cornflake dreams.: living in the South - one year later.

8.06.2015

living in the South - one year later.

It's been a little over a year since we moved to Charleston, South Carolina from Chicago. We initially moved to the South for H's year-long fellowship. We rented a tiny carriage house downtown near Colonial Lake and the location was perfect because we loved walking around the neighborhood. Towards the end of the fellowship we had to figure out our next move. We considered moving to H's hometown in Arkansas, but ultimately decided to stay in South Carolina.

Downtown Charleston is a very charming city and it is full of beautiful historic homes with double porches and manicured gardens. But I was pretty naive to think that it wouldn't have its own issues with crime (like other cities of it’s size). In the short time that we have lived here it’s upsetting to think about all of the terrible tragedies that have occurred -- the shooting at Emanuel AME Church, the death of Walter Scott (an unarmed African American who was killed by a white police officer), a hostage standoff that ended in death (which happened down the street from our old rental), and daily reports of shootings in North Charleston. We finally decided it was time to move to the suburbs after we heard gunshots down in the middle of the night. We were both awake trying to get the baby to fall asleep again, and it totally freaked me out. The crime in Chicago is a lot worse, but I never actually heard gunshots while I lived there or felt unsafe.

We left downtown and moved to James Island in June. I love our house, the space is sooo nice (we went from 600 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft.) but I’ll admit it’s a little weird for me to be living in a suburb. Don't get me wrong I loveee that we have a front yard, backyard, and a garage (all things we didn't have in the city). And our suburb is exactly the type of place I imagined our kids growing up in. But I still feel out of place. It's so QUIET. I should feel safe, but I get nervous when there's a knock on the door in the middle of the day. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of aside from the USPS man rolling his eyes that he has another box to drop off. I guess I’m still getting comfortable with the whole suburbia setting.

Living in the South does have it's perks though. The warm winters are a real treat. It was sooo nice to get rid of my bulky winter coat and giant snow boots. The beaches and parks are beautiful. The food is amazing — hello, hush puppies, biscuits, and pimento cheese! And the majority of the people that we've met totally have the whole Southern hospitality thing down. I'm so grateful that I have made some good friends that I genuinely like to hang out with.

But if I'm totally honest there are days when I really miss our family. I wish Violet saw her grandparents more often -- FaceTime just isn't the same as a real hug. I miss brunch and book club dates with my girls. I miss living in a big city with tall buildings, museums, theaters, and a Crate & Barrel, IKEA, and Nordstrom. And I know it's totally cliché but I really miss good pizza. In the end, I guess every place has it's pros and cons and it's better to focus on the positives rather to dwell on the things you can't change. For me home will always be where H and Violet are. We have family visiting this weekend and I'm looking forward to playing tourist and showing them around our new city :)
-xo-
Jillian

36 comments:

  1. Well I know I'm SO happy you, H and Violet decided to make Charleston your permanent home! It's got to be so hard not having any family around but you can call Theo and I for anything, seriously. The whole knock at your door anytime of day freaks me out still! I've seen way too many scary movies so I assume it's a killer, I know I know a bit dramatic!
    Ally- Life as I know it

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    1. aw thanks Ally! you are one of the reasons I am happy we live here :) glad I'm not the only one totally freaked out by strangers knocking at the door too.

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  2. This post couldn't have come at a better time. We're moving south(ish) in 2 weeks for my husband's fellowship and I'm equally nervous and excited. Like you I will mostly miss our family and friends, pizza, and Nordstrom. I literally cried when I realized I would have to drive 2 hours to get to the closest Nordies once we move! But it's good to know that you're also enjoying it! I've loved following your adventure so far on you blog and insta!

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    1. good luck with the move!! Try to focus on the positives -- you get to experience a ton of new things for the first time and explore a new place. It's always fun to have visitors AND go back and visit home :)

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  3. Knocks at the door scare me too! I loved this post. I often think about how great it would be to move. I want a place with more land and somewhere that's a little slower paced than here. Everything here is so rushed! But then I think about leaving our family which the kids are so used to seeing often and it kind of makes me second guess moving. Glad that you have made good friends and are enjoying your time as much as possible. Have fun with your family this weekend!

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    1. the grass isn’t always greener!! i never realized how much it would be nice to live by family until we had Violet.

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  4. Wow, I can't believe it's been a year for you in Charleston (for me too, I guess haha!). So happy you moved here and we've had a chance to become friends. I love all of those photos from the first year! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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    1. happy one year anniversary to you too!! so happy we got to meet each other and be friends.

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  5. Loved this real post. I'm so glad you're loving the South but I can only imagine how hard it is to be away from family. We've talked about moving a lot (especially during the winter, ha!) but being so far from our families once we have kids is the one thing that hangs me up. And so glad I'm not the only one who misses my pizza and Nordstrom in Chicago! :) By the way, how have you been feeling? I've been thinking of you!

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    1. The winters in the North will make anyone consider moving somewhere warmer! But seriously I didn’t realize how helpful it would to have family around with Violet… especially when I wasn’t feeling well. I have been feeling better tho — thank you for asking. I just started a new medication that is supposed to help with symptoms. It takes 3 months to start working tho so I’m crossing my fingers!

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  6. you're right - every place has it's pros and cons. i so feel you about missing your family!
    i actually always felt safer in a big city, because someone was more likely to see something happen lol. doesn't mean they'll do anything about it, but i actually am way more paranoid in the suburbs as well!

