It’s been seven months since I moved to Tampa, and I’ve wanted to do a follow-up post to my initial post about how tough this move was for me. As many of you may remember, this move waged a war within me. I cried so much during my first month in Tampa, even though I moved in with one of my best friends and didn’t exactly move to an entirely different place. But it was still a change and a shakeup to my life as I had known it, and it took a really long time for me to feel comfortable.
So, how do I feel now, after seven months?
I feel good, settled, and happy with my living situation. But I don’t feel home.
Contradictory opinions, you would say. Let me explain.
First of all, I love living with Roomie. She is one of my favorite people to be around, and living together has only strengthened our friendship. We are very similar in so many ways, like the fact that we’re both grandmas who treasure going to bed early. We’re also both neat freaks so our apartment is usually spotless and we never have dishes piling up in the sink (we’re both the “clean as you go” type of people). We’re also very dissimilar in that she has a very active social life and rarely has a night or weekend with no plans. She’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert, but she can appreciate my hermit-y ways and gives me space when I need it.
I’m so very, very glad we made the decision to move in together. It has been the greatest joy being her roommate for the past seven months.
I love our apartment. It’s spacious and beautiful and has so many amenities. We are paying a pretty penny for it, but I place a high value on living in a beautiful home, so it’s worth it to me. I also rarely ever feel unsafe here, even the nights I’m outside with Dutch at 3am! I like that because, in my old apartment, I had a lot of anxiety and fear when I was home alone at night.
I love that I am so close to work, that I can come home every day at lunch to walk Dutch, and that I can easily make plans with friends after work to explore all the foodie spots around South Tampa.
But do I love South Tampa? Well, not really. I actually really, really miss living in St. Petersburg. I still feel more at home in St. Pete than I ever do in Tampa. I drive over to bridge multiple times every weekend because that’s where my mom is and my friends are. I still feel very, very connected to St. Pete and a bit out of place in Tampa.
South Tampa is a very “cool” place to live because there are so many restaurants popping up and fun things to do. I haven’t explored it as much as I should, and I still have to use my GPS constantly, no matter where I want to go. I’ve yet to take a walk down Bayshore or the Riverwalk or Curtis Hixon. I haven’t been to half the restaurants people have told me to visit. I want to, but I haven’t really made exploring this area a priority like I should.
Probably because I know my time in Tampa is temporary. I know I will move back to St. Pete eventually. Probably not this year, maybe not even the following one, but soon enough. St. Petersburg is where my soul belongs.
But, even knowing South Tampa isn’t the right fit and that I want to move back to St. Pete someday, I’m glad for this experience. I’m glad I’m living in this area with Roomie. And I’m glad for the lessons I’m learning during this time in my life.
Adjusting to this new living situation was hard and I had to give myself buckets and buckets of grace to make it through that time. So, it feels really, really good to be in this place – this contentment with who I am and what my life looks like and where I live. I wish I didn’t have to go through hell to get here, but I am so very glad I am here.