"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A weekend escape

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my small-town life.

I love that I’ve only been here six months and everywhere I go, I see at least five people I know.

When I lived near Birmingham (where I had been since 4th grade), I rarely ran into anyone I knew. I can’t imagine starting over somewhere like that by myself. Jen, you’re my hero. For years, I thought I’d love living in New York, but now I realize how alone I’d feel. I’m most definitely a “people person.” Running into familiar faces has helped me adjust to my new town so much quicker than I ever imagined.

I love that the people here have welcomed me so warmly and gone out of their way to make me feel at home.

I was shocked this summer when Scott’s parents let me stay in their camper at the lake. They had only met me once, but when they heard I’d be in town for an internship and couldn’t find anywhere to rent for two months, they happily offered up their weekend retreat for me and Toby. Not only would they not let me pay them, they regularly called to make sure I was doing okay. Their kindness was just the beginning of what I’ve felt ever since.

I love that from home to work, and back again is three miles round-trip (six if I go home for lunch!)

I can drive FOREVER on a tank of gas. Also, as I am perpetually running late for everything, it’s amazing that I can pull out of my driveway at 7:28 and still make it to work on time. Couldn’t do that in the city!

I love that when I moved into my house, my neighbor welcomed me to the street by bringing over four jars of fruit preserves.

This is not a joke! My very first afternoon in my house, the doorbell rang. My neighbor, who is in her sixties, was standing in my driveway with an armful of brightly colored jars.

Side note on why she was in the driveway by the time I got to the door: I live in an old house with the chime-type doorbell. The chimes hang in the hallway and when the doorbell rings, they clang together (VERY LOUDLY) and usually scare me to death. Well, when I moved in, I didn’t realize there were different rings for each door. One chime for the side door, and two for the front door. So that afternoon, when the doorbell chimed once, I went to the front door and got thoroughly freaked out when I opened it and no one was there. I began to wonder if my house was haunted. While I was standing there at the door, the chimes rang again, which only heightened my sense of paranoia. I had just about decided to quit unpacking and move somewhere else when it dawned on me (genius) that there was another door. So, I ran through the house, opened the side door, and low and behold…no one was there. Key panic. I walked into the carport, and only then did I see my sweet, sweet neighbor, standing there looking startled with her arms full of jarred fruit.

I love that I don’t have to sit in traffic — EVER.

I never thought much about it until I didn’t have to do it anymore. Now, when I visit Mama, I get a strange “road rage” at having to drive around so many other people. They cut you off, slam on brakes, ride your bumper…It’s so frustrating!

Overall, there are many, many things that make small-town life wonderful.

HOWEVER, this weekend I’m going up to Alabaster for the weekend and I could not be more excited. Sometimes, I miss having a theater that shows more than three movies, a bookstore that’s not located inside Wal-Mart and a coffee shop that stays open later than 5:00. (Again, not joking. What are you supposed to do when you get a late night need for caffeine?)

Every place has its pros and cons, and at the end of the day, the pros win out down here in the deep, deep South. But every now and then, it’s nice to escape to a busier place for a few days. Even if it does just make you thankful for your quiet, small-town life when you get back home.


Anonymous said...

I'm excited about your visit too!
We'll have some serious girl time since Dad and Chase will be "scouting". Any of your bloggy friends have any suggestions on a good movie?


Anonymous said...

You know you live in a small town when you consider going to Alabaster as "going to the city".

Jessica said...

1. Your description of your town made me want to pack my bags when I get home from work and move there! With it being a small town, the next one over can't be too far away if the caffeine fix *or any other fix* gets too strong.
2. Movie ideas.. not that I've seen any lately, but I've wanted to see Fireproof, Nights in Rodanthe, and Secret Life of Bees. Again, I haven't see these so don't hold me to it, but I've heard amazing things about them.
You girls have a great weekend!!!

I hope you'll still be cheering on Alabama. Big game this weekend!!

Heather said...

Hey! Don't knock on Alabaster, it's grown tremendously since I lived there!! They have shopping, TWO Starbucks, a big theater and tons of restaurants now! It's probably 10 times bigger than Andalusia!!
Jessica: Just to let you know how far out in the middle of nowhere I live, the closest "city" with any type of entertainment is about an hour away. There are lots of surrounding towns, but they are all as small, or smaller than Andalusia!! :) Thanks for the movie suggestions!!
And I will definitely be cheering for Bama this weekend!! Roll tide :)

Anonymous said...

Oxford isn't as small as Andalusia, but it sure is smaller than Baton Rouge. I love it! I'm so happy that you're settled into your new home and that the Andalusians have welcomed you with open arms. What a wonderful neighbor you have.

Fireproof is great if you haven't seen it. I highly recommend it.

Have a great weekend with your mom! I know she'll love having you home.


Diane said...

Do you need 3 roommates? I'm pretty tidy overall... and I'll vacuum up Sundance's dog hair daily... and I'll put duct tape on Ryan's mouth if she gets on your nerves (which is inevitable, really).

PS... award for you at my place... come and get it!

Jen L. said...

I can't wait to see you! I am LOVING being out of the big city. Life is a lot slower here and you can savor your days rather than rushing everywhere you go. Your mom and I just had a great, relaxing lunch. Let's be wild this weekend and go to Starbuck's at 8pm!!!

Anonymous said...

Heather, we have THREE Starbucks here in Alabaster now if you count the one inside of Target!!! yep, we are "big time" now. Remember when you were growing up and we had to drive 20 miles to the nearest theater? now we have the multi-plex.
Thanks for your movie suggestions Jessica, I've heard great things about The Secret Life of Bees. I leaning towards that one. I think I'm more excited about the popcorn than the movie, like you, I'm also doing WW.


Mel said...

Wow - you make small town life sound *almost* appealing. I've never even met most of my neighbors (and I've lived in my house for going on 6 years). There's one I'm convinced is agoraphobic or at the very least completely socially inept as he runs inside anytime anyone comes out of their house when he's outside. But, I have to say, I think I'll take my non-Walmart bookstores that stay open 'til 2am over the alternative. Although preserves and a long-lasting tank of gas sounds awfully appealing! ;)