Feels Like Home to Me

Charlotte, NC is currently our home. We’ve only lived here for two weeks, but our goal is to buy a house and make North Carolina our permanent residence, a place where we’ve lived long enough to remember the address, have family for neighbors, and be part of the community. Before moving here, we lived in California. It was a like being on permanent vacation with the perfect weather, unlimited possibilities, and endless adventures, but it was never my home. I never felt that connection to my environment. Growing up in Nova Scotia gave me a true feeling of “home”. It wasn’t only because I was surrounded by family, but because I was surrounded by community; I smiled and waved at the people around me and they smiled and waved back.  I want that friendly-neighbor association for Athena, which is what prompted the move from our permanent vacation in California to our new home in North Carolina. Moving back to the east coast is a reminder of all the great things that surrounded me as a child in Nova Scotia. Beautiful, majestic trees, fishing off of a pier or in a lake, swinging from a tree, vacationing at the beach, and parties with family and friends, thinking about Nova Scotia warms my heart and reminds me that I am home.

One thing that southern California lacked was massive trees lining the streets and covering the hills surrounding the beach. Their long branches and changing leaves create a sense of warmth and comfort.

Fishing happens around the world, but it was only in Nova Scotia that we didn’t appear out of place dressing in “pit” socks and our brother’s and sister’s clothing to stay warm on the pier.

And fishing was never just about catching the biggest fish or watching where you cast because you’re surrounded by other, more serious, fisherman. It was about family time and Victoria Day weekend, better known as Hiking Day.

Vacationing on the beach might not have been possible all year round, or even more than a month or two each year, but when we were there we had the time of our lives. Everyone played in the water, had a BBQ on the beach, and the adults openly enjoyed a few alcoholic drinks (Keith’s beer to be exact). The water may be icy cold, but that never stopped us from boogie boarding. Tourists, in their sweaters and long pants, would watch from the hill in amazement as we “ducked” in the frigid waters, but it felt natural for us to stay in the water until every part of our body was numb. That was the only cost of going to the beach.

The parties, in all and every location including houses, barns, backyards, and banquet halls, created the most memorable moments. We danced like no one was watching, sang as if we were professionals working hard for our money, and loved like it was our last day on earth.

I’m returning to Nova Scotia for vacation in one week and my heart is full with love and excitement. Athena will experience the heart of Nova Scotia and hopefully we can bring a little bit back for her Daddy and our new friends in North Carolina.

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138 thoughts on “Feels Like Home to Me

  1. Unfortunately here in NC you also get incredible heat and humidity, which might make it slightly less appealing than Nova Scotia :)

    That said, I proudly call Charlotte home as well. Even when it is 104° F + heat index.

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  2. I had no idea you were a fellow expat Nova Scotian! Best of luck to you in North Carolina. I know what you mean about finding it hard to find “home” again after the intense experience of growing up surrounded by family and community in N.S. I really hope North Carolina becomes this for you and your family.

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  3. That sounds exactly like California! Growing up, being born and raised in LA I love it out here, not just because of the weather, but also because of my friends and family here. I totally understand that feeling of community, Like they say, home is where the heart is, and if its in North Carolina, make your dreams come true!

    Best of luck!

    Michael Hidalgo

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  4. There is no place like home…that really feels like home :). Lovely post. Reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in – kids everywhere – all the neighbors homes were our homes and everyone knew our names. I really loved it.

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  5. Lesley, I related so much to your post today as my husband and I are about to make the move from San Diego to Oklahoma City next month. I completely agree with wanting to live some place where we can let our family take root, know our neighbors, and be part of a community. I hope you and I both find that sense of belonging in our new locations. Cheers!

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  6. Lesley, you’re posts never seem to disappoint on the smile factor. I try to read as often as I can, and when I do, I always seem to finish with a huge grin on my face. Glad you found a place to call home, I’m still on my journey.

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  7. All of my friends who have lived in North Carolina have loved it and were sad to leave when they had to (for various work reasons) – I wish you much happiness there! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  8. thanks for sharing such a personal blog about home and trying to make another place feel like home again. have fun in Novia Scotia, I am also travelling “home” back to NYC for July 4th week. Good luck in NC.

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  9. What I see most in this post is a bonded family, love and fun……….very nice!……Didn’t realize you were from Nova Scotia……..I did my undergraduate degree at Acadia University in Wolfville……it was a great time…….especially loved how the four seasons are so distinctive, we don’t have that pleasure in the Bahamas……..it was very cold for a Bahamian though……:)

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  10. North Carolina was home to me for over 30 years. I believe you have made a good choice. Our son went to NC State and never left Raleigh, another great city. Blessings to all of you as you explore the area. With your Lesley Carter smile and personality, Charlotte is lucky to have you, Daren and Athena.
    Thanks for stopping by travelerlynne.

