I’ve had so many people ask me, “How do you like South Carolina? Does it feel like home yet? Was it a hard adjustment moving there?”
The truth is, I’m already starting to forget. I’m forgetting how scary, different, and overwhelming it all was. But when I am talking to a newly married friend, it all comes flooding back.
Up until the day I got married, I had never lived in any place but McConnelsville, Ohio. I had always lived in the same house. I always attended the same church, with people that knew me from the time I was a baby. It was all familiar, and I liked it.
I was excited to move to South Carolina, because it meant living with the man I loved, and living in our own little yellow house. And those things were so so wonderful.
But with one “I Do” and a move down South, I lost nearly everything that I thought made up who I was. Suddenly, I was only known as “Nolan’s wife”. No one knew me when I was young, my growing-up story, and my family. I even had a new last name. I didn’t know my way around town, or where any of the stores were. I didn’t recognize anybody’s vehicles as I drove down the road, and I didn’t know anyone in town (That was especially hard for me, as I worked for years in our small town in Ohio, and knew practically everyone walking down the sidewalk). While I would have previously thought of myself as a secure and confident person, that all changed, and I suddenly struggled with awful insecurities. Would people like me? Would they get my sense of humor? No one knew my talents, what I was good at and enjoyed doing. Would they even care?
I also left a small church, and joined one twice the size. I felt so lost. Names were a blur, and I would sit in church and try to go down the rows of women, and think of/memorize their names. Sometimes during a service, I would nearly burst into tears, because I missed my home church people so so much. The songs were even different. Everyone was SO friendly and nice though, and I was so grateful for that. Another thing that helped tremendously, was all the women that are transplants themselves, and moved to South Carolina when they got married as well. They understood.
I missed my childhood, comfortable friends so badly. I love making new friends, but the thought of making close friends to help take their places, seemed so impossible. How do you attempt to replace 21 years of friendship? But I now have some of the greatest friends in my life, that I love so dearly. It’s a different friendship, as there will never be anyone like my childhood friends, but they are friends that are so much closer in other ways… friends in the same wonderful wife/mommy stage of life.
There were many nights when I would slip out of bed and go cry quietly in the bathroom, trying to not wake my new husband. I didn’t want him to feel bad about his homesick wife. But boy, was I homesick. I am the oldest in my family, and at the time when I moved, had a dear little one year old brother who was basically like MY baby. I would lay there at night and think of how much he was going to change and grow up without me, and think of my family all still at home going on with life without me. I thought about how I would NEVER live there again, and how it would never be the same to go back home. I missed sharing a room with my sister, and our late night talks about anything and everything.
I missed my old job, working at a bulk food store/cafe, which I enjoyed so MUCH. After I moved, I had several cleaning jobs, which I hated, and dreaded every week. I was so relieved when Liam was born, and I could no longer keep them. 🙂 I now LOVE being a stay at home wife and mom and there is no job on earth I would rather have. It is the most rewarding, fulfilling job I’ve ever had.
People ask me when it started getting better, when Abbeville started feeling like home. And I’m not really quite sure. It happened slowly… in fact, it’s still happening. But I now feel like this is my HOME. I belong here.
They also ask me if there are ways to speed up the “belonging here” process. And I always say…
Time. Give it time. That’s truly the biggest thing.
Pray About It. God is the one person who knows and deeply cares about your loneliness. Pour it out to him.
Pursue Friendships. They don’t just happen. So get out, and DO things with others. When the young married ladies get together for coffee, GO. When the youth girls invite you to go out to eat, GO. Talk to people after church, ask questions, and TRY to get to know them. Get out of your comfort zone. If you have to, PLAN things to do with new friends. They don’t always have to pursuing you.
Have A Baby. 🙂 If this is an option for you, I highly encourage it.:) There’s something about having a child that makes you feel like you belong. I can’t explain it, it just DOES. My mom says the same thing, so it’s not just me. 🙂
Have Fantastic In-laws. It has helped so much to live five minutes from my husband’s family, and to be able to have family nearby. They made me feel like I was part of the family right away, and like I belonged.
Go Home To Visit Often. My husband did so well in taking me home to visit my family quite often, especially in our first year of marriage. While it DID make me more homesick the week after we’d come back to South Carolina, it did help. I didn’t feel so isolated from my friend and family in Ohio.
Talk To Your Mom. My mom still calls me every week, and I so look forward to our talks. She tells me all the things that are happening at home, gives me the greatest Mom advice, and basically I just really love her.
I was also fortunate enough to have a friend get married a month before us, that married a guy from the same church as my husband, and moved to the same area. It helped so much, to be able to go talk to her, and go through the same adjustments at the same time.
It gets better. I promise. You will find your place, and feel like you are home.
I’m writing this for myself as well, to help me remember.
To help me remember to reach out to others that have recently moved, and to make a better effort to reach out to them and get to know them. To make them feel at home and wanted here.