We trekked from the lush, muddy creeks of the Lowcountry across 6 States to arrive in the desert land of Arizona. Did I think I would fall in love with consistently cloudless & sunny skies, dirt & cactus (yes, I know, cacti. But I disagree completely with the English language on this one)? The answer would be, No, I did not think I would fall in love with all of the above. I thought I would instantly miss the ocean, the creeks of pluff mud, the y’alls and yes ma’ams, yes sirs and the blue grass bars. Truth be told, I do miss them, BUT, I was smitten with this place within the first week! And let me say, we arrived in monsoon season with the welcoming temperature of 109, so, that says a lot about our smittenness. It has taken us time, though, to actually feel like we belong here. The first thing we did was change our license plates & get new drivers licenses. There is no hiding from the locals with a plate screaming SOUTH CAROLINA! I am a self conscious and apologetic driver enough as it is without letting the locals know I do not belong here. One wrong move, one wrong turn and you can almost hear them behind you… “Go back to South Carolina, dumbass!” “Learn how to drive you incompetent, Southern female!” And suddenly, you’ve been made. SO, #1 on the list… change license plates! Now I can drive comfortably as my self conscious and apologetic self without putting my Southern State to shame. And, of course, I had to get a few things out of the way before I could start feeling like I belong… -Suffer from mild heat stroke (because I wore jeans on a 107 day) -Help my dog suffer from mild heat stroke at the local park (so ashamed of myself) -Learn that “It’s a dry heat” is BS… dry or not, it’s heat! -Get sunburned, and learn its sunburn on crack here -Sit on a cactus (laugh all you want, but I truly sat on a !@#$ing cactus!) -Drink water and then drink some more -Invest in bottles upon bottles of lotion -Come face to face with a javelina and lose my cool -Get overly excited because I saw a road runner, and then totally let down at the size of it. Not quite the Looney Tunes look I was so naively expecting. …Stuff like that. It’s almost a year later, and Arizona loves us like locals. And we love Arizona like home.