Sunday, November 8, 2009

My first "independent" move

My previous experiences with moving and why some people may think I am not going to actually move to Boston.

In 2002 I decided I needed a change in my life. I had a good job, was fresh out of college, single and living with my mom and brother. I wanted to move somewhere else. And not just out of my home, out of state. My choice was Arizona. The company I was with had an office in Scottsdale and I thought that it would be great to move there and keep my job. I talked about it with my friend L (who lived in GA – we had met when I lived down there in 7th grade and we remained friends ever since) who was willing to move too. We talked and talked and talked and nothing happened. I don’t remember why but it never did.

Fast forward about 9-10 months and I am living in my own apartment. I am 22 and super happy. Getting trashed every weekend with another friend L (different one but I have known her since 7th grade too lol). During our run of the town I make a decision to call an ex. He and I end up back together and talk about getting married. We even get so far as to figure out what to do about my apartment, where we want to live until we can buy a house and to pick a date (April 24, 2004). A few weeks later he ends things with me. I am crushed. Crush doesn’t begin to explain how I felt. Devastated, destroyed, shattered, heartbroken, worthless…you get my point.

It was after he did this that I again thought about Arizona. And seriously thought about Arizona. I looked up apartments, moving companies, schools (I was considering finishing my BS since I only had my AA). I talked to my boss about transferring with the company and things were put in motion. I had to quit my job in PA and be re-hired in AZ. But I was fine with that. I also looked into some other jobs just in case. I found an apartment, I talked with the leasing agent, and she sent me all the paperwork. Things were moving forward. I told my family, I told my friends and I began packing. In less than two months I had went from desolate and heartbroken to a new woman with a plan.

Unfortunately that plan was devised amidst all that heartache. And a plan sculpted with pain will end in almost the same manner.

I drove to my new life. Stopping for a few days in Durango to visit my two aunts and their husbands. I relished in the independence I felt and the freedom to do what I pleased. I enjoyed the landscape and seeing parts of the country I had never seen before. Maggie and I drove along, stopping every now and then to stretch our legs and of course at night to sleep. However, I was homesick. I was scared of what was waiting for me when I got there and reluctant to truly let go of what I had left behind. My heart was not entirely into the move. But I thought that once I got out there I would be fine. I knew no one but I would make friends.

When things aren’t meant to be, the world has a way of showing you. It is up to you though to listen to what is said. My first clue was the speeding ticket I got in Bumblebee AZ. I remember the name because I thought it was a silly name for a town. I was following traffic but the out-of-towner got pulled over. Check one. My second sign was driving up to Phoenix. I was expecting to be awed by high rises and buildings. Instead, it was low to mid rise buildings and mountains in the background. I adored Philly’s skyline and was disappointed it wasn’t there. Check two. My third, and should have been loudest, sign was the complex’s unwillingness to accept cash. I had brought all cash with me since I had closed my checking account (yes looking back I know carrying around a large amount of cash was stupid…I never said this was a smart trip) and only had cash on me. They insisted I go to the nearest bank, open an account and get a cashier’s check. They also said I could postpone the signing until the next day, but I was anxious to not sleep in a hotel again. So away I went. Check three. The fourth, and maybe this is tied with third for loudest, was them not having my key after signing my life away. I was dropped off at my “door” while maintenance went to find the correct one. It took over an hour for them to figure out where it had been. I eventually got into my apartment and “settled” in. Check four.

I unloaded my car, with the help of my neighbor and her boyfriend who were super nice. The apartment was great. I had plans for purchasing new furniture since I left my sofas in PA (way too expensive to have moved). I couldn’t wait to make the place mine. First thing I had to do was get food. Luckily there was a shopping center up the street. I remember standing in the cereal aisle looking at all the food and thinking how the brands were so different than in Philly. I started crying. I wanted to go home. And I didn’t mean my apartment, I meant PA. I couldn’t stay there, I couldn’t make AZ my home. I had been there for less than 12 hours and I was desperate to get back. I knew I had left for all of the wrong reasons. I grabbed some food that I knew would hold me over for a few days and went back to think on my new “plan”.

Phone calls were made to everyone, in hopes that someone would talk some sense into me and I would stay. That didn’t happen. The only person who told me to stay and give it a try was my mom. My friends we ecstatic that I wanted to come home. To this day I remember sitting on the floor in my dining room, knees to my chest, sobbing to my dad that I wanted to come home. He told me to do it if I wanted to. I said I didn’t want to look like a failure to him. He told me that he was proud of me for trying and that if I wanted to come back, he supported it. That did it. I’ve always been daddy’s little girl.

Needless to say I came back home. I was able to get my old job back and I moved in with my grandparents. I was around for the birth of my nephew James (I had found out Tracy was pregnant a few days before I left).

Looking back I realize that I left to get away from my life that was here. I didn’t leave to go on to bigger and better things. I had never visited AZ before; I had barely even seen pictures of it. I knew no one and expected to make friends. I don’t make friends easily. I never have and never will. I’m shy and quiet (yes I swear I really am until you get to know me) and avoid people. I don’t know how I thought I would make it. I wasn’t secured a job and I was NOT happy. I learned a lot from that adventure of mine. I grew up and realized that I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. I also learned that every action has consequences. I was still paying off the debt from that trip three years later (apartment complex was not too happy I stayed a day).

So you can see why people are skeptical about my choice to move to Boston. But things are entirely different. I have friends up there, I am in a better place in my life emotionally, I’m not moving for some guy, I’m moving for ME. When I first started thinking about AZ in 2002 I thought that I could travel and live in different areas of the country. I thought about North Carolina, Boston and NYC. I even contemplated Florida so I could ride all the time (horses). But I have stayed in PA since coming back in 2003. Ironically, this Thursday the 12th will be exactly 6 years since I came back. So much has happened since then and I am ready to begin the next chapter of my life.

This is the view from my 3rd floor apartment in Scottsdale.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading this "adventure." I'm glad you are in a "better" place in life now! And I definitely support your move to Boston!!! I think it will be great!!!

  2. Sounds like what you needed back then was a serious, independent road trip - to clear your head, re-evaluate your life, and decide who you wanted to be. Once you made the trip, you knew you needed to be back in Philly and good for you for listening to yourself.

    It does sound like this move to Boston is an entirely different scenario. My only caution for you (not that you asked, haha) is just to remember you don't have anything to prove. If you change your mind, you change your mind. Don't let what you THINK others expect of you to influence what you really want.

    And btw, I packed my life up and moved it - not to another state, but from a tiny cow-town to (comparatively) a huge city; it was a decision made in the span of 10 measly days...and I stayed! Big moves can and do work out.

    Good luck to you! :)

  3. Rhi - I think that was also part of my problem then. I wanted to prove that I would do it, even if I didn't want to do it deep down inside. Always listen to your gut :)

    Dam 10 days! Good for you!!!!

    Thanks Katey :)

  4. Welcome to BOSTON! I love love love my CF doc, if you want a recommendation. (I don't want to post his name..), but send me an email. YAY!

  5. Follow YOUR gut instict...who cares what other people think/say. :)