Our Year in Tennessee

I can’t believe it’s been ONE YEAR since we packed up our lives and moved from New Jersey to Tennessee. We threw ourselves a big farewell party and then took over a half day’s drive away from all of our loved ones, from the place that I spent most of my life. It sounds scary as I type it and I think that if I hadn’t been so excited at this long anticipated journey, I would have been overwhelmed. I knew that life would be different but I never could have possibly imagined that we would be where we are right now. Where do I even begin?

 

“Culture Shock”

This is the very first thing that everyone talks about. Culture shock is defined as the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. Is the culture different? Absolutely. Would I describe my feelings at any moment as disoriented? No way! More like exhilarated.

tractor

Did I once ask to pet someone’s cow? Yes! Have I been stuck in a traffic jam caused by a tractor? Plenty! Does everyone¬†really wave at everyone else, even strangers? They really do. I’ll admit that that last one threw me just a little bit but it made me giggle with glee.

Before I got here, people told me that I would need to get used to taking things slowly or at the very least, talking more slowly. I don’t feel like that’s been my experience as most things seem pretty average-paced. Unless I’m behind the aforementioned tractor or one of those huge log trucks, which go by very frequently as well!

One big difference with living in an extremely rural town and particularly up on the mountain is the¬†distance to everything. The mountain on which I live has only a couple of Dollar General stores and a very lovely produce stand run by the sweetest elderly man and his family. I’m about 10-15 minutes from my small town itself, which has only a few family-owned shops and restaurants among several fast food chains. Grocery shopping is over twenty minutes away in either direction. I don’t mind it and the view along the way is stunning, but I know that distance can be a deterrent for a lot of people!

By rural, I don’t mean that I don’t have neighbors though. Sure, I have three farms on my road but the proximity between my home and that of my neighbors is not far at all. Because everybody knows everybody, I know that my home used to be the only house that owned all of the land around me. The family put trailers on their land so their kids could live there so now what once was one huge piece of land houses around five additional families. We are quite happy with our half acre, although we hope for more someday!

 

What I’m LOVING

We already talked a little bit about what I miss in another post but there is such a wealth of things I love here that it does truly make the other stuff negligible for me. I’m probably a little overly obsessed with where I live but a year in, I think this is quite a great thing!

fancher falls

  • Nature: I live in waterfall central and I am a waterfall fanatic. They are just so beautiful! It’s not just the waterfalls. It’s the mountains, the shades of green on the hills, the baby cows running to their mamas and nursing. I never knew how much I loved looking at corn fields. There is just something about the way that the sunlight hits a corn field in the middle of the day and it just looks like it’s glowing. I feel like it’s impossible for me to feel anything but joy when I step outside and look around. A year later, I am still in love and I still have so much more to see.
  • Adventures: We’ve certainly gone on so many more adventures now than we did in the past. The nature just encourages us to be outside and try new things. We were pretty into hiking but we had never gone kayaking or rode a jet ski before we got here. Just recently, we got into geocaching and I can’t wait to share more information about that one in a future post!
  • Cost of living: Of course I love a lower cost of living, who wouldn’t? I am still so in love with my big house that costs me roughly the same amount per month as my teeny (for seven people, anyway!) New Jersey house. I’ve felt that our dollar is stretching further here and it’s allowed us to do so many more of the things we’ve dreamed!

chicken

  • Homestead life: Speaking of things we’ve dreamed, trying to begin a homestead has been out of this world! I can’t believe how much fun we’re having and how many things we’re learning. Our friends at DaBell Family Farms have shown us the beauty of owning Kunekune pigs and how delicious microgreens can be. My soap-making friend over at Kolob Hills Farm is planning to show me the way around canning, a very popular self-sustaining activity around here!

 

Complications

It is nothing new or surprising that I miss my mommy and all of my loved ones. I’ve got some fantastic besties back in New Jersey and particularly with COVID, no one is visiting anyone. My mom does call me just about every day and once month, I get together with a group of friends on Discord (an instant messaging software, mostly used by gamers) to stream a movie or three. It gets to me sometimes that I can’t hug them (or playfully slap my BFF!), but I wouldn’t change anything in the world unless it was to bring them closer to me so we could adventure together!

Admittedly, making friends seems to be more difficult here. I think that people here take even more time to connect as deeply as this heart-on-my-sleeve gal does. I’ve joined several moms group and MOPS International too, so it’s just going to take time and devotion. In the meantime, the activities sure do keep me busy! I am confident that I will eventually have a Tennessee Tribe of good friends to do lunch and go home decor shopping with!

I could sum up this post a lot more simply by just having a giant toothy smiley face emoji. Words don’t truly do justice how in love I am with this new life. We are living our dream and I still just can’t believe it.

 

Happy one year TNiversary to us!

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