A few weeks in Virginia and I’m still feeling a little limboesque (yes, I made that word up, but I couldn’t think of a real word that describes how I feel). It’s to be expected; I’m only a visitor here, after all. But it’s really odd. It’s like a vacation at home. I mean, sure, there’s a beautiful view outside the bedroom window and a beach to walk on, but there’s still groceries to buy, bills to pay, meals to cook, rooms to clean, a dog to walk, TV channels to flip through—and all in a different time zone. There’s no freedom from responsibility that you get when you’re on vacation, no release from the daily stuff, which is one of the things I really like about vacations. It’s a lot like real life, and that’s a little disappointing.
I know I sound ungrateful, but you’re just going to have to believe me when I tell you that this is not paradise. Paradise doesn’t include daily, 7-mile back ups on bridges and tunnels. Nor does paradise have to have it’s own 24-hour TV channel devoted to traffic. Granted, we are not living on the touristy side of the area, which can be a good thing. It’s kind of like having a private beach, which is very cool. I’ve been told this is because we are on the bay side, not the ocean side, like Virginia Beach is. Apparently it’s crazy over on their beaches and is always packed. So, the good news is, we aren’t overrun with people here; the bad news is that it’s not grown up with things like shops and restaurants that you can easily walk to, which is a big deal on the days when your husband takes the only car. Not that I mind hermitting in the condo, but I’m the kind of person who could easily hermit every day, so I have to make myself get out and get among people so that I stop talking to my dog as if she comprehends everything I say.
Also, it isn’t the greatest neighborhood. It’s kind of bizarre because there are some really, really nice places not only on the beach side, as you would expect, but also across the street, interspersed with places not so nice. So there will be a $450,000 house (for sale) next to a row of run-down places with “Beware of Dog” and “No Trespassing” signs on their gates. When I walk Cosette around there, I have to be diligent about where she walks because there is a lot of broken glass and trash she wants to investigate and hopefully find something to eat. There are a couple of parks in town that I take her to, but to keep things interesting, I try to take her to different places during the week, and walking around the neighborhood is something different. They do have a large area that is supposedly set to become a park because they condemned the housing that was there originally quite a few years ago. However, the city is dragging their heels because, apparently, they don’t want it to be a park, they want more expensive townhouses and single-unit homes to be built there. Everywhere I look there are large, empty houses with “For Sale—Reduced” signs in the front yard, with a new one going up next door. It’s crazy.
There are some nice areas, of course, and I specialize in finding little gems in a new town. So far, I’ve found a British store that carries my favorite crisps (Walker’s Cheese and Onion) and candy bar (Picnic), plus some other cool things, and I’ve found a pub that is a little piece of Scotland here in Virginia, complete with pub quizzes. We haven’t been for quiz night yet, but I’m hoping we can get in on that. I’ve also found the greatest consignment shop, where I bought a gorgeous handbag made with leather like butta for $54. I never spend that much on a handbag, but what the hell. Oh, and that reminds me. For someone with a tote bag/handbag/purse/backpack/whatever fetish, beach towns are very dangerous because every store has the cutest totes!
In all honesty, I admit to still be working on the whole depression and crankiness thing, and a lot of my frustration is self-inflicted, so someone else coming here for 10 weeks might very well find it to be paradise. I know that if this was in the mountains somewhere, I’d probably be happier because I’m just not a beach/hot weather kind of person. And I’m trying to follow Al’s lead and be positive and let things roll off me, which is really freaky because I used to be the one in that role and Al was the moody one. I don’t like my new role and would like to be recast, please.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of the area around our condo. It looks much nicer in pictures.
The area across from us that could be a park if the city follows through.
Cool gnarly tree
One of the nice houses
The house sits across from this park--this one really designated as a "park"
Another view of the park.
Closely packed in on the beach side. Our condo is on the far right.