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June 15, 2005

Today is something of a milestone for me. It was five years ago today that I arrived in North Carolina, after having pulled up stakes and left California.

Relocating long-distance was nothing particularly new for me. I'd gone to college in the Midwest, and I'd been stationed in Texas and New England — not to mention in Korea. But those moves were necessary; I had to go to college, and I had to go where Uncle Sam sent me.

However, coming to North Carolina was a purely voluntary decision. Indeed, it was the answer to a few "problems" I had: I wanted out of San Jose, and I wanted to buy a house.

With my employment situation at that time, I had several different places to which I could move. Chelmsford, MA was out of the question, what with the "Taxachussetts" reputation and the vast surplus of Kennedy sycophants. I narrowed my choices to Austin, Texas and Raleigh, NC and spent no small amount of time debating the decision with myself.

I'd been stationed in Texas; combined with my relo-research, I was roughly familiar with things there. But I had never laid eyes on any part of North Carolina. While I was torn with indecision, Fate intervened, and I was sent on a business trip to visit the company offices in Raleigh. It was love at, if not first sight, then first week's stay. My mind was made up.

Less than a month later, I had to make a second trip to the Raleigh office. I decided to see what I could do about finding an apartment during my brief stay. I wasn't overly optimistic about my chances, but my perspective on apartment hunting had been warped by my four years in San Jose.

In San Jose in the late '90s, apartment hunting usually consisted of the following series of actions:

  • Wake up Sunday morning at 4am, shower, shave, get dressed (business casual preferred.)
  • Go outside to wait for the Sunday paper to arrive.
  • While waiting, warm up the car.
  • As soon as the paper is in hand, discard all but the "apartments for rent" section of the paper.
  • Drive like a maniac to the first/best address spotted in the ads.
  • Queue up behind the 50 people who got there before you to fill out an application.
  • Repeat weekly until new apartment found and leased.
  • Auction off a) arm, b) leg, or c) rights to firstborn child to cover the rent expenses.

The rental market in the Raleigh area, to my great relief, was nothing quite as cutthroat as that in the Bay Area. I had an afternoon free during my trip, and in two hours I had found a good place and had a signed lease in hand. I could afford to pay for the apartment standing empty while I wrapped up my affairs in San Jose.

Less than a month later, I had checked out of my apartment in San Jose, hired a mover for the big stuff, packed the small stuff into my SUV, and hit the road.

On June 15th, 2000 I arrived in Raleigh. And, in an odd coincidence sure to make the reader think of pregnancy, nine months later I moved into my very own built-for-me house, where I still happily reside.

I'm a native Californian, third generation, born and bred. But unless something particularly unusual happens, I'll never live there again. North Carolina is now home.

Posted by Russ at 01:02 PM, June 15, 2005 in North Carolina

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I like calling North Carolina home.

Good post. I was born and raised in the Chicago area. After I graduated from U of Ill. in '81, I felt this urge to move to NC and was fortunate to get an interview in Raleigh with Corning (now the building is used by Kyocera?). I can still remember driving from the airport to the plant on the tree-lined highways.

It was not meant to be then, but another job opened up in '84, and I've lived in NC three different blocks of time (usually 4-5 years per block). In '99, after being let go from a job in Ohio, I decided that I would choose where I wanted to live and not allow some company to yank me around. We are here in the Triad area, between the mountains and the coast. I can't imagine being anywhere else.

Don't write too many of these posts, or we could risk getting too many "foreigners" clogging the place up!

Posted by: MarcV at June 15, 2005 01:29 PM

I intend to address the "foreigners" issue in an upcoming post. The Do's and Don'ts of relocating to the South, so to speak.

Posted by: Russ at June 15, 2005 01:32 PM

We came so close to moving to NC. Made a total of three trips. My best friend lives there, and she kept saying I needed to return Nin to her natural habitat :) (she's from TN) Doesn't look like I'll get to live there, but I hope to be able to visit again.

Posted by: Ith at June 15, 2005 02:02 PM

North Carolina made out in the deal, if you ask me. California...phooey!

Posted by: Jim - PRS at June 15, 2005 08:22 PM

Good move Russ! I live in Austin and have traveled to Raleigh several times, and believe me I think you may have made the better choice. Although I do like living outside of Austin, I found Raleigh to be beautiful and the people friendly. As for Calif., I moved in 72 and everytime I have to go back on business I regret it. Good Choice Russ!

Mr Minority

Posted by: Mr Minority at June 17, 2005 02:11 PM

I love California, the state of my birth. The weather, scenery, beaches mountains and forests all combine to make it a true paradise.

Which I shall never return to as a place to live.

I cannot abide the overcrowding, political stupidity, anti gun-ness, taxes and just damn near everything else the state has come to represent.

I'm happy in Texas. I may one day be happy in Florida, should I point the boat eastward.

Living in a Free State. There can be no other way.

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim at June 17, 2005 03:46 PM

It breaks my heart to have to agree with you, but California is no longer viable for the average person who has awakened to political realities. Is that too vague? Okay - if you're not Mexican you had better either leave or learn how to shoot. Fortunately I have already planned the former and learned the latter. One good economic hiccup and this state is done.

If I promise not to act like a California leftist, can I try NC?

Posted by: Velvet Hammer [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 19, 2005 01:03 AM