Thursday, July 25, 2013


I just got lost
Every river that I tried to cross
Every door I ever tried was lock
Oh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off 

There's clearly a lengthy list of the things that I am struggling with related to this move, but lately one thing I am struggling with on a regular basis is this feeling of being perpetually lost.  I have a GPS in my car and use google maps on my phone, and while they help, it's not foolproof.  Every week, I seem to get lost.

Now, I am using the word "lost" loosely - it's not like I am in the middle of nowhere.  I can always find my way back to where I am going or need to be.  It's just that everything takes SO MUCH LONGER than it should.  For instance, I left an hour early for an appointment that was about 20 minutes away a couple of weeks ago.  I was using my GPS, but apparently the exit numbers were renumbered since my GPS was last updated (I haven't updated it because they charge you to do so which is ridiculous IMO), so I missed my exit as I was looking for a different number.  So what do I see next?  A sign that says "Welcome to South Carolina".

I was like - really?  I missed an exit and ended up in a different state?  It was especially jarring because I didn't even *realize* South Carolina was THAT close.  Poor Becky was on the phone with me when this happened so she got to see how ragey I get when I get lost and have no idea where I am.

I used my iPhone to find an alternative route and still made it to my appointment on time, so it all worked out.  But that feeling of frustration/confusion?  It really sucks.  If it happened once in awhile, it would be a different thing.  But it happens almost every. single. week.

I miss knowing the lay of the land and understanding how long it will take to get to certain places.  I miss knowing the traffic patterns well enough to know how soon I should get over to the right-most lane to take an exit.  I miss knowing alternative routes to get places if traffic is bad.  I miss having most of what I needed a short walk or bike ride away. These days every place I need to be, besides work, is a drive away.

I know it takes time to develop knowledge of an area.  I just underestimated how much it would impact me to be lost SO often.  I will be the first to admit that I have a terrible sense of direction, so I know I am partly to blame for this, but it's still frustrating.  It's been nearly 4 months since my move, so I know I am still 'new' to the city but gosh I hope it starts getting easier really soon.

I know my post related to Charlotte lately have not been positive, but I am just trying to be real.  Living here is really hard and I keep waiting for it to get easier, and it's not.  Some days I trick myself into thinking it is, but then the next day I get lost or something happens back home that makes me want to be closer or I see a picture of Minneapolis on Facebook and I grieve about moving here all over again.  I know I need to be more patient with my transition, but dang - I wish it was a little bit less hard.

Have you ever moved to a new city and struggled with this?  Do you have a good sense of direction or are you directionally challenged like me?


Amanda said...

I'm pretty lucky in that I have a great sense of direction. Within a few days somewhere I generally can find my way around. That said, the last 2 cities I lived in were major interstate hubs. Within 5 minutes you could be on 5 or 6 different major freeways. It took awhile to learn which was which and where they changed. Hope getting around becomes second nature sooner than later!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Ugh- I hate the feeling of being lost. I have a pretty good sense of direction, but sometimes even that does not help. Eric and I had a lot of incidents of totally being lost on our trip, which I realize is NOTHING like your situation but I did experience some moments of the frustration. I usually prefer to be lost when walking over driving, being lost driving stresses me out the max- however at times it was so hot that I would've rather been lost in an AC car. But never fear we were lost in both haha.

So yesterday I was talking to a friend about how you were coming to visit and I was like my friend from MN... I mean, Charlotte... I mean, well she's really not from Charlotte in my mind haha... clearly I still have to living in MN and this is just a blimp on my radar of you haha. Easy for me to say/decide.

Also I don't think your posts about Charlotte have been all negative, you have very clearly been making an attempt to learn about the area, do as many fun things as possible and take easy trips from the area which you did last weekend. That counts as exploring Charlotte in my mind :)

Caroline said...

I hate being lost! It's always the worst feeling and I definitely get edgy when it happens. Luckily I have a pretty good sense of direction and know the Boston area well. (And when I was in NYC/CT I was mostly taking trains.) Anyways, I hope things get easier! You could go old school and print out google map directions?

Becky said...

Dude. That was NOTHING compared to my road rage - feel free to be ragey anytime! :)

Nora said...

After college some friends and I decided to go to the "cool" part of downtown St Louis for the night. I wasn't paying attention to the signs that said LAST EXIT in Missouri and wound up taking us to East St Louis, aka no mans land. I had do a U-turn in a super shady area and we were all a bit terrified as people came out and stared at us (now I'm not so afraid of that kind of thing, but goodness it was scary then).

When I moved to the Great North I struggled a lot for a while; all of the country roads, none of them labeled, all leading to the same spot or close to it. I was lost a lot.

Also, I had no clue how close you were to SC, either. I guess need to relearn my geography.

missris said...

I hate being lost and I hate being late. Seriously, almost nothing stresses me out more. And moving from a perfect grid (Chicago) to nothing even remotely resembling a grid (Pittsburgh) has been ROUGH. I've been here almost two years and I still get lost all the damn time. I feel your pain, friend.

paigearoo said...

I have a TERRIBLE sense of direction. I get lost all the time...Since I moved from the West Coast to the prairies, I don't even have any landmarks, either. I've been in my new city for 6 years and still get lost on a regular basis. I often end going in the complete wrong direction and will end up where I started. If it wasn't so frustrating, I'd laugh...but I get so annoyed!!

Jeanie said...

Well, I haven't had the issues related to moving to a new city, but last night I was driving in the country to get to book club. Fortunately I was with my friend Kate, or I may have given up. We drove and drove and drove...looking for something that didn't exist on mapquest -- or didn't when they last updated. When we got to the next town, about 10 miles past where we should have turned, we called, then doubled back.

