If I had been smart, I would have taken out my camera earlier into this process. I would have carried it around with me all summer, photographing the things I love (and now miss) about Minneapolis. On the other hand, I filled my phone with images while I was running around with all the wonderful souls who have put Minnesota permanently on the map of my heart. Still counts.
When we signed the lease for our apartment, it was before Gabe was offered his job, which is how he ended up down here before we were able to move in and I spent our last three weeks in Minneapolis alone packing up our house. I was overwhelmed at the prospect of course, but it ended up being the best thing for both of us. Moving creates so much stress that I honestly think it probably saved us from a lot of pointless, stupid fights. We each had the space and the time to focus on the tasks we had in front of us. All we were able to do from afar was cheer each other on as we dealt with the logistics (Gabe) and wrapped up everything we own in copious amounts of paper (me). Turns out we ended up in the roles that we excel at, so clearly the universe was looking out for us. Also, I pack like I wrap presents…with too much tape, just like my grandma.
When Gabe flew back, all we really had left was to run some errands, load the truck and say goodbye to our home of six years. Ha, I say that like it was easy. Well, the loading the truck part was easy because we have very kind and extremely gracious friends who helped us out. But the saying goodbye. Obviously that was never going to be easy. One of our last nights, we went to Punch Pizza, and I bawled my eyes out on my way home. And I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t about the pizza at all. Because it was mostly about the people and the place and the fact that I had called Minneapolis home for longer than I had anywhere else in my life. But it was a little bit about the pizza too. YOU GUYS. It’s so good.
Right before we left, the day that we were cleaning and finishing everything up, I walked through our empty house and it hit me how important this story is going to be in the grand scheme of our life together. We finally did the thing we had talked for so long about doing. We packed up our life, said “see you soon,” to the some of the very best people the world has to offer, and drove off to something new and completely unknown.
Our first stop was in Chicago, where we got to see my parents one more time, our pets got to rest (and also be like, WHAT’S HAPPENING), and we got to watch The Weather Channel pretty much nonstop.
Next, we stopped in Nashville. At this point, it was clear that Hurricane Matthew had other plans for us, so we booked another night in our luxe La Quinta accommodations and spent the following day exploring Franklin/spending time with our wonderful friends Amy and Steven and their two beautiful boys. I mean obviously it would have been preferable for there to be no hurricane at all, but we’d take any excuse for extra time with these folks.
We made a firm decision to return to Nashville and made our way toward our next destination. The gorgeous drive sort of helped make up for having to leave such lovely people behind.
Not bad for a rest stop, yeah?
And then we were on to Greenville. We found an Airbnb there for a few nights while everything in and around Charleston was shut down (including the major highway going into it). Not a bad place to bum around for a weekend. There are, if you haven’t noticed by now, a lot of pictures of our pup. She now shares with Gabe the title of “favorite thing to photograph.” Also, she needed exercise, so we came with us everywhere.
This is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Thank God for Total Wine (they carry it).
Chuck got to run free all over the fenced-in acres of our temporary lodging. She was in heaven.
This is the deluxe riding situation we set up for her in the backseat. Dog hammock, bed, blankets. She was a rockstar the whole way down.
I just really appreciated the fact that there is a town that exists called Pumpkintown.
On the way back.
So turns out our Airbnb is also a certified wildlife refuge, and home to three sweet pups (one of which is a wolf dog named Koia, see below) and four gorgeous horses. You would have thought I had never seen horses before.
Finally. This photo is probably too small to see, but that sign says: “welcome home.” And it’s one of the first things I saw upon entering Charleston.
The remnants of almost a week on the road.
After a long week of trying to figure out where we’re going to fit all of our stuff, we snuck away to the beach and introduced our girl Chuck to the ocean for the first time. She spent a decent amount of time just wanting to play volleyball with these guys in the background.
More or less the state of things around here.
The weather has been insanely beautiful every day since we arrived. Like one perfect summer day after another without a bit of humidity. From what we’ve been told, it broke early this year (probably due in no small part to the hurricane), so basically we joined everyone and their brother outside last Saturday, wandering around downtown soaking it up.
Cool shirts, bros.
I miss a lot about Minneapolis already, but I fell in love with Charleston hard and fast when I first stepped foot onto its cobblestone streets last year, and those feelings come rushing back every time I unbury myself from all the boxes and unwrapped paper long enough to enjoy it. Unpacking is temporary, I have to keep reminding myself. And this place is pretty damn magical. But I miss the people so much it makes my heart ache, and that is not temporary. That is another new part of life now that I need to get used to. But isn’t it kind of wonderful to have people in your life who mean so much to you that you hurt to be away from them? It’s a glorious kind of sadness, in a way. You can’t have those lows (where you find yourself somehow listening to Rick James and sobbing your way back home last Wednesday) without first having the beautiful highs.
Anyway, life is crazy. And I live here now.