Tilly’s got her party hat on, as you can see, and she is ready to celebrate! Because we’ve lived here for half a year. Which means we’ve been away from NYC for half a year.
So how’s it going so far?
In a word: Great. Tilly is happier than she has ever been. She has a yard, she has her grandparents nearby, and she has flowers year-round to stick that big old basset nose into. Manny and I like our jobs, we’re proud of our little bungalow, and we’re meeting new people.
But there are things we miss about the big, bad city up north we left. When Manny and I were thinking about moving — and then later, when we were preparing to actually do it — we talked plenty about what we would be giving up…
- Amazing pizza. And Korean food. And all of the other foods that Savannah, for all of its charms, just doesn’t do so well (or at all).
- Museums and other fun places to go do things.
- Our friends.
(The Florence, Savannah. Source: USA Today: 10 Best)
In terms of the first issue, I’m happy to report it’s getting easier. There’s a great Italian place called The Florence, located in Savannah’s Starland District, that has really, really good pizza. We’re still working on the Korean food. That one won’t be easily resolved, I’m betting. But there’s bbq, and we all know I love that. And there’s some pretty slick watering holes, for when we’re feeling our age and can stay up past nine pm and not like we’re pushing 105 (which is, admittedly, rare).
(Some shots of two recent exhibitions at the SCAD Museum. On the left, Vivienne Westwood, “Dress Up Story — 1990 Until Now”; on the right, Li Hongbo, “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day.” The latter is a works-on-paper exhibition by the Beijing-based sculptor.)
And then there’s the third point. This last one was/is the hardest. A lot of our friends from college moved to New York after graduation. Some, over the years, inevitably moved away. But with train lines and a handful of airport-options, we were connected in a way that we just aren’t living here in Savannah. We miss our old friends, even though we’re making new ones here.
My big picture sentiment today, though, has to do with what it means on the macro level to leave a big city for a small one. I think a lot of people can appreciate that moving someplace new and trying on a different life for a while — new city, new job, new home, new routine — might present a cool opportunity. But when it comes to NYC, there’s this myth that it has the final say on everything. One can get brainwashed after a while and fear that leaving the city is akin to leaving civilization.
(A throwback shot from a sunset boat cruise around Skidaway and Wilmington Islands during our first month in Savannah.)
But we’re learning everyday that life outside of New York comes with way more positives — for us — than negatives. We’re grateful we got to live there when we did. At that point in our lives, it was fantastic. But for where we are now, Savannah is proving a much better fit. It’s beautiful. It’s affordable. There’s no traffic. People are relaxed. The weather is lovely.
Of course, none of this is to say things have been easy-street since we moved here, and I would disdain to paint the picture that it has been, particularly when it comes to the house.
Having the bungalow is really nice — it’s a point of pride that we can look at our little gray house and say “she’s ours!” But bringing her back from the brink has been stressful to the max at times. And the truth is we’ve spent way more time working on and worrying about the house than we have exploring our awesome new city — and that’s a bummer. I’ve mentioned this, and generally when I do so I try to keep it light, but there are times when the disorder really, really wears me down. Like last night. As is usual these days, the house was a wreck. With the plumbers, electricians, and roofers here this week, I’ve been on my feet constantly answering questions and playing contractor. On top of this, Tilly had to have surgery recently and no one has been sleeping well at our house as she slowly heals. By dinnertime yesterday, I was a zombie. I started to come unhinged. I went to bed at 7:45pm.
What about you? Any other former New Yorkers transitioning to a quieter life?