Saturday, October 29, 2011

One Month and then the Big Big Plane Ride

I just went back and read my last post from April!  I haven't blogged since then since we have been living a VERY regular suburban life and loving it!  We have been living in an apartment in NOVA (Northern Virginia for those of you not in the "know").  I laugh because I had never thought of NOVA before a year ago!  It is definitely its own culture.  I love it for many reasons and laugh at myself for living here for many other reasons.  Here are the reasons I love it: 
  • access to AMAZING libraries, and I have access to at least two within 3 miles of my home.  I have completely rediscovered my love and passion for reading thanks to them.  My kids love it too, and it is such a change from the horrible library lady we had in Owensville, MO. Yep, I hope she gets her just desserts.  I grew up with an amazing library experience in Elmhurst and this lady ruined it for me and my kids in Missouri.
  • diverse population.  I go to the grocery store and am guaranteed to hear AT LEAST 3 different languages, one time I counted 5.
  • grocery stores.  I have within walking distance 3 grocery stores that carry anything and everything I can imagine.  I used to get excited when I went to the discount grocery in Rolla and scored some organic something or other.  I also have access to a Trader Joe's and Whole Foods within 15 minutes and now sometimes that seems too far, can you believe it?
  • schools.   I know this should be first, and technically it is, but I was thinking about me for a minute.  My daughter goes to an amazingly diverse public elementary and my son goes to another amazingly diverse Christian preschool where all the kids are loved and encouraged to play and learn.  My daughter's school is 30% ESL, so she has met friends from all over the world already. 
  • Museums and a great park district.  We have taken full advantage of many, and no where near all.  There is so much to do here.  We have made it to the Smithsonian Art, Natural History, American History, and Native American museums, and the kids have taken several wonderful classes with the Fairfax County Park District.  Look at all the stuff they have to enjoy!  I also played volleyball with an awesome bunch of women that was not associated with the park district: Can you find me?  I am in the Winter 2011 Champions picture!! 
  • no farm.  This will also be on the dislike list, but it has been like a vacation not having to tend to a greenhouse and a couple of acres of vegetables and flowers.
Here are a few things I am not so into:
  • it is expensive.  Very, very expensive.  I am looking forward to moving to Bangladesh so we won't have the killer rent that we have here.  Here is the cost of living analysis comparison (for someone making 50K) saying we lived in St. Louis, which we were 100 miles from and moving to this are is:  Equivalent income in the city you are moving to: $77424.50. Percent increase to maintain standard of living: 54.85%. When I looked at the average home price it was 200K and here it is 670K.  It is nuts.  Most of the people where our daughter goes to public school live in apartments, townhomes, or got a great deal on a single family house.  The families at the preschool are a bit more upper crust, but still down to Earth, for the most part. I wish I had a camera in the minivan the first day I dropped my son off at preschool in my "ancient" 2001 Nissan Quest and followed the Land Rovers, BMW's, and Acuras into the lot! 
  • having a yard to send my kids out into.  For their own good and mine.  I miss their ability to run off and go into the pool while I was working around the yard, or playing with their pets, or digging in the dirt.  When my husband and I did play tennis the kids inevitibly found a mound of ants, or climbed a tree or hid in their fort of bushes, but it wasn't quite the same.  I have to say that our son learned to ride a bike a 3 years old thanks to the parking lot, though, so that is awesome!
  • Farming.  I do miss being able to grow my own food and provide it to others.  'nuff said.  I'll get too sad because we had a great farm.
  • Pets.  We didn't move any of our pets and I am so gracious that we had wonderful friends take them in even though they were not young at all.  They have the best life they could have and are not having to stay in apartments and get flown all over the place, so that is good, but still.  We all love a little cuddle from our furries.
Well, we are getting ready to move on in less than two weeks and get back to visit family in the Midwest.  I am hoping I'll be able to keep you all up to date more as the days pass.  We fly out at the end of this month and can't wait to see our friends on the "other side"!