I am originally from there, moved out here in 1985 with my family and now am considering moving my own family back there. We live in the high desert out here and HATE IT. Traffic is horrible, people are so rude and a larger home for a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids is out of the question out here right now. Has it been a difficult adjustment for any of your family members? The humidity, the bugs, the accents :)? I truly miss the GREEN Country. I think we're afraid of culture shock.It sounds to me like a move to NC is just what the doctor ordered for y'all. The ills you face out there are all but distant memories out here. People here are miles away from rude. Housing here is infinitely more affordable. And it is nothing if not green, green, green everywhere. Well, except during the winter! As I've said before, traffic exists but is less horrible than So Cal. You say the high desert; do you mean the Antelope Valley/Lancaster/Palmdale area? If so, I can agree that the rush-hour traffic there is quite challenging--and rush "hour" lasts for like three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening!
You really should not fear culture shock. I have not experienced any at all. If anything, it's been a culture "pleasant surprise." LOL! Humidity in the summer is definitely an issue, but that's what A/C is for. And the beauty of the Triangle is you are only 2-3 hours away from the mountains or the ocean for a cooler weekend escape.