Updated: Nov 17
A couple of months ago, my family left our city of 26 years and home of 18. We moved into a house we had never set foot in. In a state we had never lived in.
In fact, the first time we saw our new home/neighborhood/town in person was the day we pulled up to unload the moving truck. Which is hands-down the craziest thing I've ever done in my cautious, calculated life!
As the newest, newbie in Georgia, I am hardly qualified to give my opinion of the state. Or perhaps, as an objective perspective, I am the perfect person for the task!
Let's go with the latter, shall we?
What We Love #1 : Our New Home
Y'all I know the real estate market has recently achieved whole new levels of crazy. With prices and interest rates and the race to find a place before it disappears, we only had 3 good houses in our price range to pick from at the time of our move. No joke.
But let me tell you! The amount we purchased our home for in Buford, GA was the same amount we sold our home for in Asheville, NC. And the house and yard we got? Holy guacamole, party people!
In NC, our family of four lived in 1000 square feet on a lot the size of a postage stamp with 7 closets for storage. Total. Meaning no attic, no basement, no garage, no storage shed, no useful crawl space. It was a great little house, but storage was a challenge, let me tell you.
In GA, we now live in a house twice the size featuring a humongous yard and a magical room called a “garage” where cars apparently sleep at night. Ours is narrow, so currently only my car resides in there.
Granted, we still have a long list of aesthetic improvements we are excited to make to our new place. And the numerous plumbing issues/electrical issues/rodent issues (“I'm sorry. What do you mean I have BATS living in my attic?!?”) have made our first months a challenge to be sure. But with each day, this place is feeling more and more like home. Which probably has a lot to do with What We Love #2!
What We Love #2: Our New Community
People. Whether they are our neighbors, classmates, or fellow-church-attenders, everybody was a stranger.
No matter how old you are, and I believe sometimes because of how old you are, making new friends is hard. And super awkward.
“Hi-ee lady my age-ish who is walking her dog and baby around my new neighborhood! You don't know me, but can I go for a walk with you sometime?!?!... Maybe?... Please?...”
But most folks, including the aforementioned lady my age-ish, have been incredibly welcoming. From various neighbors showing up at my doorstep with tomatoes and eggs and baked goods, to the schools' office staff memorizing my kiddos names after only meeting them once, to church peeps helping us assemble ridiculously cumbersome furniture items, it has been overwhelmingly positive.
Well, except for that lady behind me in the car rider pickup line on the first day of school. I have never experienced anything quite like you before. Which brings me to What We Love #3!
What We Love #3: Our New Experiences
Since we just moved and are navigating the delights of a new mortgage and necessary house repairs (Goodbye, bats!), when I say experiences I primarily mean free and local.
So in the spirit of sticking to the number 3 and a snazzy rhyme scheme, here are my:
Top Three Free Places to Be In Gwinnett Count-y
Apart from the fact that this place feels wonderful - like the best old-school “Barnes and Noble” complete with reading nooks and actual customers - it is visually lovely.
But best of all: they have the most amazing self-checkout experience! I know I am an old lady technology-wise, but I am 99% sure they use voodoo magic for this.
You scan you library card. You put all your books – ALL of them – on the platform beneath the scanner, and the tiny magician that lives inside checks them all out at one time.
“You're a wizard, Harry.”
First of all, the name is so stinkin' adorable! But seriously. Best playground. Best walking/riding paths around the lake. Best. Hidden. Dinosaur. Which I understand is a feature of several Gwinnett County Parks. Although a Pterodactyl is not technically a dinosaur. But we shall let it slide. This time.
And speaking of dinosaurs...
Yup. Dino on the roof. Which is pretty great. But there are several other things that make this place an unexpected delight.
There is the small but mighty kid's exhibit on water hidden on the inside. We could have spent hours there. But even more extraordinary is the methinks-we-may-have-unintentionally-stumbled-into-Jurassic-Park feeling you get while exploring the water features outside. There is something about the pools of plants and turtles that makes it feel other-worldly. And downhill is the historical Chesser-Williams House, which left my native New Englander heart longing for a docent-lead tour.
So there you have it, Friends! The best things about Georgia so far have been our new home, our new people, and our new experiences. Which no doubt will become more expansive as we settle in and explore more. I welcome all of it!
Well. Except for that one lady in the car rider pickup line. She can go the way of the dinosaur.*
*P.S. I don't mean she should go extinct!
I mean she should go live on the island at Little Mulberry Park.
Far, far away from the traffic.