I'm starting to like living in Virginia. And I'm starting to really like our little house. A friend of mine used to have the motto "Bloom where you're planted." And i always liked it in a bloom-where-you're-planted-unless-you're-planted-in-northern-virginia kind of way. But lately, I find myself coming around to the point of liking it here.
- The climate here is fantastic. If I ever move, I'm putting the climate in a box and taking it with me. The summers are hot and muggy, great for gardening and dips in the pool. The fall, which is short, unfortunately, has warm days and crisp nights. Winter is also short, it doesn't get "cold" here for very long - long enough for a good snow or two, and then it warms back up to a reasonable temperature. Spring comes early, allowing me to get all of my planting and gardening done by the first week of April. It's wonderful.
- There's a lot to do here. DC is just a metro ride away, and pretty much everything in DC is free. There is something going on in this area every single weekend, and lots of little events scattered throughout the week.
- There are tons of employment options. If my husband ever decides to be a corporate sellout and wants to make twice his salary (*cough* *cough* *nudge*) he'll have no problem finding local work with lots of room for growth.
- This area is eclectic. I used to really hate this part. Very few people are actually "from" this area. They are mostly transplants from all over the country, all around the world, really. I used to think it detracted from the hometown feel that I craved, but I think I was detracting from the hometown feel. I've come to realize that it's pretty awesome. I can walk down the road and go to an Afghani restaurant, or I can walk in the other direction and get authentic Portuguese food.
- The shopping is outrageous. We have every single store I can think of within a few miles. The local mall opens at midnight on Black Friday, so you can shop off your turkey hangover at 300 of your favorite stores. I love bargains.
- Statistically, where I live is safer than the small town I grew up in. I have that inherent fear of the unknown, which makes me overly cautious, and at times downright paranoid, but bottom line is this is a safe place for children to grow up.
- I have made wonderful friends here. It's hard to make friends when you're an adult - you're just not in a friend making environment the way you are in college or high school. But the friends I've made here are exceptional people, and I love them dearly. They've been there for me when I needed them the most, and have been unbelievably supportive of everything in my life. I really don't think I could have survived the last 4 years without them.
- My house is cozy. It's mine. I can do whatever I want to it. I can paint all my ceilings hot pink if i wanted to, and no crappy HOA or Condo Association or Landlord will tell me no. Not that I would ever do that, but I like to keep my options open. All of the sweat and money we've poured into our house just makes it more our home. It's familiar now. I know the sounds it makes, it finally smells like us, and not the crappy Gittens (although on really, really, really hot days, you can still smell them if you stand outside under the soffit. EW.), my kitchen is lovely, and my bathroom is soon-to-be-lovely. I enjoy my flowers and gardens. We are comfortable here.
- And finally, absence makes the heart grow fonder. All of our family is in NJ. It's tough, especially with the kids being so small, and there's always a tug-o-war over who gets us on the holidays, but I'm really starting to cherish the distance. When we see each other, it's special, it's something to look forward to, and it's an enjoyable time. We're far enough apart that everyone can spread their respective wings, but close enough to each other than we can be together within a few hours if need be.
And so, almost five years after we were planted here, we're finally starting to ground our roots.
Really, it's not that bad. I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely...