Tag Archives: Raleigh

Sooo out of my element…

12 Oct

Every time I hear a Southern accent I cringe slightly. And every time I hear a northern one my ears perk up as I try to locate the source. That’s been my week, in a nutshell.

I know it will get easier. I know it will get better. Transition is hard on everyone, and certainly aggravated with a two year old in tow, who is also feeling a bit displaced and confused. We spent every morning this week with him shrieking, “No like school!! No want to go!! No, mommmmmmmy!!” It was heartbreaking. This is a kid who’s always loved going to daycare. He loved his teachers, he loved his friends. He would race me inside the school every morning, and then practically push me out the door because he was a “big boy” who didn’t need his mama. Talk about disruption to our lives… this isn’t easy on ANY of us.

I spent a lot of this week thinking about the things I took for granted living in New York. Things like:

  • General sophistication that comes with a New York state of mind. Not that people here aren’t “sophisticated” in their own right. It’s just… different. Any New Yorker will know exactly what I mean. Are we elitist? Yup. No question. Are we apologetic for it? Nope.
  • Access to things that other people just don’t have. Like being able to sit in on a taping of “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen. Or sitting next to Richard Gere in a local restaurant. Or being in the audience for a VH1 Storytellers concert. Or getting to see the inner workings of Dan Barber’s kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I know that sounds very “celebutante” of me, but it’s true! Those experiences are SO New York.
  • The narrow, uneven back roads. The Saw Mill Parkway. The Merritt. Seriously, the roads down here are in perfect condition, they are super wide, and it’s a breeze driving anywhere. You could probably do it with your eyes closed. But isn’t there something sort of charming about winding up the Saw Mill? I never thought about it until I wasn’t doing it anymore. And yep, I miss those twists and turns and dangerously narrow lanes.
  • Relatively easy access into creative communities. I clearly need to find my way, and figure out where the creatives hang out and work and play, but for now I’m just a little bit missing my smarty pants peeps who inspire me, make me laugh and teach me new stuff.

Hmmph. Today the North Carolina State Fair opened. This is apparently the biggest deal in the world to North Carolinians. We are thinking about hitting it up this weekend, so be on the lookout for a post about fried soda, pig races and pie contests. In the meantime, go out and enjoy New York… grit, grime, bad attitudes and all. And take me with you in spirit…

Week one in the RTP: a recap

5 Oct

Getting our pizza fix.

So we’ve survived our first week down south. Here’s a recap of what’s gone down in Raleigh-town:

  • I’m realizing how jaded, bitter, and unfriendly service people in New York are. And how there is no accountability for this behavior. Down south, service people are friendly, approachable, and genuinely interested when they say “gooooood mornin’ ma’am! How’s your day goin’ so far?” I mean seriously, ya’ll. Who knew a cup of coffee could come with such cheer??
  • Cleanliness is clearly next to godliness. Literally. Down here they are super-tuned in to both. The churches here are about the size of The Westchester. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – and streets and sidewalks are SPOTLESS. Like, eat off them spotless. People here just seem to care more about their environs. Word up to that.
  • It’s a kid’s world. This area is MADE for kids. Everywhere I turn I see a playground or park. And each one is bigger and more amazing than the last. Last night we hit up a park in Durham that hosts a “First Thursday” night, with awesome, local, totally hipster food trucks serving up everything from pizza to “peace pops” to locally crafted ice cream. Hundreds of kids were just running around, jumping, playing, doing wheelbarrow races, and generally just having an awesome, old-fashioned “kid” time while moms and dads hung out, chatted, and chowed. It was like Park Slope. In the south.
  • Bugs are bigger here. And just like in New York, they like me. A lot. I’m already covered in red, splotchy bites which I can’t help but scratch at constantly. Not cute. I’mma have to find a serious bug spray, hopefully one that won’t kill me with chemicals. Like the things on this list. 
  • People of Raleigh eat well. Really well. We aren’t exactly “set up” in this corporate apartment to be able to do a whole lot of cooking (the kitchen is great and modern, but their version of “furnished” includes one small pot and a pan big enough to cook one measly little piece of chicken in). So we’ve been eating out and ordering in. And let’s just say, we haven’t had a bad meal yet. Not even a mediocre one. From chinese food to Mexican to locavore fresh, I’m seriously impressed. And considering how important food is to my happiness and stability, the hubby is very, very thankful as well.
  • The sheer options in terms of grocery stores. No longer am I relegated to A&P as the only option in town. (Unless I counted overpriced Mrs. Greens, which I didn’t, because it was wildly overpriced.) Here I’ve got Trader Joes, Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter all within a mile or so of one another. Each one I visit is better than the last. They’re big, they’re super-stocked, they’re CHEAPER than back home, and did I mention the people that work there are FRIENDLY?? How novel!
  • Parents aren’t as concerned with outward appearances. Kids act like kids. No one here seems to bat an eye at a public tantrum, whereas back home I felt like all eyes were on me, judging, if Jack so much as made a peep in a coffee shop or cafe. This could be a game changer.
  • The weather is ridiculous. It’s October and it’s like 78-85 degrees and sunny. I sooo did not expect it to be this warm still, and didn’t pack appropriately at all for my month of “interim” living. I totally look like a Northern outcast, in my jeans and sweaters, while everyone else around me is in flip flops and shorts.

