Our Moving Experience: Change is Hard & Good & We're Grateful

Finally, I'm getting around to writing the blog post on our moving experience, our new home and how everything has been going since April, when we bought our house. If you missed the big announcement post of our new house with all the details on our house hunt, you can find it here
(We've already done so much to the front yard and got rid of those blinds in the window!)

It’s important to note that as a little girl, I was never a summer-camp-loving-kid. In fact, I hated it! I didn’t even like sleeping over at friends’ houses, so our house gladly became “the” house where all my girlfriends would come for sleepovers. My mom was a pro at making these nights, which were quite frequent, a great success with everything from renting us movies and providing allll the yummy snacks. My dad invested in these awesome sleeping pads from Costco and we had one for each of my friends. We were well-prepared and I loved it! I was in my own environment and felt comfortable. I also loved hosting even then, so this was extra fun. 

This is why it came as a huge surprise to everyone, including myself, when I moved across the country from California to Michigan in pursuit of love in 2014. (If you’re new here, my husband has lived in MI his whole life, and I moved here 5 years ago when we were 8 months into dating. I got my own apartment for a couple years until we were married in 2016. Then we moved into our first apartment together and have just purchased our first house together April of 2019! Phew!) 

While I’m not super sentimental in a lot of ways (like, I don’t hoard things from years and years ago unless they are very special to me, like personal cards), I am when it comes to where I live. Maybe it’s my line of work or maybe it’s just my personality, but I get very attached to where I live. It’s my safe place, where I spend most of my time as someone who works from home, I put a lot of effort into how it looks which translates into how it feels, and most simply, it’s home. In every place I’ve ever lived, be it my dorm room or my many apartments over the years, I’ve put a lot of my time and effort into making that place feel beautiful, inviting, cozy and special. It’s almost as if anything could go wrong outside my little space, but inside I feel known and safe and it's mine. That’s why in my sophomore year of college, when my roommate had a cardiac arrest and had to leave for the quarter to recover, I was left so paralyzed by the events that took place in my room, it was so hard to go in there. I felt like my (or rather “our”) space we worked so hard on together had been violated. 

This makes moving a hard thing for me to do. When I moved from my own apartment here in Michigan into our first apartment together when we were married, it was hard for me even though there were actually a lot of difficult things that took place while I lived there. The heartache of being homesick, then losing my husband’s dad to cancer, feeling alone when I didn't have many friends in the beginning of my time here. It didn’t matter though, because in those walls are where I felt safe and where I became my own person after taking a leap of faith and moving all these miles away. Then we moved into our first apartment together and it was so, so fun! I loved that little place SO much, I’ll never forget it. We became a family there, decorated and did a couple home projects together, brought our pup home there (ha! Sounds like our child, which he is;)), had friends gather around our 33” dining table there, got our first Christmas tree there, and yes, difficult things happened there, too. Change is hard for me, friends. Anyone else?

When we left our apartment for the last time, I started laugh-crying because I couldn’t believe I was crying over this. Here we are getting to move into our own HOUSE and I’m sad about leaving our tiny 1 bedroom apartment. But in all seriousness, it was hard and good. I came to the conclusion that leaving should be hard; it means memories were made and relationships were formed.

Moving into our new house has come with challenges and lots of joys! In mid-April when we got the keys, we painted the whole house by ourselves the first week we had possession. We spent every waking minute we had, outside of work, here doing projects. After about two weeks of doing this, I was beat down and needed some time away from the house and just needed some rest. We still had our apartment at the time (thank God for the overlap of our lease so we didn’t have to live in construction, but it came with some challenges!) so I took about a week off from going to the house, while my husband still went and worked on fixing it up. I couldn’t help with everything he was doing anyways. I’m going to be honest here: the 6 weeks we had our house and our apartment at the same time, though it was a gift logistically, were really hard and put a strain on our relationship. My husband wanted to get as much done at the new house as he could and I just really wanted to eat dinner together like we normally did, but we hardly ever did in this 6 week time frame. My husband saw the work he was putting in as loving me, because he was doing the work for me to really love our new house, when I just saw this as over-working himself and not wanting to spend time with me. You can see the conundrum here ;)

We finally talked about it and once we moved into our house and the apartment was all moved out, it got a lot better. God healed the hurt. But we learned a valuable lesson in those weeks: communication is key, especially in times of stress. Shoot for over-communication, in fact ;) If we could do it all again we decided we would still try to have dinner together most nights, then work on the house after that, even if it meant not everything was done before we moved in. Relationships > things (even houses and deadlines!)

Now that we’ve been in our home for 5 months, it’s starting to feel much more like home. It’s definitely taken me some time to get used to because of it being a project, unlike our apartments that were just move-in ready. It’s an older home and some things will just never be the way I would ideally want them, but I’m learning to be okay with that and practicing gratitude. Because truly, it’s a sweet, charming little house and I’m so grateful it’s ours for now! I’m also super thankful for my husband who is apparently extremely handy!! I had no idea (and he’d tell you he didn’t either-- thanks to YOUTUBE for all the tutorials that have basically remodeled our house!) but his hard work is really paying off. He’s done so much to improve the house and make it something we both are growing to love and proud of calling home.

One thing I’ve been really intentional about is trying to get to know my neighbors. When we first moved in and I’d take Lincoln on walks (having a dog helps you make friends in the neighborhood really quick!) I would be sure to ask their names and really try to remember them. I have done a pretty good job! If I could do it again, I’d take my dad’s advice and make a map of our street and write people’s names on their houses as I learn them ;) Some people are super friendly while others keep more to themselves. I also made sure to get to know my mail carrier. She is very friendly and when she found out what I do for a living, she’s since invited me over to “take a peek at her new house and offer any advice” as she moved in down the street ;) Ha! It’s my hope to make meaningful connections with those that want to and find ways to bring life to this little street. I’m hoping to bake Christmas cookies to drop on neighbors doorsteps and get a little thank you gift for our mail lady, Michelle. I would love to host a summer party next year for the neighborhood once our backyard is done, too! 

So, that’s been our experience with moving so far. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been good and we are grateful that God has given us this gift. I know one day I will be laugh-crying as I say goodbye to this precious little house and tree-lined street. 

I'd love to know some of your moving experiences!

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