Won’t you be my neighbor?

Having just moved to a new town in North Carolina and becoming an *official* practitioner of housewifery – complete with baby bump AND a daily-used KitchenAide – I have had to recalibrate many aspects of my life. Not working a typical job is a big one, but I’m not complaining because my husband is beyond awesome and always makes me feel gratified for the things I do around the homestead. Yesterday I made him Pretend Bibimbap, which consisted of rice, sesame oil, an egg, and some zucchini and he indulgently said, “I’m back in Korea!” No, sweetie, you’re not; that’s like eating a pepperoni Hot Pocket and saying you’re back in Napoli. Thanks for the appreciation, though.

But no matter how awesome B is, I need some female pals. I mean, I’m pregnant in a town where we have no family and no one I can really talk face-to-face with about Bebe and pregnancy and everything else going on. The blogosphere and social networking sites are good to a certain degree in making you feel a part of a kind of community, but you sometimes just need a face to talk to.

So. Making friends in Fayetteville. Humph.

My mobility is decidedly limited because we have only one car and public transportation doesn’t service where we live. This means that on Mondays and Wednesdays, when B is at work literally ALL DAY, I am essentially stuck at home. That is, unless I want to walk across the street to the local middle school and creepily troll the schoolyard for lonely twelve year olds or walk to the nearby CVS and buy M&Ms for $4.

Err, just to clarify, I don’t want to.

“Why don’t you just drive him to work and have the car all day, then?”, you may ask. Let me stress the rural-ness of where we live. B commutes 45-55 minutes each way to his place of work, a college smack dab in the center of the next county over. When we were shopping around for our NC homestead, we totally ruled out the option of living close to his school because it is seriously Mayberry without the charm. Seriously. On his way to work each day, B drives past several of the negative-example “Food Inc.” locations. No joke.

We chose to live in Fayetteville, which at least offers some variety outside of Walmart. So, if I drove him, that would be at least three and a half hours of me in a car, two days a week. So, no. Not doing that.

It’s hard for us to get together with B’s coworkers and form relationships with them. Many of his colleagues at the school are in the same boat as we are in that they live in more full-service towns within an hour from the school instead of the school’s town itself. But they live in the opposite direction as us, such as in Wilmington. Wap-waaaaah.

I tried the whole Meetup thing online, but most of the groups I was interested in joining either met in the morning when I don’t have access to the car, met in the evening which is Married Time (and I like to keep it that way), or set up outings that were out of my price point.

What’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you: grow a backbone, stop making excuses, talk to strangers, and make some friends.

And that’s exactly what I think I may’ve done!

Yesterday I hit up Target for all the after-Halloween markdowns. I was browsing some Halloween-themed nutcrackers (for the schizophrenic holiday lovers in all of us) and I spotted a lady with an infant wrapped cozily in a pretty moby. I think, What the heck, and ask her about it. We ended up talking shop (ie, pregnancy, babies, Fayetteville, the difficulty of making friends as a grown up) for nearly thirty minutes, surrounded by bags upon bags of fake cobwebs. And it was so nice. We ended up exchanging information and promising to get together soon for coffee or lunch.

I should’ve guessed that Target would be prime territory for spotting that very elusive thing: a possible friendship candidate for a woman in her late twenties. But I could not have guessed how¬†exhilarated I would feel throughout the rest of the day simply because I had a face-to-face conversation with a person other than my husband or a salesperson. Imagine that. People actually need each other.

I keep asking myself, Is it lame that I just blogged about how happy I am to have met a stranger at Target who has the potential to become a friend?

I’ve concluded that I don’t really care. If it’s lame to feel happiness in the small things, I am one contented geek.

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15 comments

  1. Hurray! Eric and I are going to Target tonight, so maybe we will make some friends too:)

    1. Be sure to buy up all the clearance Halloween stuff ;)

  2. I totally get how you feel! We live in a super small town (really, population is like, 60) in the middle of nowhere, where everyone knows everyone else but nobody is friendly and nobody is our age. I run up our phone bill by spending hours talking to my best friend or my sister, but it would be so fantastic to have someone to sit on the sofa with and talk to face to face.

    On another note, I once lived in Fayetteville for a few months when I was 18. Pretty area outside the city, though I always felt like there were too many trees. Anyway, hope you like it there :)

    1. I feel you! Fayetteville is just straight OK. It could be better, but it could be A LOT worse. We usually make it over to Raleigh a couple times a month just to break up the monotony.

      Also, the best thing ever for saving on long distance is Skype (if you and the people you talk most with have a webcam). I can’t begin to calculate how much I’ve saved on phone bills by relegating most of my convos with my mom and best friend to it!

  3. God, I so get this! We’re a one car family, too, and now having a newborn and pretty much being confined to the house all the time, I feel SO beyond isolated. I need a Target friend! But first I need to be able to get to Target. hahaha

    1. Awww *hugs*. Target will be waiting for you! And the baby :)

  4. 1. That’s awesome! I would totally be your friend if lived there and met you in Target!
    2. Geekdom is underrated.

    1. 1. Thank you! We should have a standing Target date should our paths ever cross. ;)

      2. I agree. I think just admitting I’m a geek was the most freeing thing I’ve done in a long time!

  5. Any friend of Target’s – is a friend of mine ;)

    1. It’s the new sorority! Except with inclusiveness instead of hazings and pearl necklaces :) Target loves everyone! OK now I’m starting to make it sound like a cult :/

  6. You’re speaking my language! Since we’re in India, not the US, my husband and I share a driver. (Our corporate relo package only provided one driver.) His commute is about 90 minutes each way (up to 2.5 hours each way now that it is monsoon season), and I work from home for many of the same hours that he does.

    READ: He has the car, I don’t, and there is not much of a possibility for me to leave the house on most days. This has been a huge adjustment for me. I won’t lie. I’m counting down the days until I return to the US, a few friends (in my also small town in BFE), and full mobility.

    In my small town, I was lucky that the guy who lives across the street married a local girl who I get along with well. Such good fortune, otherwise I probably still wouldn’t know anyone.

    1. Hang in there, gal! (At least that’s what I tell myself every day). You must be so excited to come home to family and friends soon. Even though we were sad to leave Korea and our friends there, it was SOOO great to come home and have our arrival trumpeted by our nearest and dearest :) You probably know, too, that coming back to your home country is so weird and awesome in that reverse-culture-shock way.

  7. I miss Tar-jay :(

    1. But you have E-Mart! And Homeplus! Just kidding…navigating those places on Sunday afternoons was quite harrowing :P

  8. My situation is so similar, it’s creepy.
    Except we seem to be less rural.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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