Three years ago, I crazily agreed to move to Charleston, SC, sight unseen, for Jon to do a residency in pediatrics. I hadn’t even laid eyes on the place until a marathon weekend when we came to buy a house (our first house!). While the first year was so so so very hard, being my first year post-college, my second year of marriage, Jon’s super-hellish intern year, and the farthest we’d ever lived from all our nearest and dearest, we eventually realized it wasn’t so bad here. After working a crappy real estate job for a year and a half, I got laid off due to the recession and found a much better (though lower-paying) job at a college with coworkers I enjoy and the opportunity to take some graduate English classes and realize that English lit really is my passion. And it seems that now, just as I’ve hit my stride, we’ve begun the slow process of saying goodbye.
In some ways, I feel like we’re still living with a girlfriend we’ve already broken up with. We’ve already got one foot out the door. And even though our house is up for sale, and I’ve already taken to browsing cute houses in the neighborhood we’re hoping to live in in Little Rock (where Jon is now going to be doing a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine), it’s like Charleston is making a last-ditch effort to win our hearts and keep us from walking away. She’s decking herself out in golden sunshine and gorgeous flowers- camellias and pear trees and azaleas– hoping to catch our eye with her beauty. She’s warming up and whispering in our ears about lazy afternoons spent sitting on the beach. She’s even started sweet talking us– my boss can’t stop lamenting my leaving and telling me what wonderful things I’ve done for the department. And she’s trying to make us jealous, flirting with a new crop of medical residents and suggesting that maybe she’ll be just fine without us.
The truth is, I didn’t expect it, but I fell for Charleston. I love the narrow streets and hundreds-of-years-old houses of downtown, with jasmine covered fences and gnarled live-oaks dripping with Spanish moss. I love that there are 80+ amazing restaurants to visit and enjoy. I love the weather. I love being able to go to the beach every single weekend. I love my neighborhood and my cute old house. So while I’m ecstatic to be moving back home to Little Rock, closer to friends and family, and while I’m already scoping out the perfect Hillcrest bungalow, I’m also a little bit heartbroken to be giving up this unexpected love I found for an old Southern belle. And as she keeps turning on her charms, it’s getting harder and harder to face the fact that we’re leaving at the end of June, no matter how excited I am to go back home.