After our last day of work on April 15, 2016, we had some other loose ends to tie up in Phoenix before that chapter of our lives would come to a close. For some reason, we thought we could finish work that Friday and be on the road to Indiana by Monday (haha, wishful thinking on our part). Our lease would be ending on April 23, and we still had to sell furniture, pack what we would be taking home, and be strategic in how we would get our belongings to fit in our Chevy Aveo. We had previously decided we would not keep any of our Ikea furniture (we were not trying to pay for storage or rent a truck to drive it all back to Indiana). We also decided to get rid of a lot of our clothes, some of which had not been worn in the five years we were there. We lived in a one bedroom apartment, about 850 square feet (I do not know what that is in meters, sorry) and had been there for almost five years. Apparently, it is quite simple to accumulate an abundance of belongings in such a short period of time (not to mention I may have brought a few things to Phoenix I never needed or used…whoops!). I am so glad we only had one car during that time because worrying about that one was enough (cannot imagine having to worry about two). Yes, we only had one car for both of us. The bus, light rail, Uber, Lyft, and rides from friends during our time in Phoenix were common, since the last thing we needed was a car payment while trying to pay off our student loans.
Monday came, and we were maybe only half way done with going through our belongings. Brad was also busy selling our furniture through Craigslist and Offer Up (an app). At that point we decided the plan was to leave on Saturday (the day our lease was up). That also gave us more time to spend with our friends! We were able to make a few hundred dollars, but towards the end we were so over the move we started giving away things for free. Someone would come to buy a piece of furniture, and there we were offering up (or, maybe more like forcing upon them) our kitchenware. We packed up the things we wanted into boxes and put our clothes into trash bags and one suitcase. I had done a pretty good job (or so I thought) of getting my clothes down to a minimum. Brad then packed up our car (or attempted to) with almost everything, only to come back in looking defeated. He informed me we needed to go back through our clothes because the car was weighed down (the tops of the back tires were almost hidden by the wheel well trim). There I was, already feeling as though I had gotten rid of so much, having to go through my clothes again (there may or may not have been some tears shed…which I relayed to being tired and anxious).
Come Thursday, we had someone come and do a deep cleaning of the apartment. Then on Friday the carpet was shampooed. Brad and I did some touch up painting as well. We were really trying hard to get our $99 deposit back, which we did not actually pay (it got waived because of our good credit, when we first moved in). We slept in a bit on Saturday morning and then went to the leasing office to turn in our keys. We did a walk through with someone from the office and then that was it. It was a bittersweet moment for sure. That apartment was the first placed we lived together, where we lived when we both graduated from graduate school, where we got engaged, where we lived after we were married, where we were when we paid off our student loans, and so many more great memories (I may or may not be getting emotional just thinking of them all, as I type this). It was not just an apartment, it was OUR home! With the anticipation and excitement of what was to come in the next chapter of our life, we hopped in the car, with all of our belongings, and started the drive towards Indiana.
We are not sure if we will return to Phoenix to live (definitely to visit). It holds such a special place in our hearts, mainly because of all of the amazing people we met there. We are forever grateful to have encountered such beautiful souls, who have become not just friends, but family (seriously, I think I have allergies because my eyes are watering again as I type this). To our Phoenix (and greater Phoenix Valley) friends and family, thank you for being so encouraging and supportive! Like I told you all, it is definitely not goodbye (cannot get rid of me that easily), but see you later.