Life in Virginia: One Year Later

It was a little more than a year ago that Brandon and I left our jobs in Roswell to start a new life in Virginia. So has it been for us so far?

One of the first pictures I took after moving here.

It’s definitely been an eventful year. We’ve lived in two different places, with our most recent move happening in July. Brandon’s held two different positions at Colonial Williamsburg, first as a Public Safety officer, and as Senior Preparator since December. I’ve finished a year of classes, presented at two conferences, and am currently working on compiling together comps lists while embarking on my final semester of classes (more on that in a future post). We certainly aren’t bored.

But do we actually like living here? Actually, yes, we do.

Virginia is actually a good central location for us. With my family based in New England, and Brandon’s in Florida, Williamsburg is about as close to halfway between the two places as we can get. Since we’re both from the east, moreover, Virginia seems familiar to both of us while also being a little different.

And the humidity? Actually, it doesn’t bother me as much as you might expect for someone who lived in a dry climate for several years, primarily because I enjoy the vegetation here so much. The only way you can support this much lush greenery is to have a lot of moisture in the air, so whenever I feel the humidity getting to me I just take a look around at where I’m living. Virginia is definitely not the high desert, and that’s one of the reasons why I like it. It’s different.

There’s also plenty to do around here. Between the University students, retirees, and tourists who populate this town, there’s no shortage of restaurants, and there are markets and other special events as well. The higher population density also means that’s there are more towns and cities to explore compared to southeast New Mexico, whether it’s Richmond, Smithfield, or more mountainous places like Roanoke or Charlottesville. And of course there’s Washington DC, and other cities like New York and Philadelphia are only a few hours away.

But what about Roswell? Do Brandon and I miss anything there?

It’s people we miss rather than places. Neither of us envisioned Roswell as a longterm home, so we never felt especially attached to the place itself. There were definitely people that we became close too, however, and we miss them. Our landlords, John and Branka, are exceptionally kind and generous people, more like family than property managers. Brandon and I also miss the camaraderie we had with our colleagues at the Roswell Museum. Finding collaborators you both like and work well with doesn’t happen terribly often, so Brandon and I knew we’d miss that team dynamic when we left. There are other coworkers and friends too that we think about; thanks to social media, it’s easy to keep track of what they’re up to these days.

I’ll also admit there’s a part of me that misses the authority that came with my title. I like not having to worry about a museum’s exhibition schedule, but it’s empowering to be in charge of a department too.

Yet we don’t lament the past. Sure, we made some great connections in Roswell and worked on some great projects, but we’re also doing exciting work here, and establishing important new connections here. Brandon’s been forming quite the professional network at Colonial Williamsburg as its Senior Preparator, and through him, I’ve been able to meet curators, conservators, and educators there as well. I also like my classmates at William and Mary, and have been learning a lot about different academic perspectives and disciplines through them.

So we might have given up a lot to come here, but it’s definitely been a good decision. We may not be here forever, but for now, we plan on staying here until I finish the program. After that, who knows, but for now, this works fine.

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