Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In My Mind, I've Gone to Carolina

When Mike and I made the decision to pack up and move south, I don't think either one of us really knew what to expect.We knew we wanted out of Michigan, we just didn't know where we would end up. Greenville, South Carolina was chosen as our destination based on about three hours we had to explore the area, the final stop on a whirlwind trip for Mike to interview with several different companies around the country. In fact, we almost never even ventured to Greenville, because we were pretty convinced that Dallas, Texas was the place to be. While out with a Realtor in the  Lone Star State, though, Mike had a phone interview with BMW that went well. Our next stop, Wilmington, North Carolina, was a four-hour drive to Greenville, and on a whim we decided to check it out.

It's moments like that in life that make me think that everything happens for a reason.

While Mike and I talk a lot about how we always knew that Greenville wasn't ever really our home, the four years we spent there were some of the most important in our lives. I guess I can't speak for Mike, but for me I feel like I really learned a lot about being a grown up (or just learned how to pretend a little better). For the first time in my life, I was more than an hour drive from anyone in my family. I started my first real teaching job. I even got my own health insurance! And even though some days I was so homesick I would fantasize about hopping in my car and driving straight back to Michigan, we stuck it out. We made friends. Our vocabulary expanded to include words like "y'all", "hose-pipe", and "dark-thirty". We drank sweet tea and ate fried green tomatoes and developed a deep, deep love for good barbeque. And even though we said things like "pop" and "you guys", we were welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home. I learned probably one of the most important lessons of my life - that even though I may not always agree with someone's political or religious beliefs, and even though I may feel like we come from totally different worlds, there is always a chance for a connection, for shared laughter, and for friendship.

I was reminded of all that last weekend, when we went back to Greenville for the first time in about sixteen months. We spent the three days we were there reconnecting with old friends, visiting favorite spots, and reminiscing about our time there. It was wonderful to be back in city where Mike asked for my hand in marriage, and where our sweet girl came into the world.

Checking out the planes

Goofing around with Dada on the plane



Ashley and Anna

Enjoying some BBQ

I'm on a boat!

Lake Jocassee. I think Mike and I were out on this lake every weekend the summer I was pregnant with Anna.

Crashed. (The baby, not the boat!)

Ashley & Jeb

The only pic I made it into - sorry for the crappy quality!

 No, Greenville was probably never going to be the place where we put down our roots. But it's definitely a spot where we let our branches grow.

A special thank you and shout out to everyone who made our trip so lovely, especially Jeb and Ashley for putting up with our messes and letting Mike eat all your deviled eggs. We love you guys! To my Woodruff peeps - The Runyans clan, the Wileys, the Shavers, the Baileys - it meant so much to see and laugh with all of you again!

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