This is when *it* gets real...

So we found a place to live and grow more and more excited about it as the moments pass. Of course we didn't measure anything and the square footage is missing from the details listed online, so we attempted to draw a floor plan from memory. This was our best one, drawn in the Atlanta airport on our way home yesterday I added some words in pink to help you navigate:

Drawing not to scale

Now *it* gest real, if you know what I mean. Condensing from two houses to a ONE bedroom apartment might be the most challenging part of this whole ordeal actually, taking Kudzu to Mass via plane might top this challenge, stay tuned.

Markus asked me before I accepted the position if I was "prepared to live under one roof" with him "without a Stopher or a Ben to call" to come get him when I'm tired of him and need him to get out of the house. My response was, "Markus, whether we live in Hattiesburg, MS or Timbuktu, living together is going to be a challenge for both of us".

Deciding which furniture to take, where to put things in the apt, merging styles...yikes!

Nevertheless we're just happy and excited to have a new place, and to begin our life together awwww.


Our "Ye Ol'" resting place

We found a place to live in Northampton! Assuming our application goes through, we'll hopefully hear at the end of this week. Being home-owners ourselves the rental agency ladies were quite positive about assuring our probability, so I'm going to go ahead and write this blog about our new apartment. 

Want to see a picture?

That's us, to the right of the Ye Ol' Watering Hole sign with the AC unit hanging out the window (not that we'll need it where we're going!).

The white door to the right of the awnings is the door that leads to our staircase, to our apt door! There's also a back entrance that brings you up a wooden staircase and deck-landing, that door brings you right in to our kitchen. We'll have a parking spot and perhaps most importantly, the snow will be removed for us!

It's small. The leasing information lists 6 rooms but even as we tried to stretch it we only counted 5. We'll have to condense a lot, and get creative with the space, but nevertheless we are falling more and more in love with our new home and can't wait to settle in.

What's there to love about it, you ask?

Here are 10 reasons to begin with:

  1. The apartment is above Northampton Coffee, Beehive Sewing, The Oxbow Gallery and Ye Ol' Watering Hole. Huzzah!
  2. It has hardwood floors throughout, except in the kitchen.
  3. We are a 7 minute walk from my office - either through town or via the rails-to-trails path that spans several states. 
  4. We are two minutes from I-95 which Markus will take to Bradley airport in CT another state I can't quite spell out perfectly yet.
  5. There's a rails-to-trails path opening literally next to our building. 
  6. We are minutes from the Iron Horse Music Hall where we just discovered our favorite MS band, Rosco Bandana will be playing July 26! and Calvin Theatre.
  7. Go Berry is down the street. It's ah-mazing. And we already have our favorite brunch spot selected: Sylvester's
  8. In addition to that local treat which we had twice during this 24 hour visit there are over 92 restaurants in Noho and a diverse cuisine - burger places, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, sushi, tapas, a raw bar, Italian, Mexican, and from what we've seen, pretty much everything is locally grown! 
  9. Not only is Ye Ol' Watering Hole an awesome dive bar, it's also a beer can museum over 4,000 beer cans on display and the owner seems like a great guy, he was very friendly and told us all about the establishment, the area, the crowd that visits the bar (read: it sounds like we'll fit right in). 
  10. We won't be "house poor". It costs half as much as any other place we looked at.
Here are some more photos:


Is moving to Massachusetts stressful?

I spent my life moving around as a child. Every 4 years or so. When we moved back then it wasn't just up the street, it was to another country. 

As a kid, mom and dad took care of all the details. My sister and I were given decision-making power when it came to our toys and things - what to keep, what to sell or give-away.

As a responsible adult, "familiar with" moving, and only planning to move UP this country, the move to Noho, MA should be pretty simple...right?

Only this time I'm not just moving myself. Remember to factor in that I'm moving a cat who despises being in her crate and a fiancée. A fiancée with a fully furnished four bedroom house. And remember, I have a house, too.

Just stopping here to breath, thinking about the logistics and what needs to happen, you might think it's a good place to "stress out". Just the fact that there are two households is one thing. But fiancée equals even more life changes approaching. It also means wedding planning from a distance. Girl, are you crazy? No. I'm not.

And furthermore, NO! No, there is no reason to "stress out". Ever. Yes I know I stress from time to time but hear me out. I've decided the only thing that stresses people out is themselves and their decision to react that way. There's no reason for it at all. What good will it do? Choose to work it out. Stop. Think. And I mean that, you can't run away from it, you can't turn it off, you must think (and often times talk) things through.

So, the fact that there is a very large move coming up, the fact that there are two households to move, the fact that animals are involved, the fact that it will take 3 days on the road, the fact that Markus travels every week for work and has no time to call his own between work and volunteer positions and my talking his ear off about "planning" and all I want to do is take care of everything for everyone so no one has to stress about anything...

Take a breath. I'm talking to you, this isn't me telling myself to breathe, it's for you. You're welcome.

All of those facts/things/thoughts COULD cause reason for a mental breakdown. But what would that accomplish? All of those things COULD case reason for short tempers and snarky conversations. But that's a choice you make.

Additionally, I've decided that when people expect this sort of behavior because after all, how can one NOT be stressed by all of those seemingly stressful things? they look for you to be short, snarky and irritable. They ask leading questions assuming that can only be the case and you reaction can only be that of a stressed-out-person. This is irritating. Stop it. Instead of assuming one can only be having an awful time with an exciting and positive life adventure such as this, how about asking your question with a positive spin?

People move. Life happens. Things change. And your point is?