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    1. there's more witnesses in bigger cities!! haha glad im not the only one that feels that way ;)

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  7. We're so so happy you guys stayed!! :) We're in the same place being far from family, its really really difficult some days. But we've got each other and Ally and Theo as our Charleston family, we're always here for you! I do agree Charleston needs some more stores, when I went to Chicago I was in shopping heaven (except for the sales tax ha)!

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    1. the sales tax is craaazy in chicago! and Charleston IS getting a west elm soon ;)

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  8. I am so glad you all came and are here for now :) I can't imagine being far away from family - especially with a little one, and I know that's something that will not get easier. I'm glad you get pretty regular visitors but I'm going to go ahead and guess there's nothing like Chicago-style pizza...till you're in Chicago!

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    1. I am thankful we have family who likes to visit! that is nice for sure :) and yah you don't want to try to get chicago-style pizza anywhere else. i've considered making it but i'd rather not know what all goes into it!

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  9. I often think about how I want to move from where we are to have a larger home. But one of the things I love most is I live in a small city about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco and I have access to all those things. While still being in a pretty safe environment. It's so hard to leave where we are comfortable but I am sure you will adjust! Plus a backyard is priceless for the babe and a garage is priceless for the hubby!!

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    1. Plus I work in SF so it's really the best of both worlds!

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    2. I think that is the PERFECT set up -- living in a burb right outside of a major city so you have all the amenities but you're still close to family.

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  10. Happy 1 year in the south! As happy as I was to leave behind freezing cold winters and the high cost of living up north, it was hard for me the first year or so to get adjusted as well. As I got more settled here and into a great group of friends, it started to feel more and more like home. And that warmer climate ends up bringing family to visit more often than not, and the extra nudge that some family and friends need to move down as well and join the fun! Give it some more time, and you may notice more of your family moving to join you and escape the harsh winters. Hopefully they'll bring goodies from Nordstrom and pizza ;-)

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    1. They loveee visiting especially when it's cold. can't say i blame them :) And at least Nordstrom offers free shippings/returns...I've totally been abusing that lately!

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  11. So glad y'all decided to stay! I really think it will grow on you the longer you are here..I hope anyway! Hopefully the Nordstrom Rack that is opening in Mt. Pleasant soon will help with that. And PS - I've lived in the suburbs my whole life and I still get nervous when there is a knock on my door or the doorbell rings. Probably has something to do with all of the crazy shows I watch...

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    1. yes! so excited about Nordstrom Rack AND West Elm! Charleston is movin on up :) and I'm glad I'm not alone with being nervous about random ppl knocking on my door. I'm totally blaming that on dateline or lifetime movies ;)

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  12. I totally understand about being far from family! My husband's family is in OK (we're in FL) and it's so hard to feel like you're missing out on things with them BUT we are super excited because his mom and dad (who I love!) are moving down here in the next few months! So maybe you're family will do the same! :)

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    1. oh i would LOVE it if my parents or my in-laws moved here!

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  13. Charleston may not have the big department stores and tall buildings, but I have that in Atlanta and miss everything that Charleston has to offer. I’m sure decorating a new home will help things settle in and hopefully we’ll be back in CHS in a few years! :)

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    1. isn’t that funny — some places just feel like home. I’m sure decorating will help you settle in ATL and hopefully you’ll be back in CHS before you know it!

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  14. Loved the post. We're far from both our families too and you're right, Facetime helps but it's not the same. I'm glad you guys are in a safer area, with plenty of space. Here's to turning friends into a second family!

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  15. Charleston is so different from Chicago! But you're right. every place its pros and cons. And thank goodness for good technology like skype, imessage, and facetime!

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  16. I can't believe it's been a year already! John and I have big changes on the horizon, and I've been reflecting on what makes home feel like it for us, too. All the years we've lived in San Francisco I've been missing the East Coast, but when I think about leaving a place we've grown so accustomed to over the years, all those aches suddenly don't seem to match the feeling of losing what's been home for so long! I know we'll all get through it though, and keep finding home as life carries on.

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  17. I understand how you feel about safety of you and your family. I recently moved from my coastal cottage in Beaufort, SC due to crime and gun shootings close by. Even though I loved my cottage, my safety was more important. I was located only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Charleston and visited there quite often. I now live in another state and love it!

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  18. Very pretty photos! Happy one year in Charleston. I hope you have a great weekend with your family!

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  19. I can't believe it's been a year since the move. We've been getting more serious about moving to another state and it's terribly scary, but warmer winters sound heavenly! As you mention, though, another fear is being far from my family and not having visits be as easy. Right now, I only see my parents a couple times a year, so it probably wouldn't be that different, but Dave's parents live right here in Madison. It's nice when we need a cat sitter. ;-)

    http://bedknobsandbaubles.com/

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  20. I am so glad that you are enjoying your time in the South, Charleston is such a gorgeous place to call home! I hope you had a wonderful weekend with your family! Xo, Stephanie

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  21. You're so right about pros and cons, but you almost always make everything seem like a pro - it's really amazing! Congrats on a full year, and here's to many more of happiness :)

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  22. We just had twin girls and moved to Richmond, VA. Thanks for your honestly about missing family and friends. It's been one of my biggest struggles with having babies is them not being close to all of our family.

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