As we continue to find our place in Southern Maryland, Tanner and I are making new friends, going new places, and finding all the good food this state has to offer. It’s a small world, which means we sometimes end up making our way into other cities or even states.
This weekend we found ourselves visiting monuments and museums in D.C. Staring into the faces of former presidents as well as Egyptian mummies, we were in awe of the history that is preserved in this one city. We soaked up the warm sun and enjoyed the cool breeze while Marine One performed test flights over the National Mall and we searched all over for free water to drink.
After wandering around our nation’s capital, we drove into Virginia to the Sweetwater Tavern for some well-earned steaks. Like any steak house I’ve been to, the restaurant had a rustic western vibe with depictions of cowboys and Indians all over the walls. The waiter brought us a basket of heavenly bread that had the consistency of unglazed donuts (the yeast-roll kind you get in the hole-in-the-wall places in Texas, not those nasty cake donuts from national chains). Unfortunately, Tanner had a terrible migraine and couldn’t even finish his salad when it came out, but I insisted on eating a few bites of filet mignon, seeing as I was in perfect health, before we loaded up our meals and drove back into Maryland.
Tanner is all better, and not a single bite of steak went to waste. We finished out the weekend, Monday came and went, and now here we are halfway through another week. This time is flying by, and that seems to be a good thing. I continue to frequent local coffee shops and water-side bistros during the days when Tanner is working, and as much fun as that sounds, it will be nice when we have our own little house and I can do something to do other than spend money.
No, we don’t have our house yet. But it’s okay. We’re learning what it means to be content without all of our usual comforts, and I’m grateful for that. There is a lot of humbling going on in my life right now, and I know Tanner is facing challenges and learning lessons of his own. Since moving here, I realize how important my former job made me think I was and how that position made me feel as though I had finally made it and was on my way toward becoming someone of significance. Now that I’m in this new season of life, I can’t rely on my title or my salary to define how accomplished I can make myself out to be. I’m discovering what true confidence is, and I’m enjoying the time I have to pour into relationships I’ve let fall by the wayside over the past few years.
While it’s a nice, relaxing time for me to grow in so many ways, I’m confident that another good and promising position will come along sooner or later. For this reason, I’m trying not to be anxious about any of the jobs I’m applying for. As stupid as it may sound, this is easier said than done. Though I’m getting better, I still catch myself stressing over every application and checking my phone calls and emails like a maniac. But, what can I say? Lasting change often comes slowly—one step at a time.
Despite the little uncertainties that will surface anytime life is disrupted by newness, Tanner and I are excited to be a part of the community around us. It’s a strange conglomeration of people from all over the place. Some have spent their whole lives here and others are as fresh-faced as we are. Within the broad categories of where everyone hails from, there are many subsets of culture in Southern Maryland. We went looking for a Nintendo 64 video game a few weeks ago and found ourselves in a room packed full of young adults playing Pokémon and other such card games. Along with that group, I know there is a huge sailing community here as well as the Amish. So, there really is a group for everyone. Even Tanner and I are on the road to finding our niches. He randomly met another white person trying to learn Hindi last week, and I found someone who shares my love for the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice (Bride and Prejudice). That’s got to be a sign, right?
In all seriousness, I’m beginning to see and believe that there is a purpose to our moving here. At the very least, I know Tanner and I have already grown closer as individuals and as a family. We’ve been sick before, but we were just a few hours from our mothers. We’ve had to work through financial issues before, but we had two incomes and a credit union down the street. We’ve had to learn to communicate before, but we weren’t sharing a 9×13’ room. We’ve had to make friends before, but we had a city of hundreds of thousands of groups to choose from. Surprisingly, the inconveniences—those little uncertainties that have surfaced—are not so intimidating now as they were when the disruption of our lives was still just a thought. Instead of hiding from the newness of our surroundings and sulking in the memory of what we gave up, we’re both choosing to see the diamond in the rough. We’re learning that adventure isn’t always glamorous, and it certainly isn’t easy, but there is always fun to be had and joy to be felt as long as you’re open to such things.