Ten Things I’ve Learned as a Trailing Spouse

For those of you who have been the trailing spouse, you may have different experiences than me. However, us trailing spouses all know it is very difficult and one of the most stressful things a couple could/will go through. Let me start by defining what makes a “trailing spouse”… it is pretty much exactly as it sounds. One who follows their husband/wife to a new place/state/country in lieu of that spouses career(or other) opportunities. I’m not about to glorify it either. It is tough stuff. I have only moved to a new state, I can’t imagine moving to a new country. Now, everyone’s situation is different. Sometimes both people in the couple think that moving would be the best thing ever. I’m not going to lie, Daniel had to do a lot of convincing to get me to leave the familiarity of my beautiful Southern city. I finally thought that it might be a good idea to experience something new and we high-fived on moving ourselves out to St. Louis. Then it began happening. My favorite apartment I have ever lived in was bare and before I knew it I was waving goodbye to my Chattahoochee River bank. It was all so exciting at first. I felt like a grown up spreading my wings and flying. I am still making some major adjustments in this move, but so far I have experienced and discovered so much.

Ten Things I have discovered in my experience as a ‘trailing spouse’

1.) There is a “honeymoon” phase with your new city.

-Yeah, it was all fine and dandy until it was cold like…. all the time. We have had a blast though. We have gone to carnivals and festivals, made new friends, and explored a lot. Luckily, we still have SO MUCH to explore here. I will say I am extremely happy that winter is over so the real fun can begin. Like a relighting of the Honeymoon Phase!

2.) Getting a job is 100 times harder without the connections and networks you had back home.

-Trust me on this one. The fact that I am somewhat floundering my way through life is a little depressing. I have applied and applied and applied but no one seems to be biting at the bait. Apparently, I need explore some other opportunities and maybe try to really find out what I want in life.

3.) You will compare your new state to your old/”home” state.

-I have looked and looked and FINALLY I have found some acceptable (by my southern standards) chicken wings. They still aren’t as good at the ones back home, but the Italian here is definitely better than Italian in Atlanta (sorry I’m not sorry).

wings

4.) Finding friends can actually be easier than you thought.

-I was lucky enough to know people who knew people who lived here before we moved (thank god). BUT. There is also this awesome site called Meetup.com. Yes, its like online dating for friends but it has been so worth it and there is always some kind of “Meetup” going on. There are of course specific categories as well such as, a running group, volleyball group, anime groups, rock climbing groups, book junkie groups etc. etc. usually if you name it, there is probably a group for it and if there is not… you can create your own. 🙂

5.) Being a housewife is neat… that is, until people start frowning upon the fact that all you do is laundry, cook, and clean.

-Umm, yeah. I have enjoyed my time away from the workplace. My house is always sparkly, my bed is always made, my laundry is always clean (and folded), dishes are always done, my dinners are planned, my kitchen is always stocked, wine isn’t needed (as much) anymore, I’m thinner from extra time spent working out, all in all I do a damn good job at being a housewife. I definitely don’t want it to go unnoticed, but there comes a time when people start asking “what do you do” and that’s when I start to feel inadequate. All I really want to say is I’M WORKING ON IT, PEOPLE. All I ask is that you give me a break. I am doing the best I can with what I have (in the job searching department).

6.) It challenges you and your spouse; positively and some times not-so-positively.

-You have your ups and downs. As the trailing spouse it is so hard to control the “Well, if we hadn’t moved…” argument at times. AVOID THROWING THIS NUGGET AT YOUR SPOUSE. I’m learning now that it hurts your spouse to be resentful and use it as leverage. I am guilty of it, and honestly there probably isn’t a trailing spouse out there that hasn’t said something along the lines of that sentence (or insinuated it). As far as the “ups” go, you really, REALLY have to rely on each other. For everything. And it is a good thing. Daniel and I have done an awesome job of spending time together, exploring new things together, learning new things together, trying new things together. We are all we have and it has brought us closer as a couple.

7.) Gives you a chance to reinvent yourself.

-Thinking about it I haven’t actively changed myself. I just AM myself, here and now. Who I was at 16 doesn’t matter to anyone I have met here because I’m not that person anymore. I am stripped of anyone knowing my pointless past dramas or having “history” in a  friendship. That, in itself will reinvent YOU.

8.) You will appreciate the “comfort” of/gain pride for your home state.

-I love the city of Atlanta more than I ever have, because I have been given the beautiful/not-so-beautiful gift of missing it. I miss everything about that city from the red Coca Cola glasses you get in EVERY restaurant, to the banks of the Chattahoochee, to the beauty of a spring day in Piedmont Park. I was meant for that city and it was meant for me. I have no doubt in my mind that one day we will reunite.

kellyatl

9.) Embracing new places is refreshing. 

