Eight weeks is less than a quarter in school. It is less than a trimester in pregnancy. It is just over one half of the living hell known as student teaching.

Eight weeks is how long it has been since I called Illinois my home. It has been ONLY eight weeks since my days were filled with familiar streets, activities, and people. Only eight weeks since I could realistically go anywhere…from The Jewels to the doctor’s office to the Cubs game and run into someone I know.

Eight weeks since I left behind my identity as a work-at-home mom.

Eight weeks since I saw my Ma and Dad’s house, my best friends, my church.

Eight weeks since my kids have had a real play date. Ouch.

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In eight weeks, I have learned how to get to four different Walmarts, THE ONLY TARGET, the good Mexican food, the passable pizza, Broadway, Barefoot, my ‘office,’ their office, the gym, the post office, the preschool, and, most importantly, the beach.

In eight weeks, I have fallen in love with sweet tea, the ocean scent, Ross, McAllister’s, Sunny 103.1, and LHWH Advertising and PR.

In eight weeks, I have met countless new people through work and found almost all of them extremely pleasant and a few who will put up with my incessant, wise-cracking emails, dish movies with me, and whom I shyly call friends.

In eight weeks, after trial and error, many tears, and a decision to choose and stick (or as dear Mr. Brendel advised, Find a place with doctrine you agree with, hang your hat there, and stay), we’ve found a new home church. It’s appropriately called JOURNEY Church.

In eight weeks, we have found that kitchen table I was dreaming about and entertained two grandparents and a certain CCM superstar around it.

In eight weeks, we have had three visits from loved ones, and one family coming in a few days. And we are so grateful.

In eight weeks we have spent many more nights at the pool than we have watching TV.

In eight weeks we have obtained many more beach towels and flip-flops, and I sort of view that, along with the sand in my trunk, as a status symbol,

In eight weeks, we have unpacked all but 15 boxes, mailed a whole lot of cards, forgotten our phone number, obtained pretty Palmetto State license plates, and avoided the drivers license process…

In eight weeks, we’ve actually been gone for two, so I am feeling pretty good about these accomplishments.

In eight weeks, I have learned to stoically swallow some emotion, because I miss everyone every day. But the truth is, I like this new life. I love this place. I enjoy my new job. I’m excited for the kids to start school (though it does strike terror in my core to think of Paige leaving!) I believe we’ve made healthy and wise decisions, and I also believe we ain’t seen nothing yet…well, we haven’t seen anything yet! I’ve told the story of how we got here over and over, and each time more than the last, I know the picture we are part of is just beginning to unfold.