P.S. No, I don't live here, specifically. This was a day trip to Occoquan, VA. If you're in the area, I highly recommend it!
I've mentioned before, what a crazy, wild ride the last few years have been. With one transition after another, I've felt like I was thrust inside a washing machine - getting twisted and shifted and wrung out until I could barely breathe. The unknown is scary, and as fun as traveling can be, it's feels safer to have a home base.
Now, I'm able to say - we are going to be here for longer than a year! :-D What a relief! Moving actually is pretty sucky.
But this new city has all kinds of bonuses! Here are a few of my favorite things about my neighborhood:
1. There are walking and bike trails! Living in a city is tough for this woodland child. I grew up with trees and creeks and catching frogs. Although I'd rather not catch frogs anymore, I can attest to my desire for green and fresh air. There have even been studies done showing how nature can boost creativity and will even add years to your life! The links are here and here.
2. It's diverse. One reason I love living abroad is the constant interaction with other cultures. I've been keeping up my language studies online (Korean and German) because I just love communicating with people who come from a different walk of life. Because I'm living near Washington DC, not only are there diverse groups of Americans, but also internationals who came from far away to relish this melting pot of a city.
3. There are moderate seasons. Maybe this is a weird reason for loving a place? I think not, actually, I've heard people complain about the constant unchanging, boring weather in California, the bitter polar vortex of New York, and the unbearable heat of Florida. Virginia has a great balance of spring, summer, fall and winter. Although I've heard that winters can get crazy...? I haven't lived here through the winter yet, so maybe I'm speaking too soon. So far, the variations and season have been superb!
4. There's always something to do. I try to keep a tight reign on my binge-shopping habits, which is tough when there's a mall or two in my backyard. I find that I'm rarely bored because I can wander around there, go for a hike, find a gym nearby, try a new restaurant, or even get involved in ballroom dancing classes, not 6 minutes away!
5. There are ample art opportunities. So far, I've been able to connect with tons of new artists in my area. I love the camaraderie! It's amazing to meet other people who have similar passions about life. I've also come across multiple arts organizations with open calls for public art. It's great to be a part of a local art scene.
This place has so much to offer. I love being in the comfort of my home country, but with the excitement of foreign people and culture all around me. Excuse me while I continue nesting :-)