-The Arch is possibly the COOLEST structure I have ever seen. I honestly can’t get enough of it. I love taking pictures of it and I seeing it all lit up at night. It reminds me of why I decided moving would be a good idea. To explore life in new places. To get to know a new city and fall in love with a new place. I’m still in the very VERY early stages of “falling in love” with St. Louis (mostly because I’m still pretty homesick). However, walking through Soulard the other day I couldn’t help but adore the old timey feel of the city. It gave me the same feeling I get when I see the skyscrapers of Midtown Atlanta towering over Piedmont Park.

kellyarch

10.) It has cured me of shyness (I think).

-I have found that I have A LOT to say these days. I will talk to almost ANYONE. I can’t decide if it is because I am hungry for human interaction or if I really have always been this outgoing/friendly and just never noticed. Anyway, making friends has been relatively easy for me. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones because I could just talk all day if you let me and really not about anything specific.

Moving is extremely difficult but it is also fun, confusing, exciting, new, and challenging. It puts you in situations you never would have dreamed of, you experience different people, cultures, ways of life. You find that relying only on your spouse is hard and awesome all at the same time. It’s all a growing/learning experience and while it’s been tough, I’m glad we’ve experienced it together.

One thing that will FOR SURE never change: I will ALWAYS be a serious ATLANTA BRAVES fan. ❤

kellsbraves

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A Face Lift

I thought it was time for me to give my blog a mini face lift! A new name, a new feel, a new purpose? Not much a difference, I just thought that since we are no longer really considered newly weds it was time to take my blog name and feel to a different place. Certainly all of my past posts from “Life after I Do” are still attached to this blog, but future posts might be less focused specifically on life after marriage and more focused on hobbies, running, my new adventures with CrossFit, exploring this new city of ours, and my new found love for cooking (so technically, it’s still about life after ‘The Wedding’ on a more watered down level). Don’t expect topics and writing to change too drastically, I am still ‘me’ after all and I don’t mind blabbing about our new couch or washer or how much I absolutely adore and appreciate my Husband every now and then (he deserves it). I guess the newest thing going on in life is the fact that we moved. It has been tough so far. The Midwest is definitely a different place. When we first moved here I felt like it was going to be pretty much the same, but then after a while I began to realize differences.

<3

But mostly I have realized that I truly am a Southern Girl and I always will be. I like wearing big jewelry, curling my hair, wearing make up to the grocery store, there is noting like red nails and red lipstick with a Braves ballcap. Oh, yeah and rhinestones, lots of rhinestones and pearls. I like my tea sweet and my chicken fried.

Southern Girls LOVE Their Pearls

Southern Girls LOVE Their Pearls

But.

I don’t mind dirt, I love to camp and fish, sports are my favorite, I will fight to the finish when I run a race. I can’t wait to plant my first garden. I don’t mind working hard and getting sweaty and I absolutely adore a good hike or a swim in the river. I love my high heels but I also LOVE my cowgirls boots.

That’s the beauty of Southern girls. We like to get pretty most the time, but we can be tough as a bull.

Welcome to Glitz & Grit

Bless your hear! Hang up your boots and stay a while….

I’m a ‘Cold Weather’ Wimp

So, I haven’t been progressing much on the running front. Let me tell you why….

It’s cold. Yes, this is totally the worst excuse ever. Ever. Most people like running in 40 degree weather. Me? No. I absolutely hate it. My thin southern skin isn’t use to cold for such a prolonged amount of time. I could do a 40 degree day every now and then back home, but every day? It’s just  not for me, at all. I need that crisp 60 degrees. I yearn for it, actually. I have never been so effected by weather before. I want to go outside but then once I get out there I just want to come back in the house and curl up. It’s starting to frustrate me and I can tell the dog feels the same way. Today is the last day of winter and you wouldn’t know it, but at least I can start looking forward to warmer days.

The treadmill is a bore. So, since I haven’t been running outside I have been running on the dreadmill. At first I could handle it. I would close my eyes and think of my beautiful riverside running trail, but it’s starting to really get to me. I don’t know how people do it. Run and look at the same thing for 30 minutes. It nearly makes me go insane. I have been at least running 1-3 miles every other day on the treadmill, but lately I have been running only one. Simply because I get so bored that I’d rather mope around the grocery store just to get some human interaction.

Progress. It’s hard for me to want to train on the treadmill. Not only is it boring but it’s hard to get your pace right. I could sit there and change it constantly but, yuck. I don’t know how fast my body feels like going. Sometimes my body feels like running 7 mins/mile and sometimes it feels like running 11 mins/mile throughout my run. Its not something that I can really detect, when running outside my body just does it.

