It's been a while since I've had a guest post. Today's next post in the series on why you live where you live is from Lara Newell of Who Framed the Newells? Even though we haven't seen each other in a looooong time, Lara and I have known each other since we were kids and went to the same church. She has a big heart, a great mind, and a fabulous sense of humor. (I have some great memories of church camp with her!) Enjoy Lara's thoughts on her (somewhat) new home...
I love living in Richmond, Virginia. Yes, technically, Virginia is not a northern state, but to me, it is the northernmost place I’ve ever lived. The weather, while it is mostly the same as my home state of North Carolina, seems to be colder. I even have the option of “Emergency heating” on my thermostat.
My husband and I have lived in Richmond for one year. That’s just enough time to have decided we like it here. And that we’re staying for awhile. Previously, we were a military family; my husband having lived in New Orleans, New York and Rhode Island. So how did we end up where we are now?
In 2008 we both graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill; I was on my way to East Carolina University to get my M.A. in Anthropology and Trey was getting ready to go up north to complete Officer Candidate School for the Navy. At the end of my stint in grad school Trey was finished with OCS and was stationed in Norfolk, VA while completing his sea tour. With no jobs lined up and not really wanting to go back to live with my parents I decided to move up to Norfolk to be closer to him. We both really did not like Norfolk. It just didn’t suit us.
In March of 2011 I was offered a job with the Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond, VA. I commuted for almost a year while Trey was finishing up his sea tours. In December of that year we moved to Richmond. We’re living in the same house we first moved into in Richmond; big enough for the two of us but we’re going to have to move when kids come into the picture.
Technically we live in North Chesterfield (part of Chesterfield County) but the whole area we live in is called the Richmond Metro Area. The Richmond Metro Area is a HUGE area! It encompasses an independent city and three counties. Fortunately, it doesn’t feel like a big city. Traffic is not really a problem, unless there’s an accident, and even now, during holiday-shopping time the traffic isn’t pull-your-hair-out crazy.
While Richmond doesn’t feel like a big city, it has all the great things that a big city would have: culture, food, and history. The whole Richmond area is a cultural center. There are always shows, fairs, food festivals, music festivals, and cultural festivals. There are a ton of exhibits that come through the museums in this area; Trey and I went to the Science Museum of Virginia to see the Body Worlds exhibit and we’ve seen the Egyptian mummy exhibits that come through, too. There are festivals and parties and fairs to celebrate almost any federal, state, and local holiday. And there is so much history here, too. Richmond was a very important place during the Civil War and a lot of buildings and homes that were standing during then are still standing now. Almost every building downtown is a historical building; that’s the great thing about Richmond: the city doesn’t destroy everything!!
Richmond is, unfortunately, not close to our family. Both of our families live in North Carolina and so we either have a 3 hour drive or a 5 hour drive depending on where we’re headed. Also, at the moment, neither of us have flexible schedules so we’re limited on when we can travel. Even though we don’t live too terribly far from our families it still makes me sad when we miss important things that happen. Sometimes, we just can’t get away and that’s hard when there’s something that happens that you wish you’d been there like a wedding, or a party, or a holiday. I think I would definitely balk and really consider the reasons why should we had to leave the southeast for some reason. And, of course, there are drawbacks to moving to an area where not a single family or friend lives. We’ve had to make new friends, had to learn how to get around, how to understand all the interstates and toll roads around Richmond. But we do this in hopes that we’ll truly be able to consider Richmond “home” for next several years. We’ve met a lot of great people and have seen and done some interesting things here.
If you’re interesting in visiting Richmond check out the websites below for some more information.
Lara lives with her husband, Trey, in Richmond, VA where she works as an Investigator for the Medical Examiner’s office. She and her husband both enjoy reading, cooking and trying new recipes, and traveling. To learn more about the Newells, head on over to Who Framed the Newells?,a blog by Lara and Trey Newell.