As we prepare to move from the first home that we officially lived in as a married couple, I can’t help but reflect on another move that we made a few years ago now. My family bought the condominium where we live when we were in college, and after getting married in 2013, we lived here for a few months before moving to Philadelphia where Ian is in grad school and working towards his PhD in Anthropology and Education.
Our first year of marriage was great, don’t get me wrong. But being in Philadelphia was one of the hardest years that I have experienced, which made it very hard on us together. I’ve moved around all of my life. I was born in India and my family moved to the US when I was 5. So North Carolina is home for both of us, and aside from our inexhaustible wanderlust, we really like it here. Both of our parents live in the same town about an hour away, and I spent my first two years out of college with Teach For America at a school that I really loved and believed in.
So much of that changed when I moved to Philadelphia to be with Ian, away from friends, family, and a life that I had carefully constructed during our two year long distance engagement. While he had an awesome group of friends from grad school, I quickly realized the adult culture at my school was toxic. And, in case you didn’t know, teaching itself is no picnic. I thought of quitting, I thought of moving to a different school, I just kept working. When talking to one of my good friends, I was reminded of why I chose to be a teacher in the first place. While being in Philadelphia was hard for me, at the end of the day I got leave the neighborhood that I worked in and go to Ian – my kids were not as fortunate.
Still, by the end of the year, I was burned out, unsure of myself, and so unhappy. During the entirety of the five years we had been together at that point, I believed that wherever Ian was, was “home.” And to a degree, I still believe that. But I think Philadelphia truly taught us that your health as a couple is dependent on your health as an individual, and I needed to take care of myself.
At the end of the school year, we made the decision that I would move back to Durham in June and live in our home here again while Ian finished up his coursework. I got to go back to my old school, live in our first home together, and wait until he could join me again in December. I am ever thankful that Ian supported me and this decision wholeheartedly. While being apart for six months was hard, being together and unhappy was so much harder. I am so glad that this solution worked out for us.
This year, for the first time since 2014, we were back in Philadelphia again to photograph a wedding. I was asleep while Ian drove the last leg, and when I woke up, I saw that we were in Philadelphia.
“I feel weird,” I said, not knowing how to process all of the feelings the city brought up.
But I looked out of the window and took in the sights, and as we pulled up to our Air BnB, right around the corner from the place we used to live in, I realized that I wasn’t that same person anymore. As it turns out, being in the city and knowing that I’d be leaving to go home to NC with Ian after a few days was all that I needed to make that weekend so much fun. We ate tons of good food, had a lot of fun at the wedding, and visited all of our old favorite spots. Thanks for having us, Philly!
And now we are preparing to move again. Boxes are everywhere, the movers have been called, and we’re doing this again. We have lived in this little home for five years and while we’re ready to move into Durham officially, we are also sad to leave it! It’s seen so many laughs and tears, kitchen and porch dances, roommates, dogs and cats (so, so many animals). It’s seen us through our first days as husband and wife. We are so glad to have lived here, and are so hoping that our new renters will find just as much joy here as well.
Check out some of our favorites from our Philadelphia adventures!
That name cracks me up every time!
I am in love with this pink house that is on the street where we used to live!
We often got coffee on Saturday mornings at Earth Cup on the way to the farmer’s market!
45th x Pine: our old stomping grounds!
Check out more of our work at our website!