Scott and I have longed to move to the Carolinas for years. We spent time in South Carolina shortly after we were married and within 24 hours, I had contacted a realtor and spent all day touring homes while Scott was golfing. I had our new life planned before he had finished the front 9. In my defense, he did take me to the most beautiful Southern country club he could find. What’s a girl to do?!
(Pictured here: Berkley Hall – the site of Scott’s golf tournament, the USGA State Team Tournament (and the beginning of my extreme discontent with California living)
I remember the membership director walking me into the ladies lunching area (not quite sure what this was called but it wasn’t the locker room) and suddenly, I realized how very out of place I was. Those Southern ladies lunching looked me up and down and decided on the spot that I did not belong…20 years old, long blond hair, tiny tank top and prairie skirt. Before you judge me, remember this: prairie skirts were in 11 years ago…just saying.
They were all sweaters and pearls and I was all wild wavy hair and tan skin. I quickly tuned on my heel and we were off to see the rest of the clubhouse. However, a part of me stayed in that room and never left. I knew that one day, while the wild hair may remain, the lady in me would find her footing, her longed for traditions, history and the family values she was craving.
We spent that trip searching for fireflies after sunset, finding shrimp boats (and accompanying seafood restaurants), exploring old roads and green highways, and ended with a trip to Savannah for the best fried chicken I’d ever tasted. Leaving was hard. I felt frustrated and confused and just flat out stuck. While I processed and lamented my love for the South, I started to realize that some of my favorite childhood memories were laced with Southern culture: sneaking sips of my Papa Clyde’s sweet tea, swinging on a front porch swing, waiting for the perfect apple pie to bake at Grandma Katy’s, my obsession with Gone With the Wind at a mere 10 years old, picking cotton in fields with my brothers, climbing bales of hay on hot afternoons….the list went on and on. I grew up hearing and saying “y’all” and could have lived off of my momma’s homemade biscuits. It was there all along – my sort of Southern roots – I just had to dig deep to find them.
We’ve tried (and I mean really tried) to make a family move to The South work. We sold our house, flew to Texas for research, planned (and then canceled) another research trip to North Carolina, compared salary schedules, benefit packages, neighborhood comps, cost of living, wedding industry stats ETC. It always seemed like God was telling us no, that’s not where you belong.
BUT WHY? Why give me this heart for the South and then make me stay?!
Because, West Carolina…the dream I never saw coming. We’re being called to bloom where we are planted. We’re being called to bring The South to Southern California.
The roots go down deep. We’re growing. Slowly but surely, this dream is about to peek out and see the sun.
Grow where you are planted.