October 25th, 2015
Tomorrow is my 3 month Houston anniversary - hooray! Cue the streamers and bring out the chocolate cake. It's been an exciting and quiet 3 months as I have been settling into life as a Texan. It was touch and go for the first several weeks and then suddenly around week 8 (also known as the week of my 29th birthday), the ground beneath my feet shifted and I felt sturdy.
Here are a few things that will inevitably happen to you when you move your life many states away, to a brand new city:
1. You will cry because you don't know where to get your oil changed. You can giggle at this statement all you want, but it is TRUE. Shortly after I moved here and settled into my new routine, I found myself feeling defeated by things like this. Back home I had all of my favorites lined up. My favorite dry cleaners, my favorite auto care place, and my favorite coffee shop. But plant yourself in a big, shiny new city where a) there are a bajillion options to choose from and b) you're the kind of person that just wants someone to give them two options to choose from, and suddenly you're crying over spilled oil. Thankfully you eventually snap out of it, put your big girl panties back on, drive to the nearest Firestone and just deal with it - but trust me...this WILL happen.
2. You will wind up standing barefoot in the middle of a stranger's living room. It took a couple of months but I finally landed on a church to attend. Once I found where I wanted to be, in true Katie fashion, I immediately began searching for a small group to be a part of. I e-mailed the host of the small group, got an address of where they meet, and boldly walked into this home where I would know not a single soul. When I entered their home I noticed that there were about 20 pairs of shoes piled by the door. Naturally, (and hesitantly), I took my shoes off before I entered the living room. Walking into a room of 20 strangers is already intimidating enough, but there is something about doing that while also being barefoot that sent me OVER THE EDGE. I might as well have been standing there in my underwear - that is how vulnerable I felt. I'm not exactly sure why being barefoot sent me into a feeling frenzy, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I have stupid weird feet. Regardless, I smiled at everyone and said, "Hey! I'm Katie and I am feeling very vulnerable with my bare feet exposed!" People laughed, we moved on with our lives, and I enjoyed my first small group with these wonderfully welcoming people.
3. You will figure out what you want to be doing in your spare time. I left Huntsville feeling absolutely ragged. For the last 3 years I lived my life running in 78 different directions at one time. It was a beautiful season of my life and I loved every single activity and group that I was a part of. At that time in my life I needed every single one of them. But in this season, God has made it loud and clear that I need to re-focus my energy, my heart, and my time. I knew that when I got here and I spent a lot of time (and still am) figuring out what it is that I want to be doing in my spare time. And even though my last job kept me busy while I worked from home, the spare time that comes with working in an office setting is much more sparse and sacred. I am working hard not to fall back into familiar volunteer activities yet just because I was doing them in Huntsville. I am focusing on the things I loved doing, leaving behind the things that were only meant for a season, and discerning where God wants me to spend those extra minutes I have been gifted with. It is liberating and empowering and requires a great deal of patience for someone that loves to get plugged into things quickly. But it is worth it to lean into where God is directing me.
4. The words "roll tide" will sound sweeter to you than ever before. In the state of Alabama, one can guarantee that they will hear the words "roll tide" as much and as often as they hear the words "thank you." In fact, in many situations, the two phrases are interchangeable. Move yourself to a brand new place 12 hours from home and the words "roll tide" take on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, you feel united with every single person that utters those precious words. You find yourself excited to hear the phrase that you so often took for granted before because now it is something that makes you feel at home even though you are many, many miles from it. You find yourself briefly thinking about following the car in front of you with the UA license plate (in a non-stalkerish way of course) and randomly sending messages to people on facebook because you have a ton of Bama friends in common. Suddenly, you bleed crimson more than you ever thought you did before. And it's fabulous.
So, here we are. New city, new chapter, and a whole new set of things I should be in therapy for. It's seriously the best.