Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have done the same thing every day as so many of you have. For me, not much has changed every day since everything changed earlier this year. Coffee, computer, garden, walk, laundry, television, sleep. Maybe a podcast somewhere or a zoom. There is no FOMO because MO has nothing.
I admit that I basically buried my head in the sand a bit. I didn’t know how to deal with my travel business coming to a standstill along with the whole world. My business partner and I quickly postponed Jeneen’s Morocco yoga tour from May to November (we keep our fingers crossed that things will open up a little and that the countries will let the Americans in by then). My trips to India and Mongolia are gone. We’ve spent some time strategizing when travel re-opens, but we’re still pretty far from a time when people willingly get on a plane for 6 hours, let alone 20.
But everyone has already written about it and we are ALL living it, so let’s talk about something exciting. Exciting for me anyway.
I wiped off my old law school and in the meantime started doing legal work to pay the bills. It’s not exciting.
What is exciting is this: I’m buying a house by the river. In the country. Far from town, on the northern neck – a quiet stretch of Virginia between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. I’m just down the street from my sister and her kids and not far from my mother’s river house, where I grew up in summers and where I still go whenever I can.
I am excited and I am scared. Excited at the prospect of repairing a house and having my own place on the water after years of sleeping on the pull-out sofa in my mother’s river house. I look forward to being close to my sister, wife, and children. I’m looking forward to creating my own space after a few years of renting. I look forward to writing something.
But yeah, I’m scared too. Afraid of the prospect of straying from friends. Fear of the prospect of culture shock moving from a large urban area to a town of maybe 100 people in a county of fewer than 10,000 people. Will I find friends there? Will I miss the diversity of the DC area? Will that be a money pit? I’m pretty sure the answer to all of these questions is yes, but I’ll do it anyway.
About overcoming the culture shock, I really built on this blog. Go to new places and find common ground with the people you meet there. Appreciate the differences while considering the similarities.
I’m already getting a taste of one aspect of my new life: there are no secrets in a small town. The house I’m buying never came on the market; My agent just reached out to the owners when they decided to sell. And while it’s under contract, I’ve kept my purchase quiet. My agent called me one day to tell me that when she got to the house to set up a locker for the contractors, neighbors were poking around and asking what she knew about the house. They had heard that someone from Northern Virginia (who was already classified as a foreigner!) Was buying it and was a neighbor’s sister. A few days later, my sister was walking around the property and met another neighbor – the neighbor who had already told the owners on the street that he would buy their houses if they ever wanted to sell – who asked if she knew whether the house was on the market. My sister pretended to be ignorant. Finally, my agent called me and asked if the sellers could let the neighbors next door know. I debated and then thought, “Why not?” I have a ratified treaty and the news would come out at some point. My sister, who was sitting next to me, said, “I want to tell you!” and she quickly called two neighbors. And they called two friends. And so on. And so on.
Now the news is out. I’m moving to the river.
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