I can't believe I'm sitting on the couch and not in a car. Last Friday Gabriel and I drove to NJ, promptly passed out, and woke up to a wonderful Saturday. My sister was there with her baby Niko - he's gotten exponentially cuter since last I saw him.
I got to hear him laugh! I asked Kim how she ever gets anything done - doesn't she just stare at him all day and make him laugh? I can't stand the cuteness! Saturday was an engagement party at my mom's house - we were busy talking and eating and playing and I got not one picture. Lots of people and lots of fun! I know my mom took a cute pic of Gabe holding me and we were both wearing sombreros - when I get it from her I'll post it.
Sunday we had a little engagement party - mimosa brunch at Natalie's house, which used to be my dad's house. Niko puked on everyone, so I think he really enjoyed it. It was so nice to see everyone and my Aunt Neicey gave me a gift that made me cry - I'll write about that in another post. We had to eat and run, but got a prom pose first:
We got in the car around 2 p.m. and arrived in Chapel Hill, NC about 10 p.m. I think. The radio stations changed as we got closer, and I'll always remember my first Piggly Wiggly ad told by some guy with a thick drawl. I started to panic a bit. I had convinced myself that we were moving to a place basically the same as Boston, just smaller and with better weather. But it hit me that it will be really different, and we know no one. One day I'll say Piggly Wiggly without cracking up. AAAAHHH!!!! I think the marriage reality had set in too, after all the engagement parties and people asking about our (lack of) wedding plans. I looked over at Gabe driving and realized it's just me and him, going off to some new experience - all we've got is each other, and damn good thing I really like being around him. We pulled into town in the dark - my first impression was just trees and crickets.
We stayed at the fanciest inn in town because my sweetie got an amazing last-minute deal on Priceline - we paid less than the least expensive hotel in the town. Here's our fancy breakfast. It was so good Gabe didn't even stop chewing when I took his picture:
We got up and saw our first apartment at 8:30 a.m. We drove through Chapel Hill and Carrboro and I started to feel anxiety again. It was soooo sshhhh.... quiet. Like ghost-town quiet. Bird-singing-and-nothing-else quiet. I think I told Gabe "it's so quiet here" 30 times that first hour, just to hear something. There are trees EVERYWHERE and you couldn't see more than a block in any direction. It felt more claustrophobic to me than the middle of a city.
Then we got caught in the whirwind of apartment searching - we saw 12 or so that day, and I started to get excited imagining us in each place. In the middle of the day Gabe had a couple-hour orientation at work, and his new boss's wife took me on a guided tour of the area. I learned so much, and learned all the reasons I know I'm going to fall in love with the place. I came back super excited and Gabe said wow, something happened out there. (The turning point was driving one block outside the town and seeing horses and cows.) I love that there is so much going on in this town, but country escapes are a hop, skip and a jump away. I can never decide if I'm really a city girl or a country girl, and perhaps I've found a place to keep both sides happy :)
Eventually Gabe and I decided on a place. Gabe loved a house in the midst of the woods, with no neighbors. Passive solar, brick floors, woodstove, screened in porch with tin roof. We decided against it, because we thought it would probably be harder to meet people. I could imagine myself writing my first novel there, but it's probably best to not have my life mirror The Shining. Here's me being silly at the lake near the place in the woods:
We did decide on an equally eerie place. It's in a self-contained apartment complex (just this would usually have Gabe and I run screaming in the opposite direction). There's a church, school, doctor, dentist, movie theatre, shops, gym, etc. A village green that has a farmer's market, outdoor movies, and concerts. Our apt. is a one bedroom, while everything else was a 2 bed, but it's bright, modern and clean with a nice open kitchen and vaulted ceilings. And a fireplace and big balcony! It is literally across the street from Gabe's work. And gym memberships are included... we checked out the gym and it was the only one I've ever seen with sculpture scattered throughout the exercise machines.
Here's just a couple pictures of our new place:
We left Tuesday afternoon, drove nine hours to NY and stayed over at Gabe's uncles' place. A gorgeous home in the woods - just beautiful. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast outside and were off for the last few hours to Boston. I drove and here is Gabe in the passenger seat. This is how we both felt 5 days after we first started out.
It was nice to be home, even if it's our home only nine more days. I missed the cats so much. We could tell Ookie missed Gabe because she hung out with him like this:
It would have been nice to come home and rest, but there's a bizillion moving-related things to do. And I have a presentation at work at 8:30 that I need to do some significant prep work for. So I'm off to bed for a 5:30 alarm. I suppose I can't complain though - only six more days of work left.