Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: The Second

I was born in Texas, and most of my family still lives there. Part of my heart will always belong to Texas. Also, I lived in Asheville, NC from 2005 to 2012 and loved it. I loved Asheville; I loved it to the point that I still can't let myself think too much about how much I miss it because it's just too painful. Brian and I were married there, and both our children were born there. Culturally, geographically, size-wise, and career-wise, it was a perfect fit of a town for me, and I miss it. Oh, how I miss it.

Beautiful, isn't it? source

During the summer of 2012, after a sad and difficult series of events, we finally came to terms with the fact that we had to leave Asheville. To go where? Well, I cast my vote for TX. But that's not where we ended up. Instead, we ended up in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was a hard move for me. It's the north, as far as I'm concerned (I don't want to hear any nonsense about the Mason-Dixon line--this is the NORTH), and I'm a southern girl. Plus, we're near my in-laws, not near my parents. Nothing against my in-laws here, it was just not the direction I wanted to head.

We sold our house in Asheville just about exactly one year ago. I arrived in Maryland with our two kids, and our family commenced living with my in-laws for five months. Oh. my.

But, BUT, it hasn't been a terrible thing. In some ways, where we live now is a wonderful place for our family and its needs. We did finally find a house of our own. So, in honor of TToT, I am going to find ten things I can be thankful about in our move to Montgomery County, MD. Welcome to my culture shock.

1. All I have to do is rake the leaves to the curb and a truck comes by and mulches those suckers right up! What? WHAT?!?! I've never heard of such service! I try to remember service like this when I see our tax bill (which I never do because I don't pay the bills, so I just try to remember this when I imagine how high our tax bill is).

2. My four-year-old daughter qualifies for half-day pre-K free because of her special needs. A bus for just the students in her class comes to our house every school day to pick her up and drop her off. There is a driver and an aide and a five-point harness for each student. Again, those taxes. But, yay!


3. Listservs are big around here. It seems most neighborhoods have them, including our own. Many people in our neighborhood are living so comfortably they would rather give things away than have to cart them away themselves. We have scored a soaker hose, about 20 ceramic pots, a pile of classic children's books, a plush black cat (who played Edwin to Maggie's Olivia) among other bits and pieces. We pass up the large furniture items like couches and desks. Seriously, it's a scavenger's dream around here.

4. Proximity to a Costco. Because doesn't everyone need a piece of beef this large?


5. And while we're on the grocery shopping topic, there's Trader Joe's and its chocolate, to which we are all addicted. 

6. It's no secret that I'd prefer to live near my parents than Brian's; they're my parents, after all. But we do get free babysitting. We try not to take advantage of it very often, but free babysitting is a priceless treasure.

7. There are a lot of parks and libraries around here. And they're nice ones, too.

8. Public transit. People love to hate on the DC Metro, but for someone who's never lived in an area with reliable and frequent public transit, it's sooooo cool. And for my kids, riding the Metro is an adventure itself.

And the two biggies:

9. Brian has a job he enjoys at which he also excels. He admires his colleagues and receives positive feedback from his bosses. He is able to continue working with the neediest of needy students as he feels called to do and is able to see that the work he does with them is making a difference.

10. And, while this is unusual for such as expensive place to live as this, we can afford for me to stay home. I am a more patient mother, more cheerful spouse, and a happier person overall when I have less on my plate (or, rather, when I am the one deciding what exactly is on my plate). Leaving the house and interacting with people takes it out of me. A slower pace and less human interaction allows me to put more energy into building my parenting skills and taking care of all that stuff that has to get done when you're a homeowner. And blogging, of course.


So, not a bad situation at all.

Ten Things of Thankful

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30 comments :

  1. Sarah, you made me smile about it being too far north for you. I was born and raised in NY. As much as I love NY, I wish I could live further south just for warmer weather alone, especially now that the winter is almost here again. So not a cold weather person, so this time of year in particular I wish I could be a snow bird and move south. But seriously, loved your list and I get the in-law part perfectly. As much as I love mine, I still can't help, but feel closer to my own parents, because after all they are mine. So yes, I totally get that!

