Last week marked six years since my husband and I moved to Raleigh.
Or, as we like to call it, "home."
Prior to our arrival here in 2007, we'd fallen into a habit of moving every three years or so. I was settling into a newspaper career, which often requires moving from town to town as you move from one paper to a larger or better one, and Geoffrey, who was still figuring out his career path in those early years, was kind enough to follow me.
We met in small-town Anderson, S.C., among lots of friends our age and a social life that mostly involved impromptu gatherings on someone's porch late at night, maybe with some Uno cards and definitely with beer. The next move was to the Washington, D.C., area, whose free museums and diverse cultural offerings enchanted my husband, but whose not-always-friendly people and lack of sweet tea turned me off.
Our next move started as a joke. I hated my job, and Geoffrey hated his. I got an email about an internal job opening in Tokyo and jokingly said: "We should just move to Japan." But then, when we realized what a great opportunity it was, and how we'd never have another chance like it, it stopped being a joke. I got the job, and we packed up our stuff and committed to at least three years in a country neither of us had set foot in before.
We loved Tokyo, and we miss it still when it's summer festival season or when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, but we wanted to be closer to our families, and I had grown weary of my 3-hour-a-day commute. So, like clockwork, three years almost to the day after we stumbled off a plane at Narita International Airport, we arrived in Raleigh. We were severely jet-lagged and no longer used to driving on the right, but we got over each of those quickly and settled right into our new home.
We've lived in small towns and giant cities, and it soon became clear that Raleigh, as Goldilocks would say, was juuuuuust right. It's big enough to offer endless things to do and abundant arts culture, but small enough that you can get across town in less than an hour and sometimes even without a traffic jam.
It didn't take us long to put down roots. After a year, we bought a house. Only a month after that, we adopted a giant yellow dog who loves his fenced-in backyard in suburbia. After a couple more years, we welcomed our daughter, born at Rex Hospital, a native Raleighite.
Or is that Raleighan? We still have a lot to learn. We've done and seen so much here, but there's an even longer list of stuff we haven't gotten to yet. It's enough to keep us busy for years, which is good, because after breaking our every-three-years-streak we figure we might as well stick around.
After all, this is home.