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Notes on Moving Across the Country (Again)

Florida has been where I’ve wanted to lay my roots since I interned here 10 years ago. Even though I believe that if you work hard, you can get whatever you want, I didn’t think it would work out for me to live in Florida. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I could do it, but the timing was never right; plus, how could I live so far from my family and my friends permanently?

I know it’s a blurry picture, but this was our last South Dakota sunrise taken on the morning we left for Florida

While I ruminated on this, Mitchell’s family moved to Florida, and so did several of our friends. And around the time I would have been able to make a career move to Florida, I got a job in South Dakota – a competitive one that I’d worked really hard for. Even though I never could get Florida off of my mind (binge watching Beachfront Bargain Hunt certainly didn’t help that), I started trying to accept that we would probably have to settle for visiting Florida a few times a year over living there. Notice the key word here being “try”, because living at the beach and visiting the beach are two completely different things!

But then there was a job opening for me in Florida! At the time, we had only been in South Dakota for 3 months, but knowing how rare these openings are, I applied anyways. Three months later I got the call for an interview, and it’s been a roller coaster ride since then.

I feel like I have whiplash. I am still coming down from the high of getting the job in South Dakota last July yet here I am, 8 months later, across the country again. And living in the state I’ve dreamed of for 10 years. This move has been our easiest one yet and although that may be a direct result of having done it 3 times now, I also believe it’s because there’s a certain sense of peace when you realize you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

I admit I didn’t try hard enough in South Dakota; after living on the coast in North Carolina, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the Midwest again despite the beauty that South Dakota offered. While I regret that in hindsight, I find comfort in knowing without a doubt that I’m meant to live on the coast and that after all of this time and effort – I’ve made it. I couldn’t feel more happy or proud.

Florida, it’s good to be home!

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Five on Friday

It has been a crazy whirlwind week over here, and I’m happier than usual that today is Friday. With that, I bring you this week’s Five on Friday.

-ONE-

Facebook informed me this week that it’s Friendship Week, or Day, or something like that. Anyway, I have really been thinking about how lucky I am to have so many different friends in so many different places that I can call whenever I need to. I’m especially excited to see my North Carolinian friend for her wedding in one short month.

-TWO-

Even though I’m bummed about the Super Bowl since my Cowboys didn’t make it, I’m excited to have an excuse to make food and relax. The Super Bowl always makes me a little bit sad because I love football season and I hate to see it end. We have exciting things to look forward to, though, so I’m sure we won’t miss it over the next 6 months as much as usual.

-THREE-

Last weekend, Mitchell and I went on our first hike here in South Dakota. I don’t know what took us so long to do it, but I’m glad we did. I never thought I’d be someone who enjoys hiking but now that I’m in better shape, I definitely do. It made me want to go to Colorado and try out some bigger, more intense hikes!

-FOUR-

We have gotten around 8 inches of snow in the last three days where I work in South Dakota, and although a few of my morning commutes were a little bit scary to drive in, there is no denying the beauty. Pictures do not come close to showing how stunning it has been in the hills the past couple of days, and I think it’s fair to say that the scary commute has been well worth the views. I can’t wait to be a beach bum again, but I will miss the snow something fierce.

-FIVE-

Yep, I said I’m going to be a beach bum again! I am excited to announce that we are moving to Florida! This is kind of why our week has been such a whirlwind – I had a tentative date, but no firm offer set in place when President Trump put the ban on federal hiring. I had to wait to see if my position was exempt before I could get an official date. Luckily, everything went through but now we have to get everything ready for our (hopefully last) cross country move. We are headed out on Valentine’s Day – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it, maybe we will get a heart shaped pizza when we stop at our hotel 😉 I cannot wait to blog about everything Florida (and eat all of the seafood)!

 

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Devil’s Tower in Wyoming

Mitchell and I had a four day weekend together for Christmas. A big blizzard was in the forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we anticipated getting stuck at home (not that I was upset about that!) and decided to get out of the house while we could on Friday.

Mitchell had never been to Wyoming, and I wanted to check out Devil’s Tower, so with it being only a 2 hour drive away, it seemed like the perfect destination. Last month, I was honored to attend a 3-day training on Native American culture and tradition where I learned a little about Devil’s Tower, making me appreciate it all the more. Lakota Native Americans have their own name for the tower called Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Lodge”, and other tribes have different names for the tower as well.

I love the story of the tower, which is that there were two Native American children who had gotten lost. They were chased by a giant bear, and could not find a place to hide. The kids began praying; the earth shook and rose where the children were standing; it rose so much that the bear could no longer reach the children, though he tried. It is said that the ridges are on the side of the tower are from the bear trying to climb the tower to reach the children.

Before moving to South Dakota, I read a blog on Devil’s Tower. In that blog, the writer mentioned that if you are in the area, chances are that the only reason you’d be visiting is to specifically visit Devil’s Tower. Although I don’t know that there is anything else to see in the area, simply driving around was absolutely beautiful, especially with the snow. It was a beautiful drive from every angle, and I highly recommend going not only for the views but for the scenery on the way as well!

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New Adventures

Well, things sure have been quiet on this blog! However, it is only because things in the real world have been crazy. In late April, I received my full, unrestricted license to practice mental health counseling and following that I was busy applying for jobs and interviewing for several positions. With all of that being said, I am excited, nervous, and a little sad to announce that I have accepted a position in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Animals in the Mountains in North Carolina

While I am beyond excited for a new adventure across the country, my heart breaks a little to leave North Carolina and the east coast. We had always planned on our time in North Carolina being a temporary move, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to me but somehow, it is. Over the past couple of months, I was starting to fall in love with North Carolina even more than ever, and it was starting to look like we were going to be here a little longer than the 1 – 2 years that we had originally planned. I was really starting to kind of fall in love with that idea.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee mountains

But change is good! And exciting! So stay tuned because I’m sure we will have lots of new places to explore. I am also going to backtrack and post some of our latest adventures, including the Outer Banks and Nashville, Tennessee.

North Carolina Pier

My last day of work is scheduled for July 1st, and we’ll probably be spending our 4th of July moving across the country! I’ll be spending the next four weeks soaking up every last second. Luckily, I have a lot of PTO to use up so I’m hoping to squeeze in a few extra adventures before we leave this amazing place!

Topsail Island, North Carolina

Even though I’m from Iowa, I haven’t traveled much west of there, with the exception of Denver. That means that this part of the US will be new to me! If anyone has any tips, hints, or must – see places in or around South Dakota, I’d love to hear them! We’ll be in the southwestern part of the state, not too far from Colorado and Wyoming.

Sunset in Cape Coral, Florida

 

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Life Lately

At this time last year, the weather was cold, cloudy, and rainy most of the time. This week, we were greeted with temps in the 70’s every single day, with two days actually hitting 80 and 81! Added bonus? No humidity (yet); something pretty rare for North Carolina. I’ve been going to the beach almost every night after work to walk and thought I’d share some of my favorite pictures with you from the past 2 weeks.

North Carolina Turtle

This “little” guy was actually not found at the beach; he is one of many turtles rescued by a local after people try “adopting” them then realize they are too much to care for. I wish that I had more information on this guy and the other 40 turtles he lives with, but I was so excited to see him that I forgot to ask for more information. I can tell you that he currently weighs approximately 400 pounds!

North Carolina Shark Tooth

I was not even looking for shark teeth when I found this! I happened to get very lucky and it was just laying right in front of my walking path!

North Carolina Beach Walkway

I think I will forever get butterflies when I first view the ocean!

North Carolina Beach North Carolina Beach Walkway North Carolina Pier

How is the weather where you are, and what are you doing to get outside more?

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