A New Chapter In The Natural State

Today, a dream is coming true for me thanks to my unbelievable boyfriend, my amazingly generous sister and her husband, and my flexible and reasonable work.

I grew up and even started college in Arkansas. As a kid, I hated it. I thought there was nothing to do. I didn’t think much of the locals. I yearned for beaches and cities and more excitement! Partially in pursuit of those, I moved to Florida in August of 2000. I moved away from everything I knew and all of my family. I don’t have much bad to say about the Sunshine State (despite the entertaining headlines that come out of it). Florida was good to me. I finished college there, I made great friends there, I had amazing adventures, and - most importantly - I met the man of my dreams there. Despite all of that, it never felt like home. I always felt like I was trying to figure out where home was. And I rarely got to see my family.

Earlier this summer, I had a crazy, long shot idea. I decided to see if Kenny would be interested in moving to Arkansas. I doubt he’d be down for it but thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. To my surprise and absolute glee, he said yes. We asked my sister and brother-in-law, who had themselves just moved back to the Natural State about a year ago, if they’d be willing to tolerate us living with them for a month or two* while we found a place and got some other things sorted out. Their answer, to my grateful delight, was yes. The last major piece of the puzzle was work. Most of my work revolves around email and spreadsheets with a few rare phone calls. None of that, I reasoned, actually requires me to show up on site. I nervously suggested the same to my superiors and, thankfully, they agreed.

With the major hurdles cleared, Kenny and I got to working out the finer details. And because of all of that and so many wonderful people, I’m happy to say, I got to see something earlier today that I wasn’t sure I’d ever see again:

Welcome To Arkansas

I’m so excited to be back. I’m excited to see my niece and sister more and to meet my future-nephew. I’m excited to get a real winter again. I’m excited to have mountains in my life once more. I’m excited to see some of my old friends. I’m excited for so many things now. I don’t know if this is “home” but it feels more that way than Florida despite the close friends I made there who I’ll miss dearly. I’m really looking forward to this new chapter.

*Edit: Or 6… yes, I am embarrassed to say it took us half a year! I’ll never be able to thank them enough.