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    1. Ha, Janine! It's all in the perspective. I don't mind the cold terribly (though ask me again in March and you'll get a different answer); it's really more of cultural thing. Don't worry: I'm not talking about Confederate flags here; I'm thinking of less offensive culture.

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  2. A great list, indeed. It sounds like you are all really thriving in your new setting. Funny how you think it's so far North - I would think that is way too far South (south = HOT).

    Your daughter is too cute - such beautiful eyes! And that pre-K program/bus thing sounds like a really great situation.

    Have a great rest of the weekend!

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    1. Ugh, yes it does get hot. I have to say I like four distinct seasons (something I didn't get growing up), but I always get grumpy in the extremes.

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    2. I miss four distinct seasons...I remember much more specific divisions in them when I was a kid. Now it's hot or cold, no in between.

      Also, not related, I nominated you for a Liebster award if you're game. http://www.themeaningofme.com/a-double-liebster-please/

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  3. Such beautiful children!! I applaud you for working hard to adopt a positive attitude about a move that wasn't exactly what you've dreamed of. Over the years I've lived in eight states and 18 cities and some of them required attitude adjustment. :-) There are always some good things to be found, and it looks like you are doing just that. Getting to be a stay at home mommy is a huge plus! I'm betting that a couple years from now it will feel more like home and you'll be talking like a Northerner... no, probably not! Down here in Texas they tease me about the Midwest accent I didn't even know I had! :-)

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    1. Josie, my mother grew up in the Midwest but has lived most of her life in Texas now. It's her adopted home state. Maybe you'll feel like that someday?

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  4. One of these days, I need to write a post about all the great things about where I live. I try not to complain, but I also haven't been too vocal about the positive things. Kudos to you. I haven't spent much time in Maryland, so I'm not very familiar with the area, but you make it sound really lovely!

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    1. There are definite positives. Write one yourself, and I'll tune in!

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  5. Just today, as I was helping to bag over 200 bags of leaves, I thought, "I really wish this yard was in a place where people just had to push their leaves to the curb." How lovely.
    Asheville is a beautiful place, but it sounds like there are plenty of good things in MD, too. I would love to be able to hop on a Metro to get downtown.
    What in the world cut of meat was that?!?!?!
    The photo of your daughter on the bus is adorable.
    So glad to see you back in the hop this week!

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    1. Christine, I did make the mistake of letting it rain before I got at it. Valuable lesson learned. 200 bags in INSANE! I forget what kind of cut already! Something cheap. I already cut it into smaller chunks for freezing. It will become chili or stew one of these fall or winter days.

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    1. I worried a little about offending vegetarians. Glad I found a fan!

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  7. Fantastic idea for a TToT post to find all the positives in the place where you live. Asheville does look like a beautiful place :) I agree with you wholeheartedly on #10 - I feel exactly the same. How wonderful that your hubby is happy in his work. It can be so hard on the family if someone is miserable in their job. Love the photo of your kids playing in the leaves and the photo of your little girl is gorgeous - such big brown eyes! Have a wonderful week :)

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    1. Absolutely! We've been on the other side of the work situation, let me tell you. I liked my job in Asheville, but the truth is, I'm happier staying home.

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  8. Hey, look at you GO! And hats off to you, Sarah, for taking this TToT thing and using it as a tool to find the Good. That's EXACTLY what it's about. And you've done amazingly! There are some gorgeous, wonderful things on your list, and I'm so pleased you shared them.

    My absolute favourite is the leaf-pranking photo at the end. We just don't get leaves like that here, and whilst I'm sure they're a pain to sweep or bag up, they look like SO much fun :

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    1. We didn't have enough big trees at our old house to have to do much raking so this is our first year to really do it. I have LOVED how gung-ho my daughter is with them. She literally runs and jumps. She must be getting some good sensory input.

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  9. hey I remember (sort of) the running and jumping into a pile of raked leaves! (Must have been in the <teen rubber bones years lol). Still a good memory.