Fortunately the food at book club was good because by then we were really hungry!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

One of my good friends used to live in Charlotte and work in South Carolina ... Charlotte really is close to NC's southern border.

That's a bummer that not only are you feeling lost, but also that you have to drive to most places. Not your ideal living conditions at all. It's been a long while since I moved somewhere new, but I do generally have a good sense of direction.

When Sweets first moved to Chicago and he was only working three 10-hour days, he'd spend his off days just driving around the city. He really got a good sense of the different neighborhoods, where things were in proximity to his place and even saw a few places he wanted to go back to check out on foot. I think driving around with no destination in mind really helped him to have a sense of his community.

Marlys said...

I apologize for your lack of sense of direction! You and one of your brothers have that problem and then you have a brother & sister who navigate perfectly! It's a strange phenomenon! I hope you get your bearings sooner than later! Hang in there!

Unknown said...

I have a really good sense of direction, but when it comes to really specific locations I have to drive to, I tend to get lost my first time going there. Well, not so much lost, but I'll drive past it or miss an exit or underestimate how much time it takes to get there. Even now, having lived in this area for 3 years.

My best tip for learning an area is just to practice. On a day when you have nothing to do, get in your car and just drive. To me that's the best way to "build the map in your head" (which is what I call it). You learn which roads connect to each other, you'll get a much better sense for how long it takes. Don't do it when you have somewhere to be. Build the map when you have time (and a bit of gas money) to burn. I used to drive all around NJ when I first moved there, and it helped because I 1) didn't have anything else to do and 2) didn't know a darn thing about the state -- I had only been there once before I moved there!

Stephany said...

I still get lost driving around parts of my city I'm unfamiliar with. It can be SO frustrating! Sometimes, I don't mind it because it's like a puzzle... but when I need to be somewhere at a specific time, yeah, being lost makes me really, really anxious! I don’t like it and it has to suck always feeling so lost everywhere you go.

Also, I just want to say that I really love your honesty when it comes to your posts about Charlotte. I don’t find them negative, just real. Sugarcoating how you feel isn’t helping anyone, least of all yourself! It’s good to get these feelings down and remember this time in your life. I can tell you are TRYING to like Charlotte and getting out as much as you can and exploring your new home-for-now. But if something isn’t the right fit, it isn’t the right fit no matter how much you try. Hugs!

Carolina John said...

I am incredibly directionally challenged and get lost all the time, and I've been here for 3 years now. I still can't drive to that rose garden we went to, and I've been there hundreds of times. It doesn't help that Kelley knows every single back road around town and knows 10 ways to get anywhere.

I can memorize a series of right and left turns and that's how I know to get around. so it's infuriating when she says "you can take any of these exits". I don't see a number "any". I can remember exit 6. ugh.

Plenty of charlotte people live in SC, they are very close. SC people don't pay any taxes, so if you want the lower tax rate live there and deal wiht the commute. If you want government service and to avoid judgemental ultra-conservatives, stay in NC.

Shoshanah said...

I have an awful sense of direction! I know once in high school I was driving to soccer practice, at the same park we practiced at every week, and somehow drove to a new city.

Abby said...

Ha! This is so appropriate. We are sisters.

I went to a new hospital today (which I loved, by the way) ...but anyways. It was in the hustle bustle of downtown. I knew I had to park in "Parking Garage 2" -- i saw signs for it, and then they disappeared. Then I saw a garage, so I parked in it. Well, turns out I was in the COMPLETELY WRONG hospital, and had a mile walk to get to my hospital! Thank God I planned to get there 30 minutes early, so I wasn't late on my 1st day!

I was such a sweaty hot mess by the time I got to work, though!

I feel bad, because I know that frustrations - but I must admit I laughed that you ended up in SC!!

You should download the Google Maps app on your iphone! It has yet to fail me.

melissa said...

Oh, this is my life story. I know you're referring to being in a new city, but my entire life is me in a perpetual state of being lost. It's taken me years just to get a feeling for the few blocks that surround my school downtown and I know my suburbs pretty well but... I really do NOT know Montreal well enough and I cannot direct myself on foot! Luckily I know my way by public transit pretty well. Something I need to work on! It can be very frustrating, but it's such a big city!

Anonymous said...

I just moved to NYC from Los Angeles and I have the absolute worst sense of direction. Getting out of the subway always throws me for a loop and I end up walking far more than necessary because of it.

I couldn't point myself north if someone paid me!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I've never moved to a new city (except as a little kid), so I haven't experienced this in the same sense. I think I would feel lost too.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I am sorry that you feel that way as I HATE feeling out of control/lost. However, even in cities we know, things happen that we can't control and they are still frustrating! I was in San Francisco and I missed my connecting bus to get home by about 2 minutes. I ran for it because I saw it pulling away, but it didn't stop. The next bus isn't for a half an hour and I was so frustrated, knowing that I had errands to run and things to do and I was wasting time and there was nothing I could do about it. I hate that feeling!

Maybe you could use your iPhone for directions instead of your car GPS until you get a better feel for the lay of the land?

Amber said...

Five years later and I still have to use GPS to map out some places in my city! Haha. At least now I know the areas though so once I've mapped a specific address I know how to get to the general area which is a good feeling.

I would say I don't get terribly stressed or frustrated about getting lost. Eric does moreso than me which is why I always drive when we're IN Vancouver or another big city. However if I was running late for an appointment I would probably feel more stressed or frustrated. Normally I just kind of laugh it off and figure we'll figure it out somehow!

Charis Faith said...

Charlotte is super confusing. I know August is crazy and the past few months have been full but I still plan to show you the different areas and explain the roads like tyvola/fairview/Swedish/idlewild that are all the same road. Girl you have uptown figured out and ghat is the one area of the city I don't know'