A lot of people ask us how we wound up living in North Carolina even though our families and most of our friends live in Connecticut. Well... it's a funny story...
About three months after we started dating I told Matt I was applying to a PhD program in North Carolina. It was the only school I was applying for but I was determined to get out of Connecticut and try something new. By the spring I got the news that I had not been accepted. Instead of doing what many people would do and just apply for the fall or apply to other schools, I decided I was going to go anyway. It didn't take any convincing- Matt was ready to live somewhere else too. So why not NC?
- We had both only been to the state once years before.
- We had no family.
- We had no friends.
- We had no idea about what the towns were like.
- We had only been dating a few months.
- We didn't have jobs lined up.
- We were UCONN fans.
Those were just a few of the reasons we thought through, or that our family/friends reminded us of. But that didn't stop us. This picture was taken just minutes after finding out we were approved for a lease on an apartment in Carrboro, North Carolina. It was a town we had never heard of or seen before. We felt safe being close to the Research Triangle (Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham) and didn't worry at all about our ability to find employment. We just knew we were going on a new journey- just the two of us.
We sold almost everything! We drove a caravan of three cars down, us driving separately and Matt's parents following in their SUV. We arrived on August 31st. It was so hot, and I remember how thankful we were to finally turn on the AC and shut the door once we finished unloading the cars.
We had our first meal in the house that night... sitting at the coffee table Matt made.
The first night we went out around 10pm to find the top to a hutch cabinet listed on Craigslist free. Within a day Matt and his dad, Bob had turned it into the picture below. Our first Simply Pallets piece in North Carolina (we sold it a year later when we moved into the tiny house)!
With his parents help we had everything moved in, and even managed to get some furniture. Their greatest assist came without anyone even knowing it would happen! While out exploring on their own one day they came across a coffee shop down the road, the "local hang out". They told us about it and we mostly dismissed it at that point, but it becomes important later.
Once the family left we were alone to explore Carrboro ourselves. And what a town it is! We had no idea we had just moved into a small town that was more supportive of local art, music, and food than any place we had ever been before. By the end of our first week we had already enjoyed music on the lawn, watched Dancing Bruce, and participated in our first (and last) drum circle!
Within a few weeks we started to get nervous about the fact that the jobs weren't coming as quickly as we thought. We made the decision to delve into Etsy and try to make our two month old hobby into something that could get us through the unemployment period. We turned our second bedroom into an art studio with tarps lining the walls so we could get work done. Somehow Matt even managed to dismantle pallets and build canvases on our 5' x 7' deck. Thank God for nice neighbors and an incredibly understanding property manager!
This is where the coffee shop comes in! It turns out it was a little blue house called "Johnny's Gone Fishing". It is a little place full of amazing people. They have specialty coffees, biscuits, ice cream, etc. More importantly- they sell local art! After speaking to the Barista we were referred to the manager of the store, and we met the next day. Within another week we were officially for sale on consignment- for the first time ever!From there, the rest is history. We sold Christmas trees out of the coffee shop that winter, but from that point on we were established on Etsy and no longer had to look for regular jobs.
We look back at this time with a lot of happiness, and sometimes disbelief. It all seemed so obvious at the time, but now we get why people thought we were crazy to make the move and then to pursue our non-existent Etsy shop. On the flip side, there is no doubt that we made the right choice, and we are so thankful for everyone who has helped us along the way.
After the apartment we started life in the tiny house! Learn more about that here.