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  11. What a wonderful post! Brought me back amazing memories from a place I call home back in South Portland, ME. Very similar memories about fishing and boogie boardin all the friends and the wonderful bbqs. :)

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  12. Lesley:

    North Carolina is a beautiful place. In my mind it rivals Colorado. I hope it becomes home for you. As those who have moved several times, and who have searched for home, my wife and I have discovered that where our kids spent most of their growing up became home. That was Tulsa for a time.

    One of my wife’s bucket list items is to spend some time in Nova Scotia. We hope to do that in the next few years. Any recommendations?

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    • We wanted a place that offers a family focused environment, reasonable housing, and somewhat of a yard. Plus, I didn’t want to live in a snowy, cold winter wonderland. Charlotte offered all of those things and great career opportunities for Darren. We loved California but housing was excessive and we never felt like we really knew our neighbors. So, here we are :)

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  13. I grew up in Charlotte – have lived all over since then including my current location of Scotland where I met my wonderful Canadian boyfriend – but am a Carolina girl at heart :) Best wishes to you there. Also, thanks much for visiting my blog!

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  14. Lesley, I’ve visited a lot of blogs, but I never opened the door on one that drew me right into the spirit of the place like yours. You are such a SMILE in a world filled with grumps! And your daughter is absolutely beautiful … and, of course, smiling like her mom! I was born and grew up in a crossroads community fifty miles west of Charlotte. Polkville, NC. (I don’t know if it’s even on a map!) It’s 12 miles west of Shelby. I have relatives near Charlotte. NC is a beautiful state. I just visited a blog, “travel Photography by Dmitrii Lezine” (http://tinyurl.com/7rbd7q3) in which he describes and exhibits photos and video of Grandfather Mountain and Sugar Mountain. I thought about it just now when I learned that my frequent visitor on The Fuzzy Foto had moved to my old home state. I am delighted to have found your blog through your kind visits to mine. You are an old woman’s hope for the future, child! :-) Enjoy your new home!
    George

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  15. I am still in a little bit of shock at you guys moving permanently to Charlotte! I love that area myself. But I just pictured you guys as permanet SoCal folk! Anyway, I have a feeling you are doing the right thing for Athena and yourselves as new parents. Charlotte is a beautiful place full of wonderful support for family life–and more traditional in that respect than SoCal, probably–like your native Nova Scotia! I just know you and Athena will have a great time on your trip there! Wishing you all good and safe times!

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  16. Hi, I want to thank you for visiting my blog.
    You’ve got a great site going. I’ll have to come back for updates.

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  17. You make me want to visit Nova Scotia! Actually, the way you talk about it makes me think of the few summers that I spent in Greece when I was growing up :) Best of luck to you in NC! I actually am just outside of Charlotte and have lived here for the past 14 years. I love it and hope that you find the same sense of community and warmth where you are.

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  18. Lesley, warmest wishes to you and your family on your new home! I love that neighborly feeling we’ve come to know here in Boise, ID, which is much different than where we used to live. I loved reading about your memories, they reminded me of the love I had growing up, too. Thanks!

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  19. Welcome to NC, neighbor! I’ve been here 15 years and love it. Looking forward to seeing what adventures you find in NC, and inevitably what I’ve been missing out on.

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  20. I lived in Charlotte for 21 years and my husband was born and raised there. It’s a beautiful place to raise a family. And you have the beach and the mountains just a few hours in each direction. You will love the azaleas and magnolias in the spring. And be sure to eat the barbeque. Wishing you the best in your new home.

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  21. I am so glad you are feeling at home in Charlotte. I know exactly what you mean about Cali. I lived in Redondo Beach for 10 years and though I loved the weather and made some great friends I never truly felt that it was my home. It’s much different being back towards the east now, if not a bit farther south than where I grew up. Nova Scotia sounds beautiful and you really seem to cherish your memories. I’ll have to add it to my list of places to visit, just not in the winter. :)

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  22. Not living in the US, I can’t relate to the places you mention, but I do so know the feeling of “being home”. I’ve lived in South Africa for 30 odd years now, but the UK is still home for me with it’s warm and comforting feeling.
    luv the wigs! :).

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  23. Well said Lesley! The home is where the heart is. I moved from Malaysia to Australia after I met my husband 9 years ago. Quite a bit of change, I miss my family, relatives and good friends…not forgetting the food! But I have met wonderful people who are now my friends and Canberra, Australia is now my HOME!

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