Before we moved from Atlanta, GA to Albany, NY, Julia Cantor recommended Dustin and I document our expectations for the big change. She knew we had no idea what we were in for, having lived in the Albany area in college and having made a big move on the east coast (Boston to Atlanta to join Engauge) herself. And, she was right!
But, even though we didn’t know what to expect, we are much happier and more settled than we anticipated to be by this time. Dustin has started his job, and I start a new one on January (more to come on that). We love the area (I tell ATL people that Albany resembles Decatur to give perspective) and have even found a church we love.
A quick roundup of 10 highlights, learnings and surprises:
Pleasant Surprises: Some things we’ve learned are pleasant surprises, like how Cracker Barrel serves grits, even up north. (We may have made a visit on Thanksgiving to safe guard against too much homesickness.) And, because the weather is so cold, houses often have an “entry way” in the front foyer to keep out the wind, which means we technically have two front doors and most importantly a place for TWO front door Christmas wreaths (one of which is a real, beautiful wreath from my mama). Awesome.
Tragedies: Some things are downright tragic, like how there is no such thing as “two buck chuck” (cheap Trader Joe’s wine) because grocery stores don’t sell wine. Tragic, I know.
Comforts: Some things are comforting. We found out that some of Dustin’s friends arrived as clueless to handle winter weather as we did. It’s terrible that we’re taking comfort at their expense; yet, we are. In fact, two of Dustin’s friends didn’t get a snow shovel and tried to shovel with their hands because they couldn’t get out of their driveway to go to work. Another tried to melt the ice on his windshield by pouring boiling water on it (bad idea – it freezes).
Difficulties: Some things are hard, like we expected. We miss our families. Skype is used regularly on our computers. It’s hard for us to think about how far we are from Mrs. Kathy, Dustin’s mom, who is going through chemo and radiation. But, Dr. Fred (Dustin’s dad), and Misty (Dustin’s sister), and close friends are nearby to take care of her around the clock.
And I dearly miss friends. We had the chance to spend valuable time with family in Atlanta this past weekend for Dustin’s graduation, but after all the shuttling between houses and coordinating cars, and other transportation logistics, we were left with almost no time to rest, let alone see dear friends who we already miss so much. Phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook just aren’t the same. We have work to do to better figure that out.
Undeniable, precious blessings: But mostly, things are undeniable blessings. Before our moving truck had even arrived, we visited a church that felt like home and are visiting small groups to find the perfect fit. I’m certain this is an answered prayer. And, I’m excited to start a wonderful local job (again, more to come on that) to get more personally connected in the area. The snow is calming – quiet and white. And it’s amazing how quickly we’ve acclimated to the cold. And, I can’t remember when I’ve ever slept better.
We miss our Atlanta friends and family. But, we are optimistic and excited in anticipation of this future that we can’t yet imagine but will bring more adventures and unexpected surprises.