What’s it like to go back home when you’re still a Nashville newlywed? As it turns out, not as painful as I thought. It helps that it was 100 degrees (not exaggerating by a single digit), that rush hour is a constant – there’s just a 45 minute window around 11:30 that traffic lightens up slightly, and that parking spaces seem to have become even smaller. So that all helped. But even with the normal difficulties, there’s no place like home. I’m sorry, but the air just smells like gardenias and jasmine to me.. EVEN IF IT’S COATED IN SMOG. Also, I’m able to buy Zonin Prosecco at Trader Joes for $6.99 on a SUNDAY so there’s that.
Chances are, if you lived in a city for most of your life – you don’t need to make friends. You know everyone. Or at least the people you feel like you need to know. Well, isn’t that great. Congratulations. Now try moving to a NEW city at 33 years old, 1700 miles away from everyone you know, where you have to figure out how to not be a total loser.
When we moved to Nashville, I had so many people tell me that making friends would be EASY since everyone in the south is so nice. Well… they were half right: People here are great, but making friends is hard work. For starters, I have to be shamelessly shameless. Like, if you walk by me wearing Isabel Marant, I’m just going to assume we’ll like each other and probably give you my number. That’s slightly over-stating… but if you’re wearing Isabel Marant in an Instagram pic, I will TOTALLY GIVE YOU MY EMAIL. My criteria for hitting on new friends is basically the following:
- Are you a woman or gay man?
- Do you live anywhere remotely near Nashville?
- Are you available? Let’s hang.
I’ve honestly had to make a bigger effort in the last 3 months, than I’ve made in the last 30 years. If I’m tired (always), un-showered (sorry, don’t make morning plans with me), or don’t feel like a drink (haha jk) – I still have to get off my butt and make an effort. The good news however, is that my hard work is paying off. I’ve met so many cool people, who for some reason, have taken pity on my pathetic state. And lately, the only time I feel like a giant loser is when I mentally count the amount of new friends I’ve made while I’m driving in the car. (I hope my new cool friends don’t read this… nothing to see here, guys).
This is all new territory for me.. literally and figuratively. But you know how the saying goes: If you can make it in New York, you can make it in Nashville. Is that not how the saying goes? Well for the sake of conversation, let’s just agree on the logic. I TOTALLY GOT THIS!
We spent the weekend back home in LA. I was worried coming back for the first time.. I’ve been so homesick and had just started to (kind of) find my footing in Nashville – so was I going to get on beloved land and lose it? Feel like I could never go back to Tennessee? Thankfully, I think I’m good, and don’t need to abandon my new life. But the other good news is that I don’t need to abandon my old life either. It was ALL there: Our friends, our family, our favorite Mexican restaurant, sushi, my old Target (don’t think I didn’t pay a visit).. It was a nice reminder that moving doesn’t mean LEAVING. You come back and it’s just as good. As much as things change, they still stay the same – and thank goodness for that.
It was a weekend of so many hugs.
And yesterday we spent the entire day swimming at my parent’s house, hanging out with my brother and some of our friends. It was basically the most perfect day ever.
For old times sake, Dashiell even brought his skateboard and rode around the tennis court like we were back in the 9th grade.
And to add to my perfect day: I was able to buy WINE on a SUNDAY, and at TRADER JOES. It was thrilling, really. I wanted to buy a whole case, but as my husband pointed out, the money I’d pay in shipping is probably more than just buying wine in Nashville. He’s just trying to rain on my cheap champagne parade.
If you want the brutal truth: Have a conversation with a 4 year old. Last night I mindlessly commented on the pleasant weather and said, “It’s nights like this where I almost think I could live here.” To which Stella replied, “But we DO live here…” Yes, Stella. We do. And I’m glad to know only one of us is having a hard time living in reality.
My entire life, I have had a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles. By the age of 17 I was over it and moved to New York City. I swore I would NEVER move back. But as they say… There’s just no point in saying never. So naturally, I moved back nearly 7 years later. Cut to 2015 when John brought up the possibility of Nashville, and all of a sudden I resurrected that itch to leave. I was done with the culture, the keeping up with the kardashians, the fact we couldn’t use public schools, the work-life balance – you name it, I was over it.
Now cut to today. My heart literally ACHES for Los Angeles. It’s like an ex-boyfriend I can’t get over. I only remember the good and discard the bad. I’m so homesick that I actually sit outside at night crying about evening walks, local coffee shops, night blooming jasmine – and can’t even bring myself to discuss our friends and family. That part is just too painful and needs to be placed in a box until a quieter time. For now, It’s all the pain I can handle to remember the smell of the air and the dry summer nights.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to force myself to explore Nashville in hopes of falling in love. And trust me, there is SO much to love about Nashville. But it’s also forced me to recognize how much I love LA and that it will always be my home. I guess that reality is bittersweet since I’m no longer living there, but it’s better to realize you love than to not love at all, right? I’ve also realized I have to stop comparing the two cities because there’s room to love them both. Nashville will never be where I grew up, that ship has sailed.. But it IS where my kids are growing up, and I feel really lucky they get to call this place home.
It’s hard to believe that this is the week we move. John is already in Nashville to meet the moving trucks, and we move out there as a family on FRIDAY. Which leaves me 3 full days to wrap up my entire Los Angeles life, say goodbye to my friends, try to remind my family that we are not moving to Australia and that we will still see them all the time, and somehow manage to keep my kids fed and bathed in the process. I’m overwhelmed. No, that doesn’t seem to be an appropriate description for how I’m feeling. I get overwhelmed in traffic. This….this is different. This is more like, it’s cocktail hour somewhere and does anyone have some xanax kind of a feeling.
I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not overthink the week ahead. But in trying to not think too far ahead, I’m also trying to not think too far behind. Because when I start to think about our life in LA, our home, our families – well, no amount of wine really dulls that pain! Although A for effort, because I’m really trying to see if I can make it work.
Here’s the last pic of us as a family in front of our house in LA. Red door and all. I loved that house so much and what did I say about not looking behind???? Tears. Gotta go.