- The birdhouse in the tree next to our new front door -
During the past several years while we've been traveling in many different countries with Clog America, I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon. No matter how strange the new surroundings are, after about one week in a foreign place, life begins to take on a sense of normalcy. I've seen it happen over and over again. Experiences and circumstances that seem so peculiar and unusual during the first few days begin to seem completely ordinary much sooner than you'd expect. And it's happening again.
Until last Friday, we'd never seen Centreville, Va., even though we've visited Washington many times. Centreville is a townhouse-populated suburb about 45 minutes from the Capitol and it's sandwiched among suburbs that stretch farther than the eye can see in any direction. There are townhouses packed pretty much everywhere except where there's a shopping mall or a busy street. Even though Don and I grew up in Los Angeles and Berkeley, respectively, we had no idea so many people could be crammed into one small area! That feat is accomplished by building up instead of out. Our townhouse is only about 15 feet wide, but it is four stories high (which, of course, means THREE flights of stairs inside).
All the townhouses look alike, which led to an interesting experience the night we arrived. Exhausted from the long drive, we had managed to find our way to a neighborhood grocery store and returned home after dark with enough food for dinner and the next morning's breakfast. As I was getting a few bags out of the car, I looked up to see Don trying to unlock the front door... of the townhouse two doors down from our own. Everything looks the same around here! Luckily, he caught his mistake before the homeowners came to the door.
We love our townhouse and it is quite comfortable, but it is definitely taking some getting used to! Everything is on a different floor. The family room where we study and prepare lessons is in the basement; so is the laundry room. The kitchen and a little sitting room are on the main floor. Bedrooms are upstairs, then there's a loft with another bedroom above that. I guess you could say it's a heart-healthy house. By the time we had carried all our belongings in and put them on the right floors when we arrived, we were already in better shape than when we got here! Now that we've unpacked boxes and hung a few photos, it's starting to seem like home.
Getting around is another story, though. We've only gotten really lost twice so far (and that's WITH GPS), but even when we know where we're going we can never figure out which direction we are headed in. Where are the mountains??? How can you tell if you're heading north, south, east or west without the Wasatch mountains to look at???
Amy and Colin have arrived from Alabama. We're so glad to have them stay with us for a few days while they find housing somewhere near Andrews Air Force Base. Maybe they'll help us find our way around....
Right now, we've only been here four days, but by the time we've made it to a week, I'm sure we'll feel downright comfortable here! And this is the week we begin our Institute assignment. Can't wait to meet our students! ~Pat~