Life Goes On

After 26 hours of travel flight time and over 16 hours of driving, spread over two weeks, we’ve arrived in Tennessee. Okay, we arrived two weeks ago and I’m a bit of a failure for not updating. We’re slowly settling into a new routine in a new place with most of our belongings still traveling. Here’s a quick recap of the past month:

End of May: sold most of our belongings and packed up the rest to be shipped to our new home. Flew to South Florida, drove to central Florida, visited family. Baby A got to meet his cousins and great-grandma and great-Aunt, the pups got to run around a fenced yard after two days of air travel, airports and hotels. Then we drove to North Florida, where Baby A got to meet his paternal granddad for the very first time! We spent a week there, taking us into June.

Boating near St. Marks

June: Reunions with Florida friends, including an amazing home cooked Mexican feast and a glorious weekend at the beach, where Baby A ran into the ocean, overflowing with joy, the very first time he saw it. Then he face-planted in the waves, hopped back up and ran right back in– fully clothed! He also played at the new splash pad in Tallahassee, which he LOVED, LOVED, LOVED! If I could hug the inventor of the splash pad, I would. He just adores it. Thankfully there are quite a few splash pads in our new location, too.

Beach Baby!
Loving the Splash Pad! Photo courtesy of Eppes Photography.

After a wonderful beach weekend, we packed up the stuff we had stored in Florida during our Alaska adventure, our pups and the kiddo and drove about five hours north, stopping in Georgia to sleep. The next day we drove the rest of the way to Tennessee, where we saw the duplex we’d rented for the first time (what a nail biter!) and unloaded our stuff in the stifling June heat and humidity.

A word on humidity: I’d forgotten it existed. Nearly four years in Alaska with very little humidity spoiled me. I’d missed heat. I did not miss humidity. Nor did I miss roaches, which apparently live in Tennessee. They’re smaller than Florida ones, but their mere presence is appalling. I very nearly packed it all back up and headed right back to Alaska! Thankfully two e-mails, two phone calls and a very pleading voicemail to our property management company significantly decreased the roaches in our house from a daily nuisance to very nearly none.

See! Life here isn’t that different!

Since arriving in Tennessee, we’ve been exploring our new home. We’ve driven all around Knoxville, Maryville, Seymour, Seveirville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Townsend. We’ve picnicked in the Smokies, played in the river, gone to the World’s Fair Park, and even just strolled around the neighborhood.

Playing among the river rocks in the Smokies!
Can you believe this is someone’s driveway? In our neighborhood?!
And this is someone else’s driveway! 

We definitely experienced culture shock when we arrived in South Florida, and everyone seemed to know we didn’t belong. But we’re finding our way here in Tennessee, and we like the culture here a lot more than that brief encounter with the madness that is South Florida. Things are definitely a lot slower here, and most people seem to not be in a hurry. Unless, of course, you’re on the interstate. It’s a little like living in Mayberry, which is nice. Some of our neighbors include horses, donkeys, and even chickens! The people are (mostly) friendly, the food is delicious (Buddy’s BBQ may be my semi-local favorite eatery), and, best of all, we’ve been seeing a lot of our family. J’s family has already been up to visit, and mine is scheduled to come in July. My heart is so full seeing my baby boy playing with his aunt, cousins, and grandparents. That is the reason we moved. We loved Alaska dearly, and will definitely be visiting it still, but seeing our sweet boy being read to by his Gran…well, it makes all the rough travels worth it. We’re here, and we’re finding our way. As Hercules (Disney’s, of course) would say, we’ve gone the distance, we’ve found where we belong.

Father’s Day in Tennessee means a gorgeous sunset in the Smokies!

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