I've lived in the Northern Virginia area since I was thirteen. (Thirty years!) Before that, we lived in small-town Tennessee--quite happily, I might add. It was really hard for me to adjust to this area when we first moved. I was used to having the same circle of friends since I was a tot; I'd never spent a second worrying about what kind of clothes I wore; and I'd certainly never thought about how I talked. When we arrived in the D.C. Metro area, I was thrust into a huge middle school (double the population of my school in Tennessee) with kids who were unfriendly and snooty with a tight-knit group of friends from their elementary school. Suddenly, I didn't have the right clothes, and I was keenly aware of it. I had a weird accent, and the kids made fun of me for it.
In my hometown, everyone was friendly; people smiled and talked to each other on the street--even people they didn't know. In Northern Virginia, it seemed like no one talked to anyone. We lived for six years on a highly populated street, and we only knew one neighbor.
Sadly, things haven't changed much in this area. I'm the one that's changed and adapted. I know better than to make eye contact with people when I pass them on the street, and I no longer have expectations of friendship from people at work or church. I've learned the rules of engagement.
This regional aloofness coupled with rising housing costs, increasing traffic (and it's always been bad), and soaring overpopulation, prompted me and my husband to seek a life down south. We'd like to be closer to our families, and we're at an age where we'd like to have a simpler (and cheaper) way of life.
At our age, it's not easy. We have to think about getting jobs and selling houses and finding new friends. But we pray that the outcome is worth it.
Have you relocated?