Ten years ago, I left a cozy boho, beach life in Wilmington, North Carolina and moved two hours west to Fayetteville, North Carolina. I was newly engaged to marry my Green Beret beau— bordering on life as a soon-to-be Army wife.
As most native North Carolinians, I had some bias and underestimated visions of what life would be like in Fayetteville— it would undoubtedly fail in comparison to my accustomed and beloved coastal living.
Growing up, I had always heard it called “Fayettenam.” When first perusing the area to find housing, a new friend corrected me and said, “You mean, “The Ville.” My first indication that locals did not favor the old nickname which cooked up images of strip clubs and smoky bars with ill-behaved soldiers.
This same friend introduced me to a different side of Fayetteville. A historic and artsy side.
I found my then fiancé (now husband) and I a cute little cottage in Haymount. I loved the charm of Haymount and it’s quaint village flair with gorgeous old Southern homes, oak and magnolia lined roadways.
We began to frequent the stores and restaurants on Haymount Hill and the charming downtown area. I started to feel more connected to the city I barely knew, but formerly had such staunch negative opinions of.
The past ten years have flown by and I am still learning so much about this historic, All-American City filled with intelligent, talented, innovative people.
Some of my most joyful and difficult days have been here. I became a wife, an Army Spouse, a mother, earned a Masters degree, worked in a counseling career, left said career to chase my dreams, grew in my faith, and became a published children’s book author.
My life is so full now. All thanks to my husband bringing me here.
To Fayetteville. Who would have “thunk” it?
I truly am a better, more well-rounded person now.
I appreciate so much more.
I’ve made wonderful friends from all over the world here.
I am proud to be an Army Spouse, and proud of the Army wives who are my tribe right here in this awesome, metamorphosing city.
Sometimes life takes you places you never expect.
You fear change. It can be terrifying.
But, if you open your mind’s eye and heart, and take a good long look around you in that terrifying place in your head, you just might be surprised of the beautiful life that is unfolding in front of you.
Thank you, Fayetteville, North Carolina for the wonderful gifts you’ve bestowed upon me!
I am so proud to call you home.
-Alison Paul Klakowicz, BA, MS
Author of Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck
Alison Paul Klakowicz is a North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.