As much as I enjoy gleaning new information from books, podcasts, and other third-party sources, there is no place like the school of life for amassing serious wisdom, and a big life change provides particularly fertile ground for cultivating new knowledge. For this month’s What I Learned post and linkup, rather than sharing my usual hodgepodge of trivia and random aha moments, I’m reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned over these past few months of finding a new home and relocating to a brand new state. From painful to exhilarating, these recent revelations have certainly been filling up my wisdom tank!
On our week-long house-hunting trip to Austin, I learned:
- Flying with a 1-year-old doesn’t have to be a terrible experience! Here are a few things I learned from our experience of flying with a toddler:
- Wheeling a stroller all the way to the gate, rather than checking it with the rest of the luggage, makes it much easier to navigate an airport.
- Keeping the car seat with you on the plane guarantees that your family of three will have your own row on a (partially booked Southwest) flight.
- Should you choose not to bring the car seat into the cabin (as we did on our first flight), nursing your baby in the aisle seat the minute you sit down is another easy way to deter a third passenger from joining your row. (<—While effective, this tactic is not for the easily embarrassed!)
- It is possible to find “the perfect home” to rent within just a few days; a good realtor definitely helps.
- Regardless of how much disinfecting you do, no number of antibacterial wipes can completely safeguard your child from catching a cold on the plane.
Through the moving process itself, I learned:
- Boxing up an entire house, especially with a toddler underfoot, is miserable.
- Saying goodbye is really, really hard. There will be tears involved.
- Driving across several states in just a couple of days is exhausting. Fueling up on sugar and caffeine makes the I-can’t-possibly-stay-awake-any-longer situation even worse.
- Hiring movers makes the moving process much more tolerable, but. . .
- It increases the likelihood of things breaking in the move (our list of casualties included several pieces of my formal dishes, a few vases, an antique dresser, and the walls in our new house’s stairwell).
- It also may mean that you spend a few weeks in your new home without all of your personal possessions. However. . .
- Living in an empty house has its perks:
- You realize how few of your belongings are true necessities.
- It gives you a chance to become familiar with your new neighborhood before having to deal with unpacking.
- You buy some time with your house to think about how you will arrange your furniture, organize your pantry, etc., before your items clutter up your living space and your judgment.
During our two months living in Texas, I’ve been learning:
- Living in a new place is exciting! It’s fun to experience your surroundings through fresh eyes, and a change of scenery allows you to look at the world in an entirely new way.
- Moving to a state where you know almost nobody can be lonely, even for an introvert.
- Making new friends is hard, and established groups of mom friends can be very cliquey. However, I am also realizing that:
- This behavior is probably unintentional.
- I’ve likely acted similarly in the past.
- I need to be proactive about being inclusive to newcomers in the future.
- Creating an entirely toddler-friendly household, complete with bare tabletops, baby gates, and even some totally empty rooms, is inconvenient and visually unappealing, but it allows for much less stress, cleaning up, and child-induced annoyances.
- Lowering one’s expectations—about a house, a room’s organization, or even the timeline for building new friendships—can exponentially increase personal satisfaction with one’s living situation.
- Living in an actual house, especially one with two stories, will make you feel like you have finally reached adulthood in a way that even marriage and motherhood were unable to accomplish. (Okay, this one might just be me. But I’ve never felt quite so “adult” as I do climbing up our very own set of stairs.)
A few things I’ve learned about Austin, Texas:
- All of my preconceived stereotypes about Texas were WRONG! There are no cacti and very few cowboys, and while people do say “y’all,” they mostly do so without a southern accent.
- Toll roads are confusing, annoying, and apparently unavoidable.
- HEB is practically the only grocery store, and it’s everywhere. Which is fine, because it happens to be a pretty awesome store.
- Target, Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and a number of my other favorite hangouts are exactly the same in Texas as they were in California. Wahoo’s is not. (And yet I still have manged to convince Luke to eat there with me on quite a few occasions.)
- The acres of bare trees lining the road in February are not the aftermath of a devastating fire but are, in fact, the natural state taken by foliage in places that have seasons.
- Forget everything you thought you knew about thunderstorms. The storms here prove that everything really is bigger—MUCH BIGGER—in Texas!
- Spring in Texas is incredible, and you will find yourself saying “it is so GREEN here” at least ten times every day.
Have you ever made a cross-country move? What were some things you learned in the process? If you are a fellow Texan, do you have any words of wisdom to offer me as we continue to settle into our new home?