you!

Moving in Together Is a Big Deal but It Shouldn’t Feel Like One

So my bf and I have decided to move in together. Technically he’s decided to move into my place. (Thank the heavens I don’t have to actually do any moving.)

Whenever we tell other people, they always say the same thing, “That’s a big deal.” JR and I were confused when everyone kept telling us that. We didn’t feel like moving in together was that big a deal. We both naturally came to the decision because it made the most sense. We were already spending practically all of our time together anyway. Having one space we both called home makes things a lot easier. Now I don’t have to pack a bag or pray that I have clean underwear at his house. We’ve basically been living in two places which became annoying. The amount of clothing I’ve lost from going back and forth is atrocious. I had enough.

So we decided to make this huge move in our relationship. (No pun intended!)

I get that moving in together is a big deal and it’s not something that any two people should take lightly. It’s a big step in a relationship. If you do it too soon, it could ruin things. There is a lot you learn about a person once you live with them. It’s probably a good idea to try and find out as many of those quirks as possible BEFORE you decide to move in together.

I knew I was ready to live with JR so it didn’t feel like a big deal. Here are a few of the reasons I knew moving in made the most sense for our relationship. I’m not saying these tips will work for every relationship but if you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other, it doesn’t hurt to check them out and see if they fit.

We survived a big trip together. Back in June, JR and I spent 13 days traveling through Europe. While I love traveling and I have so many wonderful experiences from my trips, it can also be stressful. You learn a lot about a person when you see how they react with little sleep, multiple plane rides, and an attempt at navigating the Berlin train system.

I was comfortable when it came to the two Ps with him. By two Ps, I mean poop and period. I know that everybody poops and it’s a natural part of life but I will admit that I’m THAT girl. The girl who likes to hide her bathroom habits for as long as possible. There was plenty of pooping right before I showered in the beginning of our relationship. Not anymore. I can thank our trip for eliminating any boundaries I once had when it comes to that. When you share one bathroom in a small hotel room, it’s impossible to keep your bathroom habits a secret.

We spoke about the future. I cannot stress this enough, but do not move in with someone if you are unsure of where you guys stand. Having a talk about the future and marriage and kids can be scary. However, if you’re not able to bring up these issues, then you aren’t ready to move in together. Make sure you’re on the same page before you make such a big move. (There I go again with the no pun intended!)

We were spending more time together than apart at this point. We were already spending most of our time together, it was just a matter of where. We had to decide if we were going to stay at his place this weekend or my place. Which then meant we had to really decide who is the one forced to pack a bag and who doesn’t have to.

We were familiar with each other’s finances. Money is a hot topic when you move in together. There’s rent, utilities, groceries, etc. You have to figure out how things are going to be split and how much each person can afford. You don’t have to divulge everything. That will depend on the individual relationship but you need to know the basics.

It felt natural. This goes back to the whole big deal thing not really feeling like a big deal. It felt like the next natural step in our relationship. And I think that’s how it should be.

Maybe We’re Not Meant to Feel Settled

Depending on how you look at it, the word settled can either be a good thing or a bad thing. When it comes to relationships, hearing the word “settling” is never a good thing. You don’t want to be with someone who you’re just settling for. And even worse, you don’t want someone to just be settling for you in a relationship.

On the other side of the word settled, it evokes a sense of contentment. The official definition of settle is to “adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home.”

While I wouldn’t say that I’m completely settled in life, I’m as close as I’ve ever been. Especially when it comes to my career. On paper, I make a decent living. (Although I question that after paying rent, car insurance, and student loans every month!) I am in the job I went to school for and have moved up quickly in my company.

I also have great friends, a loving family, an awesome bf, and a place of my own. Compared to my life even two years ago, I would consider myself settled. Or moving towards settled.  Hopefully, with a few more years in my company, I could save enough to buy my own property.

But just when all these things started falling into place is when I started to get the itch to move. I have wanted to move out of New York for a long time. It was going to happen after High School. Then it was going to happen after college. Then it was going to happen when I kept moving from one dead-end job to the next. Then it was going to happen after I graduated from grad school.

It was always going to happen until it wasn’t.

The last move didn’t happen because I was offered the exact job I wanted the day after my last class at grad school. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So once again, I put my dreams of moving out of NYC on the backburner.

And I’d probably let those dreams die out completely if it wasn’t for the overwhelming feeling of restlessness I’ve been experiencing. I don’t want to be settled. And I realized that I don’t want to ever feel settled.

There is so much in life to learn and explore that we should never feel truly settled. There’s always something new to experience.

The experiences will just be different for each person. Not everyone will feel the urge to pick up and move across the country. Maybe it’s always finding something new to talk about with your significant other. Maybe it’s mastering a new skill. Maybe it’s giving up YA books and making a goal to read more non-fiction.

No matter how big or small, don’t ever settle in life. There’s always something new to learn and fall in love with.