Monday, September 2, 2013

Check-In from Cola!

Hi everyone! It’s your resident Pinterest addict here – Amanda! While Kali is away getting bronzed on the beach, she asked me to guest blog and catch you up on the fun that is living in the South, specifically Columbia, SC (Cola as the locals call it).

I moved here officially 6 months ago and those 6 months have flown by! For those of you who are new to the blog, I took a job with the University of South Carolina Volleyball Program and as a result, my boyfriend and I packed up and moved our lives to Columbia. (Shout out to Kyle for not blinking at all when I asked him to come with me!) It was/is totally unchartered territory as we knew no one but both of us are very outgoing people so we weren't too concerned with that aspect of it. I was born and raised in Kentucky and Kyle in Ohio and neither of us have lived outside of that area so this was a huge leap of faith for the two of us. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that one of my life goals was to move outside of Kentucky and experience life somewhere else. That was always so important to me and now that I had the opportunity to do so, I was scared but extremely excited.

So, fast forward to now – we have an awesome apartment, made some great friends, starting to get plugged in to the community and learning our new jobs! But I’m not going to lie, there have been some bumps and bruises along the way! I’d thought I’d share some things I’ve learned so far in this journey; from a new job, a new city, things about myself, things about living with a boy, etc. Probably nothing earth-shattering but who doesn’t love a little introspective read every now and then? J

1.    Don’t be afraid to do something that seems scary!

Let’s be honest – doing something outside of your comfort zone is well, uncomfortable. But pushing yourself to do things you never thought yourself capable of can potentially turn into the best decision you could make! I never imagined I could live this far away from ALL my family and friends but fortunately, my family and friends are amazing and have been super supportive! They have encouraged, laughed, cheered, hugged, etc. Kyle and I through it all!

2.    Try not to compare the new to the familiar old

I still struggle with this as I absolutely love Lexington, KY (where Kyle and I met/lived before we moved here). I find myself saying, “Oh! This restaurant reminds me of ___” or “Kyle! Doesn’t this bar remind you of _____”. Or even, “Man, I wish Columbia had _____ like Lexington did”. Lexington will always be special to me for a multitude of reasons. But I’m learning to embrace the uniqueness, size, culture and everything about Columbia! I feel it’s important to embrace the exciting things that come with a new city instead of trying to have it live up to a city your heart will always be in.

3.    It’s okay to cry and miss home! That’s what makes it home!

My first couple of months here were really hard. I mean, really hard. Ask Kali as she was ‘fortunate’ to get tearful texts/phone calls/g-chats. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed my old coworkers. The list could go on. I felt inadequate and like I didn’t fit in. I seriously felt as if my parents had moved when I was 16 and I had to transfer to a new high school. I would just start crying when I would start thinking about everything. Was I going to succeed at my job? Would Kyle like it here? Would I like it here? Would my new coworkers like me? Would I thrive here like I did in Lexington? Once the ‘shiny’ wore off from first moving, I was completely overwhelmed. An example of how emotionally unstable I was: It was Easter and I really wanted to go to church. It was a ‘normal’ for me – I always went to church with my parents and it was something special for me on Easter. Kyle and I had picked out a church to go to and what happens, I completely overslept. And I do not oversleep – I’m always awake by 7:30-8:00 a.m. on weekends. I got really upset that we missed it, which snowballed into being sad about missing my family Easter party, which snowballed into being completely homesick.

As I learned to become patient (not really one of my strong suites), things worked themselves out. My coworkers are great and my job is going so well. Kyle and I both really like it here and have started to develop “our spots” in town. Of course I still miss home but would that be normal if I didn’t? Adjustments are hard! What I went through is totally normal. There will definitely be times where I’ll feel sadder than others that I’m away, but now, we have an awesome new place to show our friends and we’re so proud to call it ours! And we’re 90 minutes from Charleston!

4.    I am stronger than I ever thought I was.

This pretty much echoes the thought above but you need to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes and I have for sure done that since I made this move. My parents raised me to be a strong, independent woman and I have put that to the test. That message has been my mantra and I am so proud of what I have accomplished with that in mind.

5.    Adjusting to living with a guy was easier than adjusting to a new city!

(Author’s Note: I am open to all thoughts on living together before marriage! In my eyes, neither is right or wrong!)

So as I mentioned, my boyfriend Kyle, moved to Columbia with me. And as I also mentioned, he didn’t blink when I asked him to do so. He tells me, “It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make.” But that means we were taking the next step in our relationship – moving in together! Before we moved, we had talked about moving in together in the summer. Once I got this job, we had to fast forward that plan a bit. The process was not like others; we didn’t get to browse a bunch of places together, pick the ideal location, etc. Rather it was, “Ok, here is our budget, find something that you could afford until I get a job (which he was fortunate to get before we got down here but we didn’t know that then), and use your gut on the location.” When I called places to set up tours, my speech was, “Hi! I’m Amanda; I’m moving next week and need to look at places that are available for move in immediately.”  Convenient, right? [Note: Kyle didn’t move down until about 2 weeks after I did] So I had a list the volleyball staff had recommended, crossed some off based on budget, and set up appointments with 3 places. I picked what I thought would be best for us and signed on the dotted line! We were more or less living together in Lexington but we were going back and forth all the time between my apartment and the house he lived in with two other guys. Once we got everything moved in and we could breathe, it all came so naturally. In my opinion, one of our best assets is our communication with each other so that prevents a ton of issues. Thankfully, he’s a really clean guy so I don’t have to worry about his underwear being everywhere or him junking up the bathroom or whatever. I cook, he cleans – that’s our deal. Everyone’s experience with this is different but ours so far has been great! And haven’t I been super honest up to this point? I would tell you if there have been major issues! Sure, he got mad when I was incessantly trying to wake him up early on a Saturday because I was awake. Or I got frustrated when he was being extremely indecisive about something. But who wouldn’t get frustrated on both accounts? To sum it up, don’t let the little things bother you OR talk about the little things so they don’t become a big thing, make sure it stays a relationship between boyfriend and girlfriend and not roommates and appreciate their quirks that you learn from living together!

I’ll wrap it up there J This has become quite wordy but I have just learned so much in my short time here that I was excited to share with you! And when I get excited about something, I tend to share in excess!

I’m sure I’ll be back around for more insight into our lives here but feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ALBrungs) in the meantime! I would love to hear your thoughts on a similar life journey so comment below!

And for your viewing pleasure, this is Kyle, trying to show off his volleyball ‘skills’:

Thanks for reading and catch you again soon!


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  1. your are exactly the woman your parents raised you to be...and I love you! Onward! :-)
    Aunt Joan

  2. Hey Amanda! I live in Augusta, GA, so we are practically neighbors! We're in Cola frequently. We should meet for a drink sometime! Hope you're adjusting to our blazing heat! Gonna follow you on Twitter. Karen


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