The time has come for me to make an announcement: Jeremy & I are leaving Florida to move to Anniston, Alabama in August.
We've been accepted to a master's fellowship program through the University of Alabama. We were selected as two of eight students to enter, what they have dubbed, The Teaching Newsroom at The Anniston Star newspaper.
We'll be full-time students, taking classes inside the newsroom (about an hour west of Atlanta). They pay our tuition and a monthly stipend, and at the end of the year (if all goes well), we'll have our Master's degrees in journalism.
It's going to be a big change for us, obviously. All of our parents and siblings are here in Florida. It's where we both grew up. But over the years, as home prices got to be outrageous, and we developed a taste for changing seasons and prettier neighborhoods, we knew it was time to go.
When I left Florida the first time, at the age of 12, it was a devestating experience. I didn't want to leave, and my choices were limited (practically non-existant).
I'll never look back on my 10 years in North Carolina with regret. I made some of the best friends I've ever had in my life. I lived in a great neighborhood, went to a great high school and college, and got exposed to a different way of life.
Still, a part of me always ached for Florida, and those I had left behind. Everyday was a struggle to balance the great things I had with the great things I missed. So, after graduation, I came back.
It's been over four years, and they have been great. I've gotten closer to my families, made new friends, and, of course, met my husband.
Now, I'm leaving on my terms. The decision wasn't easy, but it was mine. This time, there are no broken hearts, no angry feelings and nothing but best wishes.
I'm going to go. But my heart will always call Florida home.