We moved into our new home a week and a half ago, and are settling in quite nicely. When we moved to Indiana in 2019, we settled into a teeny tiny town about 30 minutes from Indianapolis. It was our best effort at making our commutes work – mine to downtown Indianapolis, my husband’s about 50 minutes west to the college he is teaching at. It wasn’t a great fit (we knew it immediately), but we gave it our best try.
I don’t need to tell you what happened next, but…PANDEMIC.
I was privileged to have a house as my pandemic prison, but it didn’t change how isolated I was. As I settled into working from home, I felt trapped by my surroundings. Back in Austin, my rental home was just a short run from beautiful hiking trails (and a block away from Chinatown – ah! Best takeout ever!) But in our next neighborhood, I didn’t have anything to run to. Our community was located off of a state highway, and I didn’t feel safe running along side it. The trail network in our neighborhood was very small. I grew depressed at the cookie cutter surroundings and even as our world opened up after getting our vaccines, I felt a desperate urge to escape.
When we were still planning our move from Texas, we’d initially been uncertain about moving to the college town Husband works at – it’s an hour away from Indianapolis and we wondered if it would be too small for us. I remember being hung up over the lack of a Target. It seems silly now, especially after the pandemic (I didn’t step inside a Target for over a year and lived to tell the tale).
We thought that by living in our small suburb, we’d be close to the big city amenities we missed so much from Austin. And while we were, what we didn’t realize is that we’d be at least twenty minutes from anything other than the gas stations down the street. Even a simple grocery store visit was a 40-45 minute drive round trip. Eventually, my downtown office closed and reopened as open concept, and I started reporting back to the Texas office. Why was Husband having to commute so much if I could just continue working from home?
There’s a lot of negativity online about the college town we just moved to, and that can certainly affect how you view it. But I read advice that really resonated with me. “It’s a good place to live,” the post said. “You just have to interact with it.” I was craving a community and a place to dig our roots into, and I knew the tiny suburb we were living in just wasn’t going to work anymore.
Our move-in day was hectic, but certainly less frenetic than moving across country (and way less stressful than the process of buying this house, but that’s a story for another time – luckily, we had really good realtors this time around). We were delighted to realize we had multiple delivery options at our new home, which we didn’t have at our old house. We ordered Chinese and watched TV. I went to sleep that night comforted by the sounds of a nearby train. I have lived near train tracks nearly the entirety of my adult life, and I had missed hearing them at our old house.
We’re now unpacking and making this space our own. It’s wild how it already feels more like home than our old house ever did. I think I’ve mentioned that we bought a Dutch Colonial built in 1920. It’s beautifully updated in many ways (kitchen, bathrooms) but needs some TLC in others (four different colored carpets upstairs! Two different colored carpets downstairs! White walls desperate for color). We’re in no hurry to jump on these projects – I used to try and unpack everything as quickly as possible (I hate living out of boxes and overall mess), but I’ve also learned there is a benefit of really feeling a space before decorating it.
I’ll miss some things about our old house – the family of bunnies in the backyard and along the trails, the Canadian geese flying overhead, the backyard views. Being fifteen minutes away from the airport and thirty from downtown. But that’s it. It was a nice house, but not the right home for us, and I hope it’s a good space for the buyers.
I think moving here straight from Austin would have been difficult, but after the two years we’ve spent in our other town, I’m grateful to have a Starbucks right down the street, a grocery store ten minutes away, and beautiful parks and trails within running distance of my home. Our new neighborhood has mature trees along the sidewalks and has so much character. I’m already looking to see what groups I can join. The pandemic has taught me it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you have a community. After two years of uncertainty, we’re looking forward to digging our roots here and finally blooming.
And now, some photos of our first week and a half here: