Learning to Love Huntsville

When Joel first got an interview here, he googled “Huntsfield.”  Guess what?  There is NO Huntsfield, AL.  That’s when we began to panic.  Joel was just finishing up graduate school and I recently graduated from undergrad (and was living at home with my parents and working two part-time jobs = ugh).  We were still dating at this time.  He was waiting for a job and I (consequently) was waiting for a ring.  He came down here, interviewed, and decided he loved this clinic and wanted to work here.  I was the skeptic. 

“SERIOUSLY?  We are going to move to ALABAMA??!?”
His response – As if you have a lot of room to talk, Tennessee girl.

Joel grew up overseas so his entire perspective on the South is skewed.  He groups all of the state in together, while those of us born and raised here, are well aware there are boundaries (state lines and jokes of “At least I’m not from _____”) and loyalties (SEC team appropriate of course).  The company put us up in a really nice hotel and one Saturday night we attempted to wine and dine throughout Huntsville.  So where did we head first?  Downtown. 

We saw two other people that Saturday night, not counting the wait staff at the restaurant.

“Um, where are all the people??”

Apparently, this was the opening weekend for both Alabama and Auburn football games.  We didn’t realize that the town shuts down, with the exception of the sports bars.  We ended up being impressed by the quaintness and charm of this small city and Joel accepted the job.  We told ourselves that even if we hated it, we could stand it for a few years until he becomes board certified.  After that, we could always move wherever we desired.

But now that Joel’s board certified, we’ve found ourselves with no desire to move.  Huntsville has shown its beauty and we can’t think of many other places where we want to settle for a while.  The schools are great; we love our church; our friends are amazing.  Plus, there’s something kinda nice about running to the store and 90% of the time running into someone you know.  Huntsville is a deceptive place.  It plays the role of a city but has the feel of a small town.  I’m now spoiled after living here.  I can’t believe that it takes people more than 10 minutes to get anywhere (this also has to do with the fact that we live near the center of everything so we have ultra convenience).   In fact, we are trying to convince my parents to move closer to this area.  Joel’s brother and his wife moved closer (about 2 hours away) and with his other siblings 3.4-4.5 hours away – well, we are the middle/meeting grounds for a while.

There isn’t a lot that we’d change about our city, which says a lot.  There would have to be something pretty spectacular to tear us away from an unexpected gem like Huntsville.  Plus, now that we aren’t the “new people” (living here for almost 4 years should rid us of that title), it’s nice to welcome other transplants and make them feel as much at home as we do.


6 thoughts on “Learning to Love Huntsville

  1. Great blog post. Isn’t that funny how we always expect the worst out of something or someone first before we experience the reality? I was going to write about this subject too ‘looks the big city but feels the small town’ but I don’t know what I’ll write about.

  2. I moved here from Los Angeles just over two years ago and I’m still adjusting. Some days I feel content here, other days I long to love elsewhere. Problem is, I don’t know where “elsewhere” is; I don’t have another specific place in mind. I’m not ready to move back to L.A. (and I may never be ready for that), I’m not yearning for any other particular city in the U.S., I’m too attached to American life to move to another country…so Huntsville it is, for now.

    And truth be told, there are some days that I’m absolutely thrilled to be here in the southeast. I can’t explain it; I’m a city boy (er, man) and don’t think I could live too far from the conveniences of a metropolis…and yet, here I am.

  3. We’ve been here for 4.5 years and also moved for work having never heard of the town. You couldn’t pay me to move elsewhere now, both my husband and I adore it here. : )

  4. Great post, my mom gave me some “are you crazy” looks and comments when I first moved down here 20 years ago. My first job was for a family owned computer store and that set the tone for the rest of my life down here. I’m still good friends with that family and still love the town.

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