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Decision to Move Across Country

Updated on June 24, 2013
Our new home in North Carolina
Our new home in North Carolina

I moved to a small town in North Carolina. In my town in North Carolina, there are more churches than gas stations, and I am an atheist. The high school cafeteria is unabashedly polarized with African American students on one side, and white students on the other, and my children are of different races. When I speak with someone for the first time, it is obvious I did not “come up” here. I wait for the inevitable question which is: “Why are you here?” or; “What made you come HERE?” The emphasis is always on the “HERE.”

In 2005, my mother passed away 10 months following my father’s death. I lived across the street from my parents. Our cul-de-sac was a good place to live. The homes were moderately priced and the neighborhood was very working class. At one time, most of the children in the neighborhood belonged to me. While I was immersed in the care of my ailing parents, the neighborhood was changing. Within less than two years, 4 houses on either side of me became subsidized rental houses as opposed to owner occupied homes. Families moved into our neighborhood that were unfamiliar with responsibilities of maintaining a home. Children damaged property, victimized my children and their parents did not take responsibility. The next door neighbors used my already filled and overcapacity trash can for their own household garbage. I felt more lonely and outnumbered after my parents passed and I had time to notice and react to these things.

My brother-in-law from New York came to visit weeks following my mother’s death after a meeting he attended in San Francisco. I had not known my brother-in-law as an empathetic family guy. It is possible I had too many children and we were overwhelming and put him off. My sister and brother in law have no children, travel extensively and have many breakable and precious artifacts in their home. It is logical that our households would not have mingled. Nevertheless, Don came to see us and to see how we were doing. I was surprised when he called to ask if he could come. I was thrilled to have the company of another adult for a brief time.

Don laughed easily and made a point to interact with each and every child. He fit in effortlessly at our large and noisy dinner table. He showed my sons a better method of training our dog. He didn’t mind our rambunctious and overly affectionate lab mix “Pearl.” I had never seen this side of my brother-in-law.

After dinner, Don and I spoke about his and my sister’s relocation to North Carolina. The home they were buying sounded fabulous. I was astounded at how reasonable the price was. After Don left, I went online to discover what sort of home I could get if I sold my home in California. I discovered I could replace my current home for a house twice the size in North Carolina, in fact there was one near my sister’s home in my price range. I had no trepidations about moving to a place that was unfamiliar and thousands of miles away from anything I had ever known. I could reinvent myself. My younger children; Fritz, Daniel, Coraline and Nina were excited about this idea. Lea (my oldest daughter) smiled quietly when she looked at houses online with me. Ivy(2nd oldest) was horrified.

Immediately, I was energized and motivated. Going through the remainder of my mother’s things and getting her home ready to put on the market was no longer insurmountable. The kids (younger kids) and I were uplifted by the thought of making a new life for ourselves. Lea was a recent high school graduate attending community college and seemed perfectly willing to relocate, but she was an adult and no longer had to follow me wherever I went. Ivy was in her last year of high school and was certain she would attend the University of California at Davis. For the first time ever, our life plans did not match. It had never occurred to either one of us that we would not always be near each other. Ivy blamed her aunt, my sister for persuading me to move across country. I hoped Ivy would see that she could come with us. I hoped she would realize that North Carolina also had colleges. If she didn’t, I was prepared to accept her staying in California even though I hoped she would come with us.

Finally, I was able to persuade Ivy to take a “gap” year. There was nothing left for me in our old neighborhood and I could not buy another house in California, it was too expensive. The day after Ivy graduated from high school, the movers came and we left for North Carolina, 10 months after my mother died. Ivy came with me in her car with two classmates along for the adventure. Lea chose to stay in California with her boyfriend.

That is how I came to North Carolina. How we have assimilated is another story.


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    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      The change has been very difficult and we are still in the midst of some struggles and I don't know how it will turn out. I certainly don't have the same confidence I began with. I am going to look you up and see if you wrote about your Victorian.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 

      6 years ago from West Kootenays

      I did the same thing, went online and bought a Victorian house on the other end of Canada.

      I would have liked to read your continuing story of your new life.

    • KateWest profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Best of luck - keep blogging about your new life in your new surroundings.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey feenix, Nice comment. Tx

    • feenix profile image


      7 years ago

      Anne, you gave very good account of one of the most difficult things that one has to do in life: relocate to some distant place that he/she is unfamiliar with. And I am certain that as time goes by, the barriers between you and your new neighbors will dissolve. And that is largely because based on the impression that I have of you, you are a kind, loving and generous person whom others cannot help but to admire and accept.

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      It wasnt easy, but it wouldnt have been easy anywhere. It is a myth that the cost of living is lower here. If you were to take housing out of the equation, I think its a little higher here. Housing in CA is much lower today than it was 5 years ago. Anyway, I did not live in SF or LA, I lived in the Sacramento Valley.

    • Credence2 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Anne, you have me sitting on the edge of my seat, how did you assimilate? How does someone from the leftcoast assimulate in a part of the country considered as the bible belt? I do know that with my pension and if I were single, I could live like a king back there. Everything is so relatively inexpensive, don't think that I have not thought about it. I will have to address these sort of choices in a hub sometime Thanks again

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Not just a compliment. Your stuff is a "good read." Thanks.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      What an enormous step.! Good for you. (personally l was dragged kicking and screaming one year ago , when my husband said we had no choice but re-locate almost 3000 miles away). l think l lost count of how many children you have but you do sound like one enormous-hearted interesting person, so l thank you for the ´follow´and must return the compliment .

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      StarCreate, Thankyou. I hope that Spain agrees with you.

    • StarCreate profile image


      7 years ago from Spain

      It's a huge step to start over in a new place- we moved to Spain from the UK 2 years ago. It's always challenging, but also liberating and exciting, to have the chance to reinvent yourself. I really hope it all works out for you and your family, and thanks for sharing your story!

    • Anne Pettit profile imageAUTHOR

      Anne Pettit 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear Contrary Mary, Having close family members nearby is essential. I do not know what I would ever do if I had to be so far away from my sister again. I love the comfort and security of knowing my BFF sister is so close.

    • Contrary Mary profile image

      Contrary Mary 

      7 years ago from Wake Forest, NC

      Having to "follow the job" forces too many close family members to separate and move apart from one another. In our 30 years of marriage, my husband and I have made 8 difficult cross-country moves to follow his job and have missed out on SO much! Upward mobility is not what it's cracked up to be. I'd live in a tent next to a landfill if it meant my "family of origin" could live closer together again.


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