Hi mom and dad!
My perceptions of Virginia may insult every Virginian who reads this. I would apologize, but then I'd also point out the revenge has been served in the form of fruit flies that will.not.die. I think we're even.
I don't know if this includes all of the east coast, or even all of Virginia, but the west side of this state is completely "opposite land". This land is not Utah; nay, this land opposes just about every belief of science, biology, and human ability I had conceived in my Utahn growing up years.
We live in what people call the "quiet" country. Quiet means anything but quiet. There are bugs. (When the children are present we refer to bugs in hushed tones as "horrid nasties"). These bugs screech and scream and put to song the desperation some single people feel for a mate. This isn't just at nighttime. On my walk home during the lunch hour, I'm serenaded by at least 6000 angsty clicks and screeches at my feet.
It's dramatic to the point that I feel sorry for them.
The wilderness creatures are not what I supposed. Here, mosquitoes and house spiders are opposite sizes from the home desert. The former being quite small and black, and the latter being SO big and red. The deer in our yard don't give a darn and the bunnies rampage the vegetation. (I die over their little white bottoms. SO FLIPPIN CUTE.)
In Utah, you can control your garden. You choose what grows. This is how you feed your family.
In Virginia, the land controls the garden. It chooses what grows, and where, and for how long. Your garden exists to feed its family (deer, bunnies, vegetarian insects, some humans, etc).
After years of beating into my family that we are not a family that says Y'all, I accidentally said "y'all" yesterday. It was a dark day for the household.
My body has proved the impossible. After a month of walking all the places at all the hours and taking tennis lessons a couple times a week, my arms have proved that I am capable of some muscle definition.
The humidity sticks to you like a hot sweat that makes you hot sweat even more. At first it was bothersome, but I've learned its tricks. A few weeks ago I quit bathing, realizing that a jog in the morning fog literally has the same results as any old shower.
Our tap water is nasty, too. Like Russia water nasty. This water is the only thing we've managed to kill the fruit flies off with.
Rainstorms here are just as unpredictable as Utah, except a little more tropical, and a splash more fear. For about 15 minutes it rains hard enough that your suspicions of the arrival of the second coming are starting to feel validated. Then, without warning, it ends. The nearby river dries up. Life goes on. But then five hours later, the thunder begins to roll, and the cycle begins all over again.
This is the bridge I often take.
Note: To take this picture, I walked along the path like a righteous obedient person and still got caught in three different spiderwebs. That should give you an idea of the spider density population.
Virginia is probably one of the best places I've ever lived. Taylor isn't as excited about it (yet) [I hope]. I hope that will change for him as we get settled into our church callings as ward missionaries or when he starts a new job. There's something about getting invested in a community that helps you feel you really belong somewhere.
I'll post again on the culture and things we do to entertain ourselves here. (Like going to Walmart - so fun!)
For now, all my loves.