  • We don't have a place to live. 
  • We don't have enough time to say goodbye properly, with parties.
  • Markus has to sell a house and yes you should inquire about it, it's beautiful and perfectly located in Ocean Springs, MS.
  • My cat HATES to travel.
  • Markus has no time to pack.
  • There's a chance we won't get to move all our "stuff" until the end of July and I may have to live with people without my "stuff" for several weeks. 
  • It's going to be cold where we are going.
  • We don't know anyone. That's not entirely true.
  • Blah blah blah-dy-flippity-da!

Again, your point is?

No, I don't know how all of it is going to work yet, but that's OKay and somewhat thrilling. I know, I know, heaven forbid Jessica Lamb doesn't have a plan!? Part of what makes me great at what I do PS: my job basically deals with planning international moves, albeit weeks at a time is my ability to remain calm, to talk things out, to think foreword before "the stress" has a chance to wrap it's wretchedness around my productivity and need for efficiency. Do I make things harder for myself sometimes? Yes - that stresses me out but it's my own fault, no one else's... read: I have a huge problem asking for, and accepting, help. It makes me feel weak.

  • We have flights booked to BDL to spend just over 24 hours in Noho looking for a place to live this Sunday-Monday. We have a rental car and a hotel room booked, too, ALL for under $500 thanks to Markus' frequent flyer miles and the transfer of my remaining few thousand to his account.
  • I have sold my couch, love seat, dining room table and chairs, a chiminea, and several other odds and ends to help cover these exploration expenses. 
  • We're not saying "goodbye", it's "see you later" and we'll be back!
  • Kudzu can and will be drugged.
  • I lived out of a suitcase for 5 months in a row as an ADPi consultant, what's four weeks out of the rest of my life?
Is moving to Massachusetts stressful? PS: I spelled it right the first time, this time. Well, that depends on how you choose to look at it.

For me? Personally? No.

The things I "stress" about usually revolve around those around me:

  • Will my fiancée divorce me before we're even married because of this monkey-wrench that's now thrown into our life-plan right after he started a new job and in the middle of his busy travel season?
  • Will I accidentally give Kudzu too many drugs?
  • Are my future parents-in-law still excited I said "yes"?
  • Will my friends be able to handle my absence? I realize how cocky, self-important and big-headed that sounds, but I have some REALLY good friends and they mean THE WORLD to me, and we are equally good to each other! Don't think for one minute I won't miss them, but this is what I do, I come and go, I always have. That doesn't mean it's easy. I hate missing out on life events. Hate it. But Markus and I will go and make our own life events. And I will blog about everything. 
  • Are my parents really excited to drive all that way? Or do they just feel obligated to help?
Lard-haf-mercy someone could really find moving stressful! But right now and thank God I'm so stubborn I refuse to. 

And think about this: the biggest contributor to my confidence in being able to handle this is YOU. My support system. Friends. Family. Randoms-who-stumble-upon-my-blog-and-cheer-me-on. Duh! Get excited. There are only rediculously-awesome stories to come and I can. not. wait. to share them!



Taste teaser...

For those of you who haven't noticed the mississippi women bloggers button over to the bottom right of this page, I recently contributed to a Foodie Friday post.

You can take the girl out of the third world, but you can't take the third world out of the girl!

Have a taste.


New beginnings...

You may think this post has to do with a wedding. Weddings are all about new beginnings, and there is one approaching, after all.

But that's not why I am writing today. This post has nothing to do with a wedding.

I'm moving. To Massachusettes. Massacheusetts. Massachusetts. I'll learn to spell it soon enough.


That's right. Northampton, MA to be exact. Or NoHo. And contrary to the email I sent friends and family, it is NOT South of Boston and NYC. It is west of Boston and North of NYC. I will also learn my geography of the area soon enough. Geeze, give me major cities in any other country and I'm fine. 

I accepted a position with a study abroad provider and I will be working within their customized programs division. Read: planning, logistics, communicating, and international travel. All things I love to do!

Before you overwhelm me with questions, allow me to share the conversation I just had with my Bebe (grandmother):

Hey Bebe, what'cha doin?


Hey Beeb, can you hear me?

Oh, yes, I can hear you. 

You been napping?

No, I'm not doing much of anything, just sittin'.

Did you work in the garden today?

No, I was at bible school all day

Oh, okay, well...Bebe, I'm callin' because I have some news to share with you.


I have a new a job.


It's close to Elliot [Elliot, cousin, lives in NYC]

Close to Elliot? Where close to Elliot? 


Who is this?

It's Jessica!

Jessica? You have a new job?


In Massachusetts?

Yes...[silence]...I'm really excited.

Lard lard, what part? 


At a college?

No. With a company.

When do you go?


July?! This July!?

Yes. But I probably won't move up until August with all my stuff. Daddy will drive me up.

Well why didn't you go a little far off?
I wondered why I didn't hear from you recently.
Now I know.
My my.

There have been several other conversations somewhat similar. People are shocked, surprised, excited, confused, sad, so many emotions! And these emotions are not unbeknownst to me.

For now I will just say this - YES, it has come together quite quickly. But this is not something I just started thinking about - come on folks, I think through things before most even realize it's something to think about. And it is not a decision I made alone. To put it plainly, I have been talking to this company since October about possibilities, not ever thinking something would actually work out. Not really thinking I would ever actually leave Hattiesburg. And then, that thought terrified me, never leave? Get out now!

The job I accepted isn't even the one I interviewed for, it's even better suited for me! I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't certain it was the right thing to do; if I didn't have the love and support of my handsome and amazing fiancée whom I cannot wait to have this adventure with; if I didn't know hands down it is the perfect time to make a move even if it's the worst time in some ways too - there's NEVER a GOOD time!; if I didn't know the encouragement, congratulations, support would overwhelmingly flow our direction and that's what gets people through life events like these.

There are already so many stories to share and they will come in due time.

And don't worry, there will be posts related to a wedding, too, eventually...as the planning continues from a distance.