Monthly Archives: September 2011

Richmond: First Impressions

1. It rains in Richmond! Quite a bit actually. It’s interfering with some soccer and tennis matches as of late, but we are forever grateful, having moved from a city whose water resources are severely strained to say the least. Richmond is a very green place, and we are still getting used to the leaves, the soft grass…the luxuries of nature.

2. People dress appropriate to the weather. We’re hard-pressed to find a hipster outside of the VCU campus, and he or she would never be caught dead in their skin-tight jeans in the summer time (because that’s just ridiculous Austin.)

An obnoxious Austin hipster

3. It’s even more southern than in Texas. One of my tennis team members actually asked me if we were “going to be back from our away match in time for the Cotillion party.” What’s more, Christian and I will be attending our first gala this Friday. I bought a long dress; he rented a tux. I’m hoping they don’t expect me to have a “hair-do,” because I’ll be coming straight from a tennis meet and it’s supposed to be as humid as a swamp in Georgia.

4) Starbucks is in hog heaven…and we are not. We miss local coffee shops! There’s nothing wrong with Starbucks. The staff is nice. They are quite successful at what they do. But I’m a strong coffee drinker, and my husband is a French press fiend, and Starbucks doesn’t do either of those. Also, it frustrates me that I can’t order a “small” coffee at Starbucks. Every time I ask for a small, they correct me and say “tall.” Huh? No comprendo.

6. Public radio might as well go off the air. No amount of pledge drives will save these people. All they talk about is politics (Washington, not local), and there isn’t decent music. Perhaps KUT should come out and hold a workshop on how to be a more global and more hip. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss John Aielli. Gasp!

7. Mexican food is only attainable if we’re willing to work for it. I love to cook, and I do make some mean migas. But there’s something special about rolling out of bed on a Saturday morning and being able to ask my husband about where to go get breakfast tacos. Needless to say, we’ve already planned our culinary itinerary for when we return to Texas for Thanksgiving. I think we can squeeze in at least two Mexican brunches and  one happy hour.

Thank the Lord on High for Curra's Mole

8. People are really nice here. In Richmond, even your boss invites you over for breakfast, and the Brooks Brothers sales rep writes you a thank you note. I missed an orientation meeting with the Assistant Director of the Middle School, and I asked to set a meeting to get caught up to speed. Instead of having me to her office, she invited me to her house for breakfast (my favorite meal of the day!). She actually made eggs (with all the fixin’s), coffee, fresh fruit, and bagels. I never knew work could be so scrumptious. About the Brooks Brothers bit…No joke. My husband really did receive a thank you letter from our sales rep after we bought him a new shirt and some ties for his teaching job. I know this guy just wants our business, but that’s still really nice.

9. Cab drivers double as tour guides. My brother-in-law Robert and his girlfriend Jane came to visit us recently. We took a cab downtown to the Capital Ale House for some brews and burgers. Little did we know that the real fun of the evening would not be had at the bar, but rather, on the cab ride downtown. Our driver apparently considered himself an amateur tour guide. He informed us that we lived on the “John Smith Trail” (true) and that Mr. Smith was a famous Civil War Captain (not true). Also, the Malvern Manor apartments – where Christian and I once applied to live, with other young folk – was apparently a retirement home for “old, rich doctors and lawyers” (not true). Last but not least, he had some particularly slandering things to say about the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Ave and what “it had done to our Confederate history.” That was the last time we called for a cab in Richmond.

The Arthur Ashe Statue on Monument Ave in Richmond, VA

10. We managed to slip under the radar and gain access to the “Beverly Hills” of Richmond without having to undergo genetic testing or show proof of income. We live in the most gorgeous neighborhood right along the James River bank, which is lined with impressive homes. We happen to rent and are blessed with a little yard, a fire pit, two bedrooms and two baths! Our neighborhood has tall trees that are very green. Quite a change from Austin. We are so happy here!

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