Anyone have any more NY-vs-the-world differences to share?

Goodbye, Westchester.

21 Sep

I’m out of here.

And I’ve struggled with how to share this news with my readers. I guess also because truthfully, I’ve been struggling with the news myself.

Westchester Life is moving… to Raleigh.

As some of you know, I’ve grappled with the “should we stay or should we go” conundrum for years. New York has a way of sinking its gritty teeth into you, and making you its bitch. But we got a get out of jail free card: a job offer for my hubby in Raleigh, North Carolina.

When the offer came, it was that moment in the game of chicken where you are forced to actually make a move because the other party is charging at you, full force. Sure, we had talked about leaving New York. I’ve shared with you my love/hate feelings before. But never was it a real, tangible option… at least not one with a real, tangible job offer attached to it. This time was different.

So we flew down, we did some recon, we ate some food, we talked to some people. We drove through neighborhoods, we checked out some pre-schools. And the verdict? A unanimous “It’s just easier in Raleigh.”

So I’m leaving, on a jet plane… I don’t know when I’ll be back again.

And I’m ok with it. I’m viewing this entire move as “an adventure.” The adventure of our lives. Moving somewhere else, experiencing something outside of this bubble we live in in New York is both scary and exciting. We won’t know anyone there. We won’t know our way around. We won’t have our go-to “spots.” We’ll have to start over, and make new friends, and find our favorite local places. But that’s kind of fun, no? The discovery of it all? The newness?

I write this as I come down off a high from a very inspiring coffee date this AM with Sheri Silver, bloggess and adventurer and free spirit and awesome mom. She asked me if I was going to continue WestchesterLife. I told her I didn’t know, that I hoped to… but I didn’t know how to transition this thing that was so location-centric to.. .well, a new location. She told me that my blog was more than that. She reminded me that I write about my experiences as a mom, as a self-employed writer, and as myself, and that people (apparently) like to share those experiences with me — the location is secondary. So if you’re glad to hear that I’ll be continuing this blog from Raleigh, you have Sheri to thank for showing me the way.

So, when does this madness happen? Next week. That’s right. I’ve let denial shape this long enough. It’s going down in Chinatown in ONE WEEK. One week! I’ll keep writing from here, before I transition this sucker over to RaleighLife. Eek, ya’ll!

So, what to make of packing it up and moving down south? Well let’s see… here are the things I’m actually looking forward to:

  • Milder weather. Longer falls and springs and a shorter, milder winter. Bring on the boots and sundresses, donate all 45 of my winter coats. Sweet.
  • Lower cost of living. It’s going to be an eye-opening exercise realizing how much money we’ve been pissing away living here in New York. It may require therapy to get over , actually, given how much less it costs to live in other parts of the country. From gas prices to childcare to home costs, it’s just cheaper outside of this crazy Big Apple bubble.
  • Living somewhere that celebrates FAMILY. Raleigh is famous for being a very family-friendly place to live. That means an abundance of parks, trails, activities, festivals, fun weekend jaunts, outdoor movies, markets and more.
  •  Less “have-tos.” Living here in the 914, in my 1904 fixer upper, has come with its challenges and obligations. We are constantly working on our house, my husband  can easily spend an entire weekend in the garage, and we’re always running around like chickens with our heads cut off. It’s always just been chalked up to, well… that’s life. But there’s something semi-refreshing about going somewhere no one really knows us. No plans! And renting a brand new, pristine house? No laboring over bathrooms and B.S.! AHH, the freedom!
  • Taking it down a notch. Just a hair. A sliver, really. Because I am truly a worker bee, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’m hoping some of the slow Southern nature will rub off on me a little. I want to relish in reading a book. Or linger a bit longer over a cup of coffee. And maybe do both without my iPhone dangerously close by.

Well there you have it. You’ll be hearing more about my adventures, trials and tribulations in the coming weeks, as we begin our sherpa trek down south.

Stay tuned!