Monday will mark 7 months in Charleston! I go back and forth: some days it feels like I’ve been here for ages, other days I feel like it’s only been a few months. And on other days I feel like I’m on an extended trip and think I’m going back to my Brooklyn apartment. I have been reflecting on this more as (if you’ve been here a while), you know that around this time last year, my sister (and her family) and I moved to Charleston for 6 weeks. The purpose of that move was to be able to spend the holidays with my family as safely as possible, but it was also a trial move in a way.
At the end of the six weeks both my sister and I decided we wanted to make Charleston a more permanent move, and on my third to last day, I put in an application on an apartment! It all felt so surreal (and a little bit crazy) at the time. If I am being honest, sometimes it still does. I miss New York (and my friends there) every day but all in all, I am really glad I made the move. Today I wanted to share a few thoughts/observations I’ve had.
7 Months in Charleston
Living near your family is everything.
Since I don’t have a husband and kids or your typical “family unit,” being near my parents (and just like in Brooklyn: my sister and her little family) has been so good for me. I love that my mom and I can get coffee in the middle of the day, that we could all celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary together this week, that we’ll all be together for my niece’s third birthday party tomorrow, and that we can have family dinners at least once a week. Even with a lot of travel it makes me feel more anchored? It’s really meaningful to me and something I feel grateful for every day. I love Charleston and I definitely moved here for other reasons and a better quality of life but that was far and away my number one reason for moving. It has been the absolute best thing in the world.
I’ve made some really meaningful friendships.
From a having friends perspective, this move was a breeze. I probably would have been much more nervous about the move if that were not the case. I already had one friend group (friends I’d made in New York years ago that had moved down here before I did) and two close girlfriends in the influencer world and some acquaintances in the space (local business owners and publicists). Plus my family! Between family dinners, work events, and hangouts with my friends I sometimes think I’m busier here than I was in New York.
But what I did not expect was to make even more new friends. Close friends that I talk to every day or at least a few times a week. People here are really friendly, that is a given. But I think I (very wrongly) had worried that people would be fake and kind of thought that any new friendships I made would be more surface level relationships. I had thought I wouldn’t talk about the bigger more serious stuff and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Politics, relationships, big life dreams and goals… those things are all on the table. The kind of friends who bring you soup when you are sick, who remember little details, who aren’t afraid to ask if you’re really okay. It is unexpected feel so thankful for that.
The creative community in Charleston is incredible.
Obviously New York has an amazing creative scene but the creative community here is pretty bonkers considering how much smaller Charleston is. Artists, designers, local businesses, interior designers, I could go on and on. Every time I go to a dinner or an event I meet someone amazing doing something cool and different. The community is amazing and I really, really love how the women here go out of there way to support each other. There’s also a huge amount of transplants. I’ve met so many fellow former New Yorkers!
Events, etc. are a much bigger deal but there are less of them.
Events and networking are a big part of my job, for better or worse. I am a social introvert so it’s something I’ve always struggled with – I need nights off and alone time. Back in New York there were more events than actual time and sometimes I would go to four things in a night. Drive-by’s were totally acceptable… showing your face, taking a picture, having a sip of champagne and moving on. Here, stopping by would not really fly. But what I love is that I will have maybe one or two work events in a week and they’re much more special and intimate. A seated dinner, a salon style conversation/Q&A in someone’s home. But they go long… I don’t have as many events as I did in New York but have learned to clear my night when I do have one!
Everyone dresses up and I love it.
My least favorite thing (I don’t know why I get defensive about this but I do!) is when people tell me that my style has changed since moving to Charleston. It hasn’t! I’ve always preferred dresses and kaftans and bold colors… my style is just more at home here. I love my big dresses and big jewelry. And I have some neutral pieces but bright colors and prints bring me so much joy.
I think from a style perspective, I actually fit in better here than I did in New York. (Especially since the demise of skinny jeans has left me a little confused about what’s “cool.” I don’t have to worry about what’s cool, I just throw on a big dress and some fun jewelry I am good to go. My style is probably more suited to garden parties and porch hangs than fancy store openings, fashion parties, and edgier art shows.
I’m still not driving.
I will, eventually. The roads are safer without me, though! I was voted worst driver of my graduating class and truly have no desire to drive but do know that I need to get my license at some point. A friend gave me a recommendation for a driving school for adults (apparently this is a widespread thing with more adults who can’t drive moving here from larger cities) and I’m going to get my license and a car at some point but it really isn’t top priority. I walk most places, get a ride with a friend/family member, or take an Uber. It really is not a big deal at all if you live downtown.