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

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….

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

Resolution Fail

Ok, so lets be honest here. Some of you know that Husband and I had made a New Years Resolution to run at least a mile everyday of 2013 if not more. Well, we did so well up until the day we moved. Daniel was so hellbent on doing it the day we drove. He could have done it if his lady counterpart (being me) didn’t wimp out and want to rest after driving so far. Between driving that long 9 hours, getting unpacked, entertaining our parents and showing them our new city, and Husband starting his new job immediately, we completely failed. Time was so precious those 4 days my parents were here. I wanted to spend every waking moment with them while showing them my new cool place to live. As a jobless stay at home wife, I have been able to keep it up since then. I took the dog with me on reasonably warmer days and I run a mile or two on the treadmill every week day. This weekend I am going to try and encourage Husband to jump back on the wagon with me.

St. Louis has so far been so good to us. We’ve already met some really cool people. There are so many things to do and places to see that I haven’t really been able to get homesick because I still feel like this is somewhat of a vacation. It still feels like I could hop in the car and drive 30 minutes to see my parents. My most feared part about this whole feeling is when it ends. Another scary part about this is when I get a job I can’t just get up and go home whenever I need or want to. I guess I have to get over that soon because I cannot keep my career on track by sitting around in a housecoat cleaning all day. Anyway, I have had fun being a stay at home wife for now. My house is always clean, my laundry always done, my dog has become my best friend. I’m only ever stressed when I try new things for dinner. I will say that it is pretty dang cold up here. We have had some stray warm days that reached 50’s and 60’s which was nice but everyday since those have gone, we have woken up to 19 degree weather. As a lot of you know, cold weather like that makes the motivation level drop VERY low. Today, I am getting out of the apartment for a little while. I have some Loft gift cards that need to be spent and some accumulated Christmas money that Francesca’s is begging me to spend.

Bundled up for a walk!

Bundled up for a walk!

 

Hope Y’all are having a HAPPY Thursday!

Good Morning, St. Louis.

Hello everyone! Here we are in St. Louis. It is a rainy day today but the past few days have been beautiful. We have yet to see snow stick which I am hoping we will get to see at least once this year. There was snow on the ground when we got here but the recent warm up has melted it. I have so far conquered a lot in the past few days. I have programmed radio stations in my car, found my new favorite sushi restaurant, located the closest grocery store, pharmacy, and mall. For those who don’t know, Kroger and Publix don’t exist here in The Lou. Instead there are Schnucks and Dierbergs. I’m really going to miss those Publix commercials. However, our Schnucks has a digital recipe selector kiosk. Yep, you can choose what kind of recipe you want to make and it will give you a list of recipes and what you need to buy to make it. I haven’t used it yet, but its pretty sweet from what I can tell. I’m sure it will come in handy. The apartment is looking more and more like a place to live everyday. I get more things hung on the wall and more stuff put up in the right place. We are getting our dryer delivered Saturday. So, as of right now we have a pile of laundry a mile high. I haven’t been too homesick yet. Right now I think it just feels more like vacation and less like we actually live here. I guess that will change over the next few weeks! 

Happy Thursday! We’re almost to the weekend!

 

The “Kennesaw, GA” of St. Louis

It has been almost two weeks since our trip to St. Louis. Sorry for the delayed update! We have been so busy. So, our trip was awesome but very rushed. We were on a mission. That mission being that we needed to find an apartment. We did! Twice…

We spent Friday afternoon/night looking at apartments in the suburbs and ended up finding a place that is a lot like our current apartment (with more closet space). I was almost sure this was the one. I knew it was. The area reminds me of Kennesaw, GA and there is a sushi restaurant in walking distance. I was set. We decided to hold off and wait until we looked at one last apartment in the Central West End of St. Louis.

Can you say charming? This place was perfect. As I looked at it, I told myself that this was so most definitely “me”.  When I think of city life, this was it. This was what I wanted. Beautiful bar/restaurant/boutique lined streets. Walking distance from the park. We made the quick decision to sign the lease for a lovely apartment in the CWE called the Chesterfield. The excitement of living in such a urban chic area with places to walk and people our age completely blinded me from the fact that…well, it is mere blocks from not-so-nice areas (as are a lot of areas in Atlanta, but not knowing the city….)

After signing our lease, everyone that we met while we were visiting had something negative to say about living in the CWE area. Muggings, shootings, stolen cars, “You need to watch yourself”, “carry mace” etc. was enough to flood my mind and completely crush my CWE city living fantasy. Thoughts of innocently sipping lattes on quaint restaurant patios with Molly by my side was replaced with walking feared dark streets and ripping gunshots. Sure, my mind exaggerated what everyone told us, but even my gut told me to stick to what I knew. Especially with moving to a different state/city. Plus these people have lived in/around St. Louis their whole lives… I should trust them. Right?

Needless to say we settled on the apartment in what I would deem the “Kennesaw, GA” of St. Louis. My need to feel safe in a place where the closest person I know and trust is 9 hours away, turned me off to the CWE.

As much as I hated telling the Chesterfield that we decided not to go with them, I knew that I had made the right decision for me. I guess my beautiful apartment in the city will have to wait. Maybe after I develop a feel for this place, I will be confident enough to experience CWE life… or maybe we’ll just visit often (like, every weekend).

On the random fun side, Daniel and I decided to explore a bar in St. Charles while we were out there. Best people watching experience… ever. This girl even told me she liked my outfit. Daniel told her that I shopped at Francesca’s. She said “Oh yeah, that’s like a new thing!”… She was so sweet, but I chuckled to myself as she walked away because all I really wanted to say was “That’s how we have been doing it in the south!” (I’m sure my southern pride is going stick out more than ever once we move). In other sad news, all I saw was Pepsi out there…. that is just not going to work for this Atlanta girl. Coca Cola for life!

Happy Trails!

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!

🙂