You don’t realize how much the area you grow up in influences your life until you move away. I have lived, however briefly, in many parts of the county, but I always find myself comparing it to life in small-town Central New York. Even in Alaska, I was comparing the cold (way colder in AK), and the snowfall (much less in AK because a lack of Lake Effect) to what it was like where I grew up.
Of course, most people do this. I remember talking with our neighbor in Napaskiak about her first winter with snow. She had never seen it in person, having grown up in Puerto Rico. I love meeting people who have lived such different experiences than myself.
Having a son now, I spend a lot of time thinking about how the choices my husband and I make will effect how he sees the world. I want him to have the pieces of childhood that stick out in my memory so positively. Playing outside until we couldn’t see, dancing with fire flies, stargazing in the fields around town. But I also want to have better access to things I didn’t: live theatre, museums, and other amenities that come with a more urban life. That’s really how we came to decide on moving to the Roanoke Valley. It seems like a great blend of country living with city amenities.
The city itself is green and beautiful, nothing like the concrete cities in the North. Now, it is much smaller than Philadelphia where we used to live, so maybe it isn’t a fair comparison, but it is certainly much more my speed. And I appreciate being able to get places downtown in less than and hour. Traffic in Philly was killer if you wanted to live anywhere outside city limits.
And while the arts scene in Roanoke doesn’t boast nearly the options that we had in Philadelphia, it certainly isn’t hurting either. Everywhere you look there is art, and opportunities and support for art. That is so exciting, and we have lots of plans for our future here.
Of course, there are some weird culture shock things here too, beyond the southern drawl and ‘y’all’. I always have to specify that my tea is unsweetened, or I’m given undrinkable sweet tea. I know I have many enemies when it comes to this debate, but I like my tea bitter and pure. After more than 20 years drinking it that way, I don’t think I’ll ever accept sweet tea.
And did you know people call shopping carts ‘buggies’ here? I was a little baffled the first time I heard that one.
You know, however, that you are truly in the south when you walk into the local diner and see this:
I’m super excited for this next chapter in our lives, and I hope that you will keep reading! Here’s to adventure!