It’s been almost three weeks since we said goodbye to our Chapel Hill home.
I’ve been told that as time passes I would miss it less and less, but somehow as the days go by and as things settle down (We came straight into our new home and have been extremely busy putting it together ever since), I just find that I miss it more and more. I’ve also been looking at some of the last pictures that we took as I haven’t been able to update my Facebook albums since we started packing, and it makes me quite nostalgic just thinking about it all. The ones of our empty apartment get me the most I think.
As part of our coping and adjustment phase, Sam and I talk about the things we miss in Chapel Hill. I’m surprised that she always initiates it and brings it up multiple times a day. I suppose it is on her mind a lot. She always starts with, “I’m sad because I miss ___ in Chapel Hill…” or “Mama, do you remember ____ in Chapel Hill?”. They normally come when we’re in the car, or right before bed time. It doesn’t make my adjustment any easier, but I figure it’s a good thing to openly talk about and acknowledge how we’re all feeling, in the hopes that it will make this life-transition much easier to cope with.
So here is a run down of some of the things we miss about our life in Chapel Hill:
(Side note: I will not go into the people, since they know that we miss them beyond words… )
1. Clean, unpolluted air, and not-so-busy streets. Not-so-busy is an understatement I would say. It’s really a “country-mouse moves to the city” type of scenario. We used to wake up to birds chirping or pecking at our glass window; and now the sounds of a motorcycle or a siren or a honk wake us in the morning.
And then, there is the traffic – a totally new concept to my girls. Ohhhh, the TRAFFIC. It is so bad that just this evening, Jamie threw up twice in a 70-min car ride. We never made it to our destination.
Sam keeps saying that the roads are not bumpy in Chapel Hill (there are a ton of potholes here!) and that it’s not traffic in Chapel Hill. Indeed, it is not and being able to get to and from any destination in a precise amount of time is something I miss every time I step into a car.
2. Pedestrians having the right of way. Strangely enough, before my Chapel Hill days this never bothered me so much. Now I seem to notice it, especially because my girls and I try to be pedestrians ourselves in our city-community. Cars don’t stop to let people cross! And conversely, people just cross everywhere and at any time! It’s a little crazy! I have found myself stopping the car to let pedestrians cross here, but I just get honked at from the cars behind me.
3. Playgrounds. Sam asks to go to a playground everyday. The ones we have here are not outdoor, or are not as sophisticated as the ones we would frequent around the Chapel Hill community. So far in the last two weeks, we’ve gone to more malls and toy stores than playgrounds. I guess I just miss the safe outdoor clean-air type of fun where the girls can expend their energy.
4. Target, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods… I did my first shopping trip last week in an old supermarket. I felt so overwhelmed and so dizzy. There were so many shoppers that our shopping carts kept running into people; so many promo ladies in every aisle pushing products in your face… I’d forgotten. I really had (and in my previous life I would HIRE these promo ladies for my brands! Good Lord what was I thinking?!). I miss my easy grocery trips and outings to Target, where, even with the girls in tow, it was never as stressful. I haven’t gone back, but I know that I need to very soon…
5. Freebies. Parking in Chapel Hill is free, and so are a lot of loyalty cards. Again, I had forgotten. I only realized this when I was at a coffee shop last weekend and the sales lady asked me if I wanted their loyalty swirl card. Without looking up I said yes of course, sign me up, only to notice as I paid that there was a charge on my credit card. I inquired and asked why it wasn’t free, and she smiled and pointed to this tent card to my left that I hadn’t noticed, as if to say, “next time, read what’s not within your line of sight!”
That’s another thing…
6. Excellent Customer Service. In Chapel Hill (and in the US in general), I know that you can return all sorts of items with no questions asked. Here, last week — I purchased a pair of house slippers for Jamie, only to find that when I got home, the band at the back of her right foot was looser (or had been stretched more) than the one on the left, which made it hard for her to walk. I went back the next day and asked if I could exchange it, and I was told to just sew the right band together so that I could make it tighter. I was a little shocked and I asked if I could trade it for another pair. The sales lady looked very reluctant, but finally agreed after I insisted 4 more times. Then she also said I only had one chance at a return and that I couldn’t return the item anymore after.
7. The DV-R. Being able to record the shows and watch them repeatedly at any point in time. Sam and Jamie definitely miss that. We catch a show randomly on TV (We’re not even familiar with the show times and schedule yet), and Sam says she wants to watch it again later, or tomorrow. Oh dear.
8. ONLINE SHOPPING! I will speak more about this in the future (I promise to blog more often now) 😉 But yes, I miss sitting at my desk at any hour of the day, and having all my packages, necessities included – come land at my doorstep. At least, I wouldn’t have to battle traffic that drives me nuts on a regular basis!
I know, I know… it will get easier as time passes and I just have to be patient.
Also, don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of good things that make me happy to be back, and wonderful family and friends who are helping us cope with the adjustment (Thank God for them!) — and you will hear more about that in future posts for sure.
But in the meantime, I (we girls — Jamie is going through her own version of it too) am in this phase and I felt it important to acknowledge that. It just only goes to show what a big part the last four years have been in my life. I don’t think I’d be who I am today without it all. And so I do think Chapel Hill — and all that comes with it — deserves a big chunk of my heart for all time.