Wrapping Up Alabama

The time is finally (almost) upon us: we’re headed home to California next month.

I feel like even writing that line may jinx Tom’s progress, forcing us to stay here for longer than anticipated. The weather has been our enemy the past few weeks, with lots of clouds and storms during Tom’s flight period and enviously sunny weekends that we begrudgingly enjoyed. We said goodbye to a few of our friends this month, with one couple moving back to Los Alamitos (where we’ll be stationed) and one to Georgia, a bit outside of Atlanta. It feels kind of strange to be one of the last of the crew of companions we formed here.

Tom is set to graduate on the last Thursday in August, our movers come Friday, and we say goodbye to Enterprise, AL, early on Saturday. I don’t think I’d say I’ll miss this town, but I will miss aspects of our 15 months here. This was, after all, Tom and I’s first home together.

I’ll miss the little spot on the wall Gnocchi jumps to at least once a day; there’s a fine smudge of little cat paws the complex will have to paint over. I’ll miss the morning sunshine flooding our east-facing bedroom, though I won’t miss the sweltering heat that results in the summer. I’ll miss our little farmer’s market, and the local spice man’s shop (his cinnamon is fantastic).

I learned a lot while in this space. I learned how to live with my partner and how to season a cast-iron skillet. I learned about intersectional sustainability and how to care for plants with moderate success. I confirmed how much I despise wasps and I navigated through my continuous anxiety journey. I learned how to send an invoice and how to work remotely. I learned how to roast a turkey all on my own and discovered that Gnocchi is a prime road trip companion.

Time has seemed to grow more and more irrelevant to me since the start of Covid-19 way back in March 2020. At some points it feels like I’ve only been living here for a short while, still acclimating to the town and to the constancy of living with someone that’s not a girlfriend or family. Other times, like right now, it feels like moving home is just out of reach, so close yet so far away.

It’s too early to start packing, too soon to start selling our things on Facebook Marketplace. We have a general plan to move in with Tom’s mom once we’re back in CA, but there are other possibilities on the horizon, just not possibilities to plan for, yet. When I went abroad, I was so anticipatory of the adventure that I packed my bags 2 weeks in advance. Over the course of those two weeks, I constantly needed something from my suitcase and ended up unpacking and repacking it a half dozen times. It kind of feels like that right now – just sitting on my hands, trying not to pack all my clothes and dishware until it’s actually logical to do so.

Something that I *can* take action on, though, is reserving campsites for our drive home from Alabama, as we’ve decided to make a trip of it.

Our current plan is to head from Enterprise, AL –> our friends outside of Atlanta –> Congaree National Park –> The Great Smoky Mountains National Park –> Mammoth Cave National Park –> Gateway Arch National Park –> Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park –> Great Sand Dunes National Park –> Petrified Forest National Park –> Saguaro National Park –> Home Sweet Home.

If you can’t tell, it’s a National Parks-themed trip.

We’ll see if we’re up for the AZ parks by the end of it all, or if we save those for another trip out to see Tom’s brother. All in all, it’s going to be epic. If anyone has any recommendations or tips about these parks, please comment below!

P.S. Yes, I know it’s been 5 months since I’ve posted anything on here. If you know me, you know I’m not a very consistent person. Whatever. Here are some photos from the past 5 months.

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