November 5, 2012
I leave for Mississippi in less than two weeks, and it still doesn’t feel real. The future is a fuzzy picture painted in my mind, and it looks belongs in somebody else’s life. I don’t think the reality of my plans will sink in until I’ve been there for at least a week. That being said, there are a few things I have done to prepare myself for the move as best as possible.
First is the physical preparation. I hit the gym six days a week and had it all filmed for a movie montage: weights, boxing, jump rope, and lots of sweat. Just kidding. Actually, I spent six days cleaning the junk out of my bedroom and decided what to bring with me to Mississippi and what to toss once and for all. This unfortunately still involved lots of sweat. I’ve moved eight times in the past two years, and my parents are divorced, so I have two bedrooms at home… there was a lot to go through!
Eight backs of trash, a few trips to the store, and hours of sorting later, I was left with a rather large pile of things I just couldn’t live in Mississippi without. This included a tv for our living room, dishes for the kitchen, and a shower curtain for my bathroom. Even a furnished apartment doesn’t come with everything, and I wanted to save money by bringing old pieces from home whenever possible. Add two laundry baskets full of clothes, three bags full of bedding, a book shelf, a mirror, a chair, and a fair share of decorations, and you can see how big the pile really was.
I was confident I could squeeze it all in, but my dad made me pack the car in a test run to be sure. I was so relieved to see each box fall magically in place in my trunk or backseat. There was just enough room up front for my friend Jess to keep me company on the ride down. I hope she brings a small suitcase!
Which brings me to the mental preparation. I am driving down to school, and I think that in itself is already a good start to understanding the grandeur of my move. I’m not going to jump on a plane and get off somewhere new four hours later. I am going to take my time to see the scenery change around me, leaving the past behind and moving on to something new.
Thankfully, I will not have to complete the 17 hour drive by myself. Like I said, Jess will be coming with me. We’re going to make a road trip out of it! We’re still in the planning phase, but highlights should include stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway and some time in Nashville. From there, she’ll fly home and I’ll power through the last leg of the drive alone.
I am planning to buy an audiobook to keep me company after Jess and I part ways. I’m looking for something suspenseful that takes place in the South, to help get me excited about the new culture I’m about to be sucked into. I’ve also started watching tv shows and movies that take place in the South. I know it isn’t an accurate depiction… but Hollywood does make it seem kind of romantic down there.
Despite the draw of southern charm, I will miss my life up North. I’ve been spending my last few precious days with friends and family. Saying goodbye will be the hardest part of all!
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently attending graduate school for broadcast meteorology.