It’s been two weeks since I dropped my mom off at the airport and we both pretended not to cry and not to care. I’ve slowly unpacked all the boxes, which has been kind of like Christmas. The clothes are hung or folded in hastily assembled Ikea dressers and plastic organizers. The cats have gotten used to me. And I’ve managed to drive all the way from boyfriend’s house to my own without using google maps, which is a HUGE accomplishment.
And so I work to make Durham my own. There are many things to do when you move that you didn’t think about, even with all the google searches for “how to move across the country” and “why live in Durham” or whatever you type into that space. I made endless lists and Pinterested the hell out of this adventure, and still feel like I’m drowning almost every day.
Things I didn’t think about when I moved:
- I have to reprogram all my radio stations. This has taken hours. And I’m so anal about music that after I programmed them into my car, I then ranked and reprogrammed them in order of preference.
- Where am I? Thank God for technology, or I might be stuck on the side of some road ditch, crying into a drive-thru order from Bojangles. Durham is a fake grid built on top of another grid, which means that streets change names without warning, and pretend to run east-west or north-south. Any signs they might have are blocked by aggressive foliage growth. I get lost every five minutes, even with my phone barking directions at me.
- I was really used to my grocery stores. Grocery shopping in a new place is weird; I wander around wondering why I came in the first place. I had to register for a new discount card, there are different rules at check-out, and produce is shite outside of California. I can’t get a lot of the same brands or spices, especially hispanic stuff. We were so spoiled.
I miss the horizon. I didn’t know or think to know anything about Durham geography before we moved out here. But everything is a slowly rolling slant and so, so many trees. I haven’t seen the sunset since two weeks ago in Tennessee. I didn’t realize I looked at it everyday. It was from a crap driveway in Concord, but a big, open, palm-tree and telephone line-dotted skyline that allowed me to see the sun sink out of view.
- People drive different. The speed limits on the “freeways” are like 50, but everyone goes 70. And they can’t merge, because they’re too polite.
- Time zones are crazy. Its been two weeks, and it still boggles my mind to think that when I am going to (pretending to go to) bed at midnight, everyone on the West Coast is just starting to watch TV. We can talk on the phone! Or text. Who are we kidding. We might text.
- The water is different. The town was built atop a swamp or a marsh, so it’s all well water that stinks of calcium and sulfur, makes your hair fall and face change, and you have to cut the tap water with ice tea flavoring to drink it.
The air is different. There is no such thing as true silence in North Carolina. The air hums, it vibrates with cicadas and wasps and bees bigger than your thumb. They sing a chorus that rises and falls for no reason. The air is thick on your skin with humidity – a blanket you wear outdoors, and dry out in the air-con in every car and building. The change is so drastic that your glasses fog up when you exit and enter. The heat makes men mad.
I’m not mad, yet. I’m working up to loving it here. I miss my family. I miss feeling comfortable. But we never grow without an adventure, and I am keen for the outcome of this adventure, so I must embark a bit more whole-heartedly! :) I hike, I write, I nap, I shop, I cook, I drink, I meet. More and more until I feel home. Until I feel at home.
- Carolina Diaries: Finding a New Home (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- It’s all Happening! (I might be terrified.) (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- Carolina Diaries: The Getting to of Here. Driving across the US of A. (racheldangerw.wordpress.com)
- Goin’ to Carolina in My Mind (blindtravelblog.wordpress.com)