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Nature, trees, rare snowfall tempted Californian to move

Newcomers are Elizabeth Rodeffer's business. The new owner of Welcome Home, which delivers welcome baskets to new residents in south Charlotte and Union County, is also a recent transplant herself.

Elizabeth, 25, and her husband, Jason, 29, moved from their native Orange County, Calif., 21/2 years ago. They wanted to live somewhere they could afford to buy a house – and they did in Indian Land, S.C. Elizabeth fell in love with Charlotte after visiting her mom – a newcomer to Ballantyne – in 2001. She was in town for a huge, but very rare, snowstorm.

“It was like those Norman Rockwell days. You would wake up to snow,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is totally different from Southern California.'”

I caught up with Elizabeth by phone and e-mail recently to ask her about living here. Here's what she had to say. Answers were edited for clarity and brevity.

As a newcomer, what were your first impressions of Charlotte?

My husband and I were struck by all the trees and beautiful natural landscape amidst all the growth and new development. We came from a place with so few natural grown trees left. I was also so surprised by how nice the people are in Charlotte.

Have those impressions changed with time?

My time living in Charlotte has only strengthened and solidified my initial love of the city. I love being a part of the growth and constant change in this city, and I still love the trees. People are just as nice as when we first moved, and I love that, too. You can strike up a conversation with just about anyone anywhere.

What do you like best about Charlotte?

That although this is a large city, it still has the small-town feel. I run into friends every time I go to the grocery store or my favorite coffee shop. That almost never happens in Orange County, Calif.

And the least?

As much as I appreciate and root for all the new development, no one likes to drive through construction traffic.

What are some of the funnier or more interesting stories you've heard from newcomers through your work with Welcome Home?

I think we've heard every moving disaster story possible, including a couple from London whose furniture was supposed to arrive a week after them, but got stuck on a boat and took months. They had lawn furniture and an air mattress and some clothes, and that was it!

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