July 23, 2013


By Erica 
Introduced by Amy

Erica and I grew up going to the same church, though I was a few years older than her.  She is super funny and cool...I totally wish I had gotten to know her better back in the day!  I am blown away by her courage; it would not be easy to move far away from friends and family with a little kiddio and babe on the way!  I also completely related to the process she went through to find the good in her new home.  It's nice to know I'm not the only one who takes a while to "cheerfully adjust" to situations that are new and/or less comfortable.  She amazes me!  I hope you enjoy her candid story as much as I did. 

I used to think that I was spontaneous, fun-loving and audacious.  I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  I found out early this year that I am a true homebody with no sense of adventure at all.  It was a tough break and a very eye opening realization.

My husband, Austin, graduated from Brigham Young University in December 2012 and we spent the next couple of months in my parents basement in Idaho searching for a “real” job.  It was fun and romantic imagining our lives in another state, somewhere we'd never been before.  It was a new beginning for our little family. And then ... we weren't imagining anymore.  Suddenly, I found myself 34 weeks pregnant, in an airplane, with a screaming one year old squirming in my lap, headed to a tiny town called Camden, Arkansas.

Okay, it didn't happen THAT easily. After my husband accepted the job offer I was left to decided if I wanted to up and move with him right now, or let him go ahead and find us a place to live and meet him there after I had the baby.  I wrestled the two ideas for days.  I can't tell you how much sleep I lost over this decision.  I made a pro vs. con chart, I asked my friends and family for opinions, I prayed about it, and ultimately we went together.

We arrived in Arkansas on February 11.  I remember the date because our wedding anniversary was the next day and, of course, Valentine's Day followed suit.  Camden has a population of about 12,000.  Now, that's about 3 times the size of the town I grew up in, but the difference is, where I grew up, all shopping, restaurants, movie theaters etc., were a short 15 minute drive from home, in the next town.  In Camden, if you want to see the inside of a store that isn't Walmart, it's a 2 hour drive.  2 hours!  That's nuts.  We are really out in the sticks, here.  We were holed up in a hotel room for 1 week with no fridge or microwave, and during that time we were searching high and low for a place to live.  It was darn near impossible and we ended up getting what seemed like the only available rental in town.  And it is not pretty.  Let me just say this: wood paneling and cockroaches.  Oy. Not the place I wanted to bring my kid to, let alone a newborn!

Camden is about 30 years behind the rest of the world.  The houses are old.  No one has a garage.  The medical system is weird (there are no Ob/Gyn docs here, and I was ready to pop, mind you).  I was scared.  I was homesick.  I was unhappy.  Austin's new job had him gone for 10-12 hours a day and for some reason, being in a new place all alone with my baby had me thinking everyone I saw was a murderer.  The mailman stopped by to introduce himself (that's how nice everyone here really is!) and my heart stopped when I heard him pounding on the door.  I really did think everyone was out to get me!  I would stand and stare out the window like a creep watching the cars go by and I noticed every single one slowed WAY down when it was passing our house.  Was this my imagination?!  What is going on?!  Nope.  We live on a corner intersection with a stop sign.  I was truly paranoid, people.  I know, I'm a weirdo, with a morbid, wild imagination.  I'm working on that.  So, after several weeks of sitting rigidly in my bedroom all day, scared at every single sound, I got over it.

But I still wasn't happy.  All day, every day, I was consumed with anger.  I was angry that my husband moved me so far from all of my family and friends.  I was angry that we had to live in this crappy house that smelled like a dead person and felt damp inside.  I was angry that instead of renting a U-Haul like normal people, we bought a trailer that was way too tiny and had to get rid of a ton of our stuff (that's a story for another day).  I was sending my poor hubs text messages all day about how miserable I was and how horrible my son was being to me (like I was some victim of baby tyranny).  I told him all the time how much I hated it and wanted to find another job some where else.  Talk about annoying!  Austin was working his buns off everyday, doing his best to provide for his family, so I could stay at home with my kids and all I could say was “Why did you bring me here?!”

No.  That is ridiculous, and super ungrateful.

It took some time to realize it but one day I made a goal for myself.  I decided I would go an entire day without sending a negative text to Austin.  It was liberating.  My 1 year old wasn't attacking me personally, he was just being a regular baby.  And I wasn't miserable, I was just pregnant.  And the next day, we went outside and played in the sunshine and I didn't hate it here after all.

I still felt homesick and lonely, though.  Austin and I had a discussion about making friends.  He says to me, “You just need to go make some.”  Hmm, great advice honey, I'll get right on that.  It's hard for me!  He gets to go to work everyday and make friends with his coworkers.  I am lucky to make it to Walmart during the week and maybe get some small talk in with the cashier.  I was sulking about not ever having the same relationship with anyone else that I do my bestie (I'm not hip enough to use that word), Lisa, that I left back in Utah.  We were roommates and got married and had baby boy's together.  We could talk about the nitty gritty and we could always depend on one another.  Fortunately, I belong to a church full of awesome people that are just WAITING to be my friend, and maybe I won't have the same relationship I have with Lisa, because hopefully I won't be put back in the roommate situation, but that's okay!  I can have friends that don't remind me to pluck my “chiskers” (kindly named by my dear friend, meaning chin whiskers) and they don't have to teach me what hemorrhoids are after I push out a 10lb baby (she really is a good friend).

I've already made two trips home since moving but I think it gave me closure.  I am falling in love with the people in this town.  They have the biggest hearts and they bless my life everyday.  I am learning to just be myself and the people that don't run in the other direction will be the ones I call my new friends.  I think I'm off to a good start.  It helps when I speak their language, like saying y’all, fixin' ta, and putting extra emphasis on the Ju in Ju-ly.

I've officially been Southernized. 

Isn't she cool? :)  
So, now it's your turn.  Have you ever moved far away from friends and fam?  How did you get used to your new home and meet new peeps?  We'd love to hear about your experience! :) 


  1. I moved from all my family and husbands family last year. We only moved four hours away... But it was one if the hardest things I'd ever done. I'm still trying to get to know people... I still don't have friends!! But I've learned that I need to be happy no matter what!! My little boy and I are now best friends!! ;) and my husband and I have a much closer relationship!! It's still hard somedays... Especially now that I'm pregnant again!! But I've learned to love where I am!! Thank you Erica for writing this!! Now I know I'm not alone!! ;)

    1. WHAT!? Lauren, you are so kind and fun...anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend! Don't be nervous to get to know people--they'll love you. :)

  2. Haha! I loved the part about chiskers and hemorrhoids! Made me laugh so hard! Anyway, I know what you mean about that part. My husband and I had really good friends back in Idaho before we moved. We did everything together. When we moved, we had a really hard time finding people that clicked with us exactly the way our old friends did. I discovered that instead of trying to find another couple just like our old friends, we should just give everyone a fair chance and stop comparing and have fun. Since then, I have made lots of friends whose company I enjoy very much.

  3. I love this Erica! I'm getting nervous about our move to Texas!!


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