We are moving this summer (once again. gulp.). David finishes his fellowship at the end of June and we are off to our next adventure in Chattanooga! We have known nearly this whole year that this was our next step yet now that it is right around the corner, it seems surreal.
Our decision to settle down in Chattanooga was intentional. Chattanooga is a moderate-sized city with an abundance of outdoor activities, a thriving and growing food and farmer's market scene, excellent schools, a cool art vibe, a plethora of festivals, water and mountains nearly out your backdoor, an easy drive to the homes of all of our family, and an amazing job opportunity for David.
We hope that Chattanooga becomes one of the most special places in our lives- the place we raise Jack and Rigby, the place where we grow old together.
David and I have moved around a lot in the past 20 years weaving our way up and down the east coast and then across the country. Our first move, when we were just 18 years old, was from our hometown of Pensacola to our sweet college town of Davidson. During our college years, we lived collectively in 6 dorm rooms, 3 apartments, 1 hotel room, and 2 houses (some of these shelters were in France and Italy during our study abroad semesters). After graduating from Davidson, we moved to Boston where we lived for 2 years in 3 different apartments. Atlanta was our next stop where we stayed for 8 years in 3 different apartments/duplexes before making our biggest move yet across the country. We lived in Seattle for 5 years in 2 different houses before moving back to the Atlanta area last summer and finding our sweet home in Decatur for this past year. The moves have been exciting, adventure-filled, and necessary, yet also exhausting both emotionally and physically.
After living in one home in one city for the first 18 years of my life, all of the changes were definitely something new. Despite the exhaustion of moving and the crazed feeling I battle with most days, particularly over the past few years, I look at all that David and I have accomplished and feel proud. Our relationship with each other, our boys, the relationships we have grown with so many wonderful friends, all of the places we have been able to visit, our undergraduate and graduate degrees, our careers. All of these are reason to celebrate. And, this move, as so many before it, will be the beginning of a new adventure, a new season, a new cause for celebration.
While our other moves were relatively brief, more indicative of chapters in our lives, I sense that Chattanooga will be the start of a long, multi-chaptered story. And, perhaps, it will be less about adventure and accomplishments and more about living. I want this new story, our new home, to reflect a life dedicated to acquiring less and doing more. Of seeing places we want to see and doing things we want to do. Learning new hobbies, growing a garden, buying our first home, watching our boys find activities and interests that make them grow and thrive and friends that make them happy, and building a life-long community in a city that ignites our passions. I want to slow it all down and start really living, not just looking forward to the next step, but knowing that this is the place where we are supposed to be. Surrounded by each other in perhaps the first, and last, place that feels truly like home.
We are so excited about this next step! So, when Jennifer from Modern Map Art reached out to me several months back and offered to send me a print, of all the places that we've lived, I knew Chattanooga was the map that I wanted for the walls of our new home. Modern Map Art designs and prints map art of cities, countries, and even ski destinations paying particular attention to the details that make each place unique. I just love the fact that our new home has a beautiful river flowing right through its center and this is showcased so clearly on the map. We can hardly wait to frame it and give it a home on our new walls. I am tempted to add the maps of all of the other cities where we have lived and to create a large map gallery on the walls of our guest cottage...
Chattanooga, we are so ready for you! Life, here we come!