Once it starts to get warm I will start training again. As of right now, I’ll just stick to my 20 minute 2 miles on the dreadmill.

snow

Lately homesickness has been really bad. I think of things I could/would be doing back home. Walking Molly by the river, going to the farmers market with Dan and Molly at Piedmont every Saturday, cooking lessons with my grandmother, focusing on my career, having lunch with mom on her off days, eating endless amounts of King of Pops, running outside, drinking Sweetwater on a patio, venturing up to the mountains for some boiled peanuts, home grown peaches, tomatoes, and corn. Publix fried Chicken. Sunday night game nights with the family. Hiking Kennesaw mountain. Walking around Atlanta. The food truck park. Newtown (FREE) dog park (I think I speak for Molly on this one too). Braves opening day (I can’t imagine how sad I am going to be come GATech football season). I could probably go on and on and on and I’m sure I will in my head. I just wish it hasn’t been so hard on me. Daniel seems to be getting along just fine. I just kinda feel alone in it a little bit. I just hope that it warms up soon so that I’ll be somewhat cured from missing home so much.

From the Outside Looking In.

I guess I never thought about how much I would actually miss my home. I was told I would, but I have gained more pride about my roots than I ever thought I would. Most people who live in/around the metro area of Atlanta are transplants, and sure, I grew up outside of the perimeter but I am a true blue Georgia Peach. I made small trips to Atlanta with my parents for sporting events/the Olympics and explored Atlanta before I even had a license thanks to my older boyfriend at the time. I remember falling in love with it. Specifically Piedmont Park, in which  my love affair will never end. I knew I would miss the people, but I also knew I was happy to be leaving some people behind. As a whole, I miss that city and I have more Atlanta pride than I ever did when I lived there. I don’t specifically know why. I suppose that with most things you don’t really know what you’ve got until its gone. I love Atlanta, and I want to eventually end up back there but if given the chance to go back home and stay right now, I probably wouldn’t take it. Not because I don’t love my city, but because I get the chance to see something else and explore different places, meet different people, see different cultures. I may seem slightly miserable at times, and yes Atlanta will always be the best city in the world to me, but I am actually quite happy. St. Louis is so very different. It’s got old town charm and some killer parties. The neighborhoods here are just incredibly interesting. Every one specializes in something, it seems. I still haven’t explored enough of St. Louis to sing about it’s wonderful offerings, but I know that I will like it here. It’s just such a different way of living. Wide open spaces are definitely hard to come by unless you go way outside the city. Houses are built right on top of each other. It’s like Virginia Highlands but EVERYWHERE and much older. I still really haven’t gained enough confidence to just go out and drive around by myself. If I go anywhere alone it is usually the mall or the grocery store. I imagine this will change once I get a job or finally get use to the multiple highways. St. Louis is surely growing on me, but I won’t ever miss the chance to proudly sport my Braves hat, do the chop, and represent my city.

Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park

aquarium

Olympic Park Bricks

Olympic Park Bricks

and the hommme of the BRAAAAVES! lol

and the hommme of the BRAAAAVES! lol

Soon-to-be Arch City Girl

Since I have written about what I am afraid of when it comes to moving, I thought I would give you a run down on the good thoughts. Today, I am having a peculiarly good day with thoughts of moving to St. Louis. As we were putting up the Christmas tree today I thought of all of how lucky I am to have a family so close and so completely everything to me. I love them so much it hurts. I then realized that even though it is big and scary, this is my chance to stand on my own two feet (with my husband holding me up ;)). I am already proud of my parents for letting me go, make my own mistakes, learn my own lessons, make my own decisions, speak for myself, and struggle a little bit as an adult (as I hope most parents do with their children). Moving, I believe, the ultimate step towards adulthood. I have free range to this new city and new people.

I get a clean slate.

I get to meet people who don’t know anything about my past. I will meet people who know nothing about who I was when I was in elementary school, middle school, or high school. I will meet people who will know me for who I am now and who I can be in the future. I think its awesome to know and stay in touch with my friends from earlier times in my life, but I also think it’ll be neat to meet people who know nothing about me at first! To me, thats pretty cool. The rest is still unwritten.

I have a whole new world to discover.

Atlanta is hands down the best city in the world (to me) and always will be, but with St. Louis as my new playground, I have an entire new area to explore and call my own once I get acclimated. New hot spots to discover, new neighboring states to visit, new farmers markets to hop on Saturdays. This is going to be educational.

I will have a chance to break away.

I will have the ability to say that I lived in a different state. Even if we come back in 6 months (which is unlikely) I will have lived in a different state, learned something new, tasted different foods, have a different experience. It’ll be hard somedays and fun other days. I’m going to miss my good friends and awesome family. I think in the long run, it’s going to be awesome.

Tomorrow may be a different story, but tonight I am excited to see what the Arch City has coming my way. I just know it has to be something good!

