Life has changed, shifted into a different mode. The blog, in order to survive, must change or perish. Blogs in general are changing anyway...mini musings are satisfied with a quick post on facebook...I hate twitter for anything but blatant commerce...so the blog...what's to become of it?
More to the point, what about this traveling family? Are we traveling? Yes we are. Are we blogging? Well...as you noticed, not so much! When JieJie and MeiMei were not the most scintillating conversationalists and John was busy, this blog was a necessary outlet, an ear that would always listen. Now though, the girls have more to say, and a greater awareness of and desire for the respect of their privacy. I'm more likely to tell them things, and less likely to tell You things.
This summer has had a few memorable excursions, to be sure. Virginia Safari Park near Lexington (drove past Foamhenge to get there), the Family Drive-In in Stephens City, a memorable anniversary dinner and overnight at L'Auberge Provencale in White Post, VA (the fois gras...oh my), and last weekend, Endless Caverns. Later this summer we'll go on a big loop from Niagara Falls to Toronto, Picton, Gananoque, Montreal, Rangeley Maine, then a week on Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay (Portland) Maine. With grandparents. All in the same car. Yes indeedy! Will I write about it? I just don't know. I hope so, but maybe the writing will seem different. I'm just so much more aware that my account of things is not the only one (wasn't before, but I think you understand).
What I can write about, though, is the interesting process of researching cities other than our own, considering places we might like to live someday when John retires from the university (who knows when that will be). These discussions used to be so wide open they were basically useless, meaningless. But in the last couple of years I've realized that I do have very definite opinions about where I do and do not want to be. I like the eastern half of the country. I like not-too-north, not-too-south. Truly, I love Virginia and have been so happy to call it home for 20+ years now. I like having all four seasons, none in the extreme or for too long. I like proximity to DC, New York, etc. I like a variety of topography. Access to water. A convenient airport. And for my freelance work, a media market large enough to provide a diverse set of opportunities.
I've got it narrowed down to Richmond, VA (where I am as I write this, staying with extended family) and Nashville, TN (a place I've never been). A distant runner-up is Atlanta, but more on that in a moment. Richmond...charming, beautiful neighborhoods, some really cool new businesses locating here, creative building renovations (old elementary schools into mixed use commercial / residential prospects)...tonight we ate a lovely dinner at The Hill Cafe in Church Hill, and I had the fried oysters - yum! I have contacts here, clients here, and it's not far from the beach if you want to make a day of it.
Nashville...the music aspect definitely intrigues me. It's "one row of states over" from Virginia but same general latitude...seems to have an identity as a city, which is important to me...pro sports teams, good airport hub, universities, good housing stock, cultural amenities, music, music, music...but who knows whether or not I'll feel the potential to be attached to Nashville? So I'm going there to find out. Maybe I'll blog about it. Maybe I won't...not trying to be coy, but let's be real - I haven't been writing as often, haven't felt the need, the drive, to write as I did from China or from Antwerpen. I'm in my life at home, busy with work, the girls' school routines, deciding what to get for dinner, what movie to put in the Netflix queue. And that's ok! It has to be. Apologies.