    Hey! you said Ashville, right? our friend Cyndi (pictimilitude) is from there and/or goes to school there… what a tiny blogosphere it is!

    sounds like you have found a nice place to live… to have access to large population centers while being able to enjoy the slower pace of out-lying areas…very nice combo

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  10. I lived in Nashville for 10 years and never wanted to leave it. It is my Bali Hai, pulling me back all the time. The best I can do is visit occasionally. So I know exactly how you feel about Asheville!

    We stayed in College Park, MD, four years ago when my son competed at National History Day and LOVED the Metro! We live in a place with NO public transportation (and may I just say that I first typed "pubic" transportation but caught it in time, but it was too funny not to mention it). With a cool system like the Metro, you can go anywhere and so easily! Have a great time exploring!

    Your daughter has gorgeous brown eyes! Glad she gets to take advantage of the pre-k program.

    And I know that your in-laws can be as nice as nice can be, but they're not YOUR parents. I totally get it.

    Have a great week, Sarah!

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    1. You know, Dyanne, my mother just posted on facebook how Port Arthur, TX became her heart's hometown though she grew up in Iowa. There are just some places that touch you in that way. I love your South Pacific reference.

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    2. And I'm impressed that you got my South Pacific reference! I was afraid you'd be too young to have seen it.

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  11. Yeah - small blogosphere! Got your comment (haven't responded to it, yet, haha) but yes, Asheville. I'm a transplant myself. Grew up in Colorado. Loove Colorado. I love Asheville slightly more. Okay, maybe the same. They each have things I love and things that annoy me. Colorado loves teachers. NC doesn't so much - not at least right now. I'm a teacher. Love the leaves and colors and the not-so-cold winters. In Colorado, I'm a popsicle in the winters. Who am I kidding? I'm a popsicle whenever it's below 70. :)
    I actually don't live RIGHT in Asheville - I live in Marshall. But I work in W. Asheville. We moved here in 2007 and I've been working in W. Asheville ever since - commuting the whole time. I love the people, culture and diversity. Don't love the lack of opportunity for my mechanical-engineer husband and if you don't teach (I want to branch out)...you...work in a restaurant? Or blog, and we all know that makes you instantly rich and famous. Hehe. Just kidding. But yeah, there are things I absolutely love and things I don't love so much but I'd rather live here than pretty much anywhere else. Not that that helps if you're missing it. I do hope your new place grows on you. It does sound like it has some awesome perks. :) Sometimes I think about moving because they pay teachers like three times what I make here (I am not even exaggerating) in places like Virginia and Ohio. So far, though, we're staying because we do love it, our family is here, friends are here, and our cool little house is here....
    Nice to meet you. :) See you around the blogosphere. HUGS

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  12. Wow, what an awesome list! I'm in Northern VA (moved here from Colorado so also a transplant) and I'm still jumping up and down over leaf removal, special needs schools, the bus coming to our door every day, and the freaking awesome METRO!! Whoop! And the leaves here are awesome! My husband has an aunt who lives near Ashville. He's from Elizabethton, TN.

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    1. I had sort of gleaned you lived in the DC area. Something about the Air and Space museum, I think. I bet your leaves are gone by now, though. Ours nearly are.

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  13. Being a Southern girl myself, and having lived very near Asheville (Waynesville) for the first 3 years of my married life, and having moved around, a lot, I understand the difficulty in having to move far away from places (and people) you love--and really digging to find those silver linings. I feel you!! Hubby and I grew up in NC, eastern part mostly. And I do pine for the day when we will be able to live back in our home state and near our people again. Here's hoping. And here's to your adjustment!

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    1. Your home state is always home in a part of your heart, huh? Texas always will be for me.

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  14. Wow. That would be a huge adjustment for me, too! It would be a lot harder without your in-laws there, though, so that's great that you have some support. I love your thankful list. I don't know what Listservs is, but I get a hunch at it from your description. Sounds awesome! And the leaves thing....whaaaa? That. Is. Genius. Why don't they have that in Texas?? I love a place that has good parks and libraries. Good for you for the TToT. I missed it this week....I'll be back this coming Saturday!

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    1. That's partly why I'd never heard of it. I've spent most of my life in Texas. I love the TToT!

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