Saturday, May 7, 2011

One Year Tribute

 Time goes so fast. I can't believe I've been in Charlotte, North Carolina for an entire year already.
My one year anniversary here was May 1st, 2011. That could only mean one thing: it's anniversary/tribute time. Enjoy my memories :)

 April 2010: two days before I moved from Ohio to North Carolina, my friends and I gathered for a going away party in Dayton, Ohio
 I said goodbye to my best friends, girls I've known through college and after.

My best friend, big sister, soulmate

I was touched by how many people came out to see me off and wish me well

Saying goodbye to my sorority sisters was so bittersweet. I love these girls so much and while we were all excited for my new beginning, it was scary and sad to say goodbye!

 The next morning I packed up the Uhaul with one of my best friends, Dan. Dan and I met in nursing school and became fast friends. We studied together almost every single day, and I swear I wouldn't have gotten A's in physiology if it weren't for his awesome tutoring skills. Everyone thought we were dating (although I had a boyfriend) but the thing I loved about Dan was that he never cared what anyone else thought. He was always there for me, looking out for me like a big brother. He stood by me through moves, breakups, new jobs, bad days and good days. He also drove the Uhaul down to NC for me while I drove my car down!

For the first couple of days after arriving in Charlotte, our apartment looked like this. Sometimes it felt like I would never get everything unpacked.

 You would think that moving down South to warmer weather and getting to live in the same state as The Boyfriend after doing a long-distance thing would have made me ecstatic with joy and happiness.

 Quite the contrary: I underestimated what a huge life change this would be and spent a lot of my first weeks in North Carolina simply crying. Many long hours of counseling were spent on the phone with my Mom and friends, second-guessing my decision to move and crying my eyes out. Often times I would burst into spontaneous tears throughout the day, wondering what had become of my life and feeling lost and alone. One time The Boyfriend and I were driving to church and out of nowhere I started crying and couldn't stop. Needless to say, we never made it into church. I'm such a treat.

 Some of the best advice my Mom told me was that it takes 6 weeks for culture shock to subside. The Boyfriend was so patient with me and sure enough, within 6 weeks I was feeling like myself again.

 Once I had stopped crying, we had a lot of fun being in the sun and doing things outside. This boardwalk is attached to our neighborhood!

We loved going Uptown and walking around, or doing anything having to do with exploring new parts of the city:

It wasn't all fun and games, though. We had a pretty rough start to our life in the south that we still haven't completely come out of. Starting that summer I held down two jobs: I was nursing in a hospital full time and serving tables on the weekends and inbetween nursing shifts. It was hard working 7 days a week and I didn't enjoy it. It took months and months for us to realize that money can't buy happiness and we had to force ourselves to live life  despite the financial situation we found ourselves in.

 One of the best things we did was take a small trip to Charleston, SC. This trip showed us that it only takes a little money to have a lot of fun.

One of the other things we did that summer was get a rescue kitten. Jakie has brought so much joy and love into our life, it's hard to imagine what our lives were like before him.

He is absolutely precious. 

  That fall The Boyfriend and I watched the movie Earthlings and dove head first into veganism. I have been vegan for 3 years but this was the first time I really embraced it for other reasons: ethical, environmental, moral, and health reasons all meshing and working together. I was surprised and delighted to find that The Boyfriend felt so strongly about veganism and we have been an unstoppable team ever since!

 That fall/winter we also made numerous trips up North to visit friends and see family:

In December I started a new job working in the ICU at one of the biggest hospitals in north carolina. I immediately loved it and have been fully happy for perhaps the first time since becoming a nurse.  There were times (and years) I wondered if I answered the wrong calling or if there was something else I should be doing with my time. Working in the ICU has restored my faith in nursing, myself, and my calling in life. Nurses save lives, sometimes with their bare hands. How many people can say that about their career choice?

Late December, for xmas we went to california to see my family:

It was a short, fun winter for us in the south. We spent a lot of time at the gym and inside with our animals. Jake especially likes juggling shows:

and lots and lots of cuddling

Some of our favorite spring memories include taking the tram uptown on a warm February day

Celebrating The Boyfriend's birthday in March

Starting this blog: The Big Personality of a Little Vegan,

drinking green smoothies

and cooking lots and lots of yummy food!

Going to a St Patty's day parade and spending the day in the sun:

Going to Savannah, Georgia:

and making date night a priority in our lives:

Time goes by fast when you're hanging out with good friends
And working night shift!

 In April I went to Chicago:

and then Indiana for Easter:

 That takes us to present day, where I am once again training for a half marathon, still cooking vegan food, and blogging more than ever before. Can't believe it's been a year since I've moved here! Although time has gone fast, our time in Charlotte has taught me a few very important things:

  •  Live each day as if it were your last, (for me, that means doing things you've always wanted to do now because tomorrow may never come) 
  • Money can't buy happiness
  • If you wait for the "right time", you will be waiting forever
  •  Don't take your health for granted. People are dying every minute of every day. Be grateful and thankful for your health, and do everything you can do treat your body the way it deserves to be treated.
  • Family is important. You may not realize this until it's too late.
  • When it rains, it pours. And then... there is usually always a rainbow :) 


Kate Kedziora said...

WHAT A FABULOUS POST! It is so easy to get stuck in a rut or a bad mood for one day, then just think of all the amazing things we are surrounded by all year long!

Allison @ Food For Healing said...

aw such a great post! i know more about you now after reading a summary of the last year of your life. I am so happy you found where you need to be and are happy with it. glad you made it through those first difficult months!

Lauren said...

What a great post! It was fun being able to learn more about you! Im so glad that you are happy now with where you live and with your life in general. I want that boardwalk to be part of my neighborhood!

I can imagine that it was such a big culture shock to move down to the south. I live in San Francisco and am pretty liberal but I have still always wanted to visit the south. I've seen so many pictures and they are always so pretty!

Thank you so much for sharing! Have a great weekend!

The Preppy Vegan said...

Love this post! I moved to Charlotte almost 2 years ago, and I can't believe how quickly time has passed. I went through a LOT of the same things that you did. Adventures are scary but usually worth it!