Spending this Christmas without family has made me think more about our continued quest for a permanent place to land. If you’ve relocated as much as we have over the past 3+ years, you know how difficult it is to start over. Eric and I are one of those couples who value close relationships, and cannot thrive without their support. We have no family nearby, and each new move has forced us to start over, trying to meet new people, hoping we can someday develop close relationships with our peers.
When we lived in Ithaca, the community was so small that once you find a church you like, you’re pretty much set with meeting people and generating friendships. You can call someone and it takes them ten minutes to get to you. Despite a huge church blow-up, jading our view of the church that took at least a year to recover from, we still miss the people in Ithaca. Eric’s job wasnt quite what he needed it to be, so to avoid layoff, we had to move to DC. Working for the Smithsonian was a huge step for him, so we welcomed the new beginning. Since then, a series of moves around the DC area produced some unexpected connections as we struggled to find a place we belonged (and a place we could afford) in this super expensive area. Although Eric works for the Smithsonian institution, he is not immune to the condition of the crappy economy, so we are still scraping the bottom of the DC salary food chain until things improve.
The mentality here is different, no doubt. There is a transient population here similar to Ithaca due to the student population and the high number of political internships. Most people are focused on their careers and have no plans to settle here, and don’t care to develop close friendships. And sure, East Coast people are less openly friendly, I’ll admit.
We have been thrust into a new peer category lately: young parents. That holds some promise in finding new venues for connection, although I’ve noticed that sometimes the only thing you have in common with those parents is simply that: you are both parents. Not much basis for close connection. Don’t get me wrong–we have friends. Unfortunately all of them are 45 min-1 hour away minimum. A friend of mine I met through PGCC theatre dept lives closer to Baltimore. Without traffic(unlikely), it would take me almost two hours to reach her.
We live in Manassas and would love to invest in the community here in our town. As with all new moves, it takes time…we know. Sometimes we feel like a broken record, constantly talking about trying to “fit in”somewhere. Eric asked me if his expectations for relationships are higher than everyone elses. “No”, I said, “It just takes time.”
Its amazing we’ve been in the DC area almost as long as we were in Ithaca, and we still feel a little lost. Now that we’ve settled in our own place (barring any unforeseen catastrophe) and will be in Manassas for a while, I have hope the connections will come.