🙂

You Can Find Me in St. Louis

I never saw myself leaving Atlanta. In fact, I’m as Atlanta proud as they come. I have lived here all my life. I have a LOVE AFFAIR with this city. Host of the 1996 Olympics, residence of Greg Maddux, David Justice, Javy Lopez and the rest of the 1995 World Series winning Braves, home of the Falcons, the Hawks, Georgia Tech, Dragon*Con, King of Pops, beautiful mountainous regions just north….so on and so forth. I always imagined my life here in Atlanta with a nice, well-sized house in the suburbs (or Virginia Highlands) with my perfect children, and my 9-5 working husband. I can totally see myself in a 50’s dress holding a freshly baked pie as he walks in the door and kisses me dearly. Sad, I know… too much Leave it to Beaver I guess. I suppose it just never occurred to me that my life could be, would be turned around and flipped upside down.

When Daniel first told me his best career path was probably going to be in St. Louis the only thing that came to my mind was that horrid Nelly song in which their lives consist of shooting people, smoking dope, dealing drugs, and/or living off welfare… etc., etc. (good thing I have a few options when it comes to what I can do with my career when we move) HAHA definitely kidding! I’ve honestly never heard too many positive things about St. Louis. So, I began doing my own research. I spoke with people who have been there, lived there, had friends that lived/live there and I actually became curious. It really didn’t seem that bad, it was actually intriguing. Like the forbidden fruit of my life. Daniel’s offers began to roll in. Most of the offers he received in Atlanta were no where near as awesome as the out of town offers he was given. He had a couple of other choices in states like California and Texas that we ended up turning down for various reasons. Apparently, St. Louis still held the key to unlock the door to Daniel’s best career path. Decision making unfortunately came down to the wire on my Birthday.

We were sitting at the sushi bar at Benihana. Sipping green tea and debating our options while stuffing ourselves with my favorite sushi. I’d have to say it was the most exciting and most depressing birthday of my life (Happy 25th Birthday Kelly! You have the joy of leaving all your family and friends behind!!!!). In the moment I was excited, high-fiving Daniel as we made the decision to go to St. Louis. As we begin to prepare for our departure in 8 short weeks, I find more reasons to go, followed by more reasons why I wish we would stay. As it is all happening, I am beginning to realize that this conflict in my head is going to be a never ending battle. Stay, Go, Stay, Go will always haunt me. I am very excited that my little comfort space of Atlanta has been shaken and that now I have to take off and soar. I need to see what this world has to offer me. Maybe I will miss home, but maybe I will also become great.

Who Knows.

It has been quite some time since my last post. Husband and I have been extremely busy with October fun and not so busy with our “marathon training” which has been put on hold since my #1 motivator has also been busy with setting up our future. There is something to be said for people who already have it all figured out. A nice house, white picket fences, steady jobs, babies. We just haven’t reached that point yet, I don’t really think I want to, yet. We aren’t exactly able to plant our feet because at this point we have no idea where we’ll end up. I never really thought that leaving Georgia was an option. At first I thought absolutely not, but the more I think about it the more accepting I become of the idea, the more I ask myself “why not?” My only set back really, is leaving my family, friends, familiarity, Georgia Tech Football. 😉 I began thinking about where we would live here in Georgia and of course it does depend on where Daniel gets a job and where my job is right now, but do I really want to stay in my hometown for the rest of my life or do I want to get out there and experience life elsewhere for a change? There are one or two things that really get me. I see my mom and dad as often as possible, so Daniel must have the funds to send me to their house at least every month. That’s probably asking way too much.  What happens if/when I get pregnant? Do I really want to have/raise our baby outside of our home state? Regardless, at least one of our kids is going to Georgia Tech. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure they don’t sell Georgia Tech anything outside the perimeter of Atlanta, but we’ll make them fans somehow. 😉 So, my fix to all of this is that when we decided to have children or at least when they become school age we would move back to Georgia, but there is just no guarantee that anyone would have a job for Daniel or me back here in Georgia when we decide its time to move back. Right now my thought is that we potentially have the chance to go experience other places, people, and sights. I just can’t imagine passing the chance to do that. There is no tie down right now, no baby, no mortgage, we are pretty much free to do and go where ever. Which is the absolute ideal situation for leaving Georgia. Who knows, we might have the decision made for us.

We have had so much fun this Fall (my absolute FAVORITE season of all). We have spent the last two weekends in Cabins in the mountains. For our first anniversary we went to Gatlinburg, TN and for my Dad’s birthday we stayed in Blue Ridge at the most beautiful cabin I have ever been to. The only thing we have left to do is our Cash Family Pumpkin Carving Bonanza! AKA what we all call BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin). Dan and I still need to make a trip up to a pumpkin patch to retrieve our perfect carving pumpkins. I will (promise) to absolutely make a post after this yearly tradition (I always do) because it is so very special to me.

Last years Pumpkins!

 

Have a great weekend!