After coming to the Lowcountry only once before, Megan Cronin and her husband JD Lewin quickly fell for Charleston's charm and made their move to the Holy City last year. In their one preliminary visit, the couple met a few friends and were quickly drawn to the sense of community here. "We felt that right away," Cronin says.
They arrived in April, the same month as the shooting of Walter Scott and only weeks before the Emanuel Nine massacre, quite a rude awakening to the racial tension that's alive and well in the South. But that didn't scare them off at all. "We live two blocks from Mother Emanuel," Cronin says. "And seeing the kindness and peace come from such a tragedy gives me hope. Charleston showed the world that peaceful protest, outreach, and art are positive and beautiful reactions to help with the healing process in a time of loss."
The couple's move to Charleston did have a great deal of negative impact in terms of Cronin's health. She was in a serious car accident only two months before her move. And so far, her biggest frustration with the move lies in the medical system. "Finding continuum of care for my injuries has been almost impossible, to the point where I have to fly back to Seattle for care."Not only did the big move to the Lowcountry happen a mere two months after Cronin's accident, but it also came about seven months following the birth of her son. So the couple had to navigate all sorts of unfamiliar waters from the get-go. But if she had to do it again, Cronin is certain they would have made the move anyway. "But I would have waited a year or two," she says, "so I that could have healed from my injuries with my care team in Seattle before trying to establish care with new doctors and new insurance while still being in such a fragile place, physically."
Besides Cronin's struggle with the local health system, she's also not thrilled with carriage tour companies, saying she's "saddened and concerned" about the horses "working under oppressive conditions of extreme temperatures and without forced weight restrictions." She says, "The carriage horse industry regulates itself, and I believe a third party regulation system needs to be in place for the transparency and trust of the community."
But as far as Cronin's toleration of the heat, she says she can't get enough, that her body feels more at home in the Charleston sun. "When I lived in Seattle, I experienced seasonal depression, which lasted eight months out of the year," she explains. "The few months of continuous sun we had in summer was not enough to satiate me. I never felt very healthy there, because my body wasn't getting enough Vitamin D."
The couple also loves how most of the city is so walkable. "Living in cities where I can walk or ride my bike everywhere is essential for me," Cronin says. "Downtown Charleston is great for that. I love old buildings with character, and I appreciated the value that the city has for maintaining history through its architecture."
But as much as Cronin and her crew adore their current situation, Charleston isn't the last stop. It's only one part of a series of adventures that they hope to have. "We want to move to Europe and possibly Asia for several years to give our son educational opportunities he can't have here," she says. "I want him to experience many different cultures and foods and languages while he's still small. Eventually my partner and I want to move our family to Hawaii and have our own farm, where we grow our own food and have lots of goats and honeybees and coffee trees, and cats."
But that's not going to happen for a while. Cronin says, "For now, we are really enjoying our wonderful new friends and lovely weather that we've found here in Charleston."