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Back in early May, Dallas and I left our little home in the upstairs section of an old farmhouse for what was a truly epic road trip. We had ourselves and virtually everything of any importance to either of us crammed into his truck, and we drove almost a thousand miles over two days to get to his parents’ house.

It was a pretty uncomfortable trip. Dallas has a mid-sized pickup with a crew cab, and we had the bed and the backseat packed full. He actually had to drive using his mirrors because he couldn’t see out the back window. By the time we hit the state line between Michigan and Ohio, my legs really hurt. Before we got to Knoxville, Tennessee, where we stopped for the night, I found myself wishing he had gotten a full-sized truck, which is what his parents wanted him to get in the first place. (To be fair, at the time he got his truck, he was 15 and probably had no idea he would eventually move several states away and have a lot of stuff to move.) But eventually we made it.

I wasn’t sure I was going to stay after Dallas went to Romania. There were a lot of times that first couple weeks he was gone that I was desperately homesick and hated Georgia for being so far away and so different from what I’d known all my life. After that rough adjustment period, I decided I liked it here and that I was going to stay, and I don’t regret that decision.

Instead of using my hand as a map, I now tell people about where I live in relation to Atlanta. I pretend to be sympathetic when people talk about how cold it is here in the winter, while thinking about how nice it’ll be to not have to shovel snow this year. I have been pretty homesick this fall–it’s my favorite season, and I’ve realized that twenty-five years in Michigan kind of spoiled me. The leaves here are just starting to change now, and a lot of them are boring and brown. I miss the reds and oranges of Michigan.

It’s still a little hard being so far away from my family. I went to college a little over a hundred miles from home, and this is the first time I’ve ever lived outside Michigan. I try not to think about the fact that I now live 1,070 miles from my grandparents’ house, and about how it’s no longer as simple as calling Meem and Pops to see if they’ll be home this weekend so I can come visit. But this is giving me a good opportunity to get to know my future in-laws better, and I’m very grateful for that, because they are pretty awesome. Dallas and I definitely hope to live in the southeastern U.S. long-term, so if that works out, we’d geographically be much closer to his parents than to mine.

I’m happy to be here. It will be even better when Dallas comes back and we know where we’ll be next school year–we could be staying put here in Georgia, moving back to Michigan, or heading for our nation’s capital, depending on how his fellowship applications turn out. It’s scary for me to not know for sure what’s happening, but it’s also exciting to think about the opportunities for both of us. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy living in a place where most of the people are so incredibly nice, the food is amazing, and the weather is great. (I’m in quite possibly the best shape of my life because it’s not too cold to get out and walk or run this time of year. Plus it’s highly unlikely it’s going to snow any time soon. YESSSSSSSSS.)

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