The day I drove up to Northern Virginia, or “NOVA” as natives call it, I had just finished thinking, “Wow, I made pretty good time,” when I hit the traffic. I hadn’t even arrived to my summer home when I dialed McKenzie’s number and prematurely exclaimed, “I have to go home. I don’t think I can handle this.” Needless to say, after a period of adjustment and bewilderment, e.g. I still don’t understand why in the world people don’t pull over for ambulances??!, I am handling it fine. Being in this area of Virginia really makes me feel like a southern country girl. Yes, really (it’s all relative). I’m sure I am not the only one who’s experienced this sort of culture shock coming from one bottom end of the state to the top.
Despite my real and extreme dislike for the traffic here (this July 4th weekend was the first time I’ve ever started a car trip by sitting still on the interstate’s entrance ramp), and the way some people just don’t ever speak, and my general confusion and misunderstanding regarding suburbs, I have been pleasantly surprised by a few things. One of the parts I love most about being in a new place is wandering around and discovering places or people I had no idea existed.
The first notable time this happened since I’ve been in Northern Virginia was when I set out to find the nearest post office. Trusty Google Maps led me to believe that Occoquan’s was closest, so I drove there. I’d heard of this place before, but had no idea it was in this area. After a short ten minute drive, I arrived in the cutest little town that sits on the edge of the Occoquan River. As it turns out, Occoquan was settled in the late 18th century and home to American’s first automated grist mill. It’s very small with less than a thousand residents, I think, and sort of reminds me of that little town from “Gilmore Girls.” If anyone wants to visit one of its very cute shops or restaurants, please call me up because I will gladly go.
In conclusion of this description of some of my time in “NOVA” I will share one other explanation for why I am not cut out for suburbanism (is that a word?): I am, obviously, not ashamed or embarrassed to say that one night a few weeks ago, after packing to leave town, I decided to load my car so that I wouldn’t have to do it the following morning. I was almost ready for bed when this decision was made, and had been trying on some clothes to decide what to take on my trip. Before I knew it I, illuminated by considerably bright street lamps, was standing outside on the street packing my car in nothing more than a t-shirt and my underwear. (Those lights do not exist in my woodsy, hometown neighborhood where the deer don’t really care if you walk around naked.)
The best part about this ensemble was that, after realizing I still had my cell phone in my hand once I made it down the stairs, I stuck it in the band of my underwear and called it a holster. I didn’t really realize this might be considered strange or inappropriate until I’d already made it back into the garage. Oops.