As I get ready to relocate from the Eastern Shore, I thought perhaps a little reflection on all I’ve gained this past 11 months would be a good topic to write on this week.
What I’ve learned in just under a year on the Eastern Shore…
I’ve learned small-town America is alive and well. I’ve learned about good neighbors that make time for each other and time for lunches together at the drop of a hat. I’ve learned that having a neighbor with a garden is a really nice thing! I’ve learned about hedge trimming and making a whimsical arch. And funnily enough, it took coming here to learn that Pittsburgh people bond no matter where they meet.
I’ve learned a bit about birds – I’ve seen a heron, ospreys, and a Baltimore oriole. I’ve learned a bit about plants. I’ve learned about the Wye Oak! I’ve been on a pseudo fox hunt and while not finding a fox, I did see a turtle, a few chickens, and horses. I’ve learned that chickens can be black and white! I’ve tasted an egg not from a store, but instead straight from a farm where I saw the chicken that laid it!
I’ve revisited what it feels like to be the youngest in a group. I’ve learned what it feels like to be the most technologically-inclined in the room which is such a nice change from how I usually feel with a teen in the house. (Heck, I even blog now!) I have learned that dial-up connections still do exist! I’ve learned that upgrading seniors takes TONS of patience (but my Mom already gave me an inkling of this one before). I’ve brought the older generations here the term OMG and I’ve relished hearing them use it.
I’ve learned so much about history. I’ve learned that there are public squares that girls weren’t even allowed to walk in in the past. I’ve learned that the word cousin used to be a proper noun. I’ve met someone who holidayed next door to Princess Grace, someone else who knew Eleanor Roosevelt, a person with a family tie to Queen Victoria, and someone who lived by Mr. Duncan of the famous Duncan YoYos of my youth.
Creatively, I’ve learned about art and an artist’s thought process. I’ve learned tons of terminology about the tools and concerns of an artist. I’ve learned why people take pictures of places near the water and where to find beautiful sunsets. I’ve learned that I enjoy writing and that writing clubs rock! I’ve learned that people actually make guns for museums and it takes quite a while. I’ve learned that there are groups for model boat builders and boy do they take building little models seriously!
I’ve learned that boating is a whole world. I’ve learned what a dinghy is and all that it can do. I’ve learned the term waterman and what that means. I’ve learned how to board a boat and that boats make me a bit dizzy. I’ve learned a few boating terms. I’ve been on a yacht. I’ve learned that the Fourth of July is very cool when you live in a boating community and all the boats are out on the water to see the fireworks. I’ve learned that when you live in a boating community even the floats in the Christmas parade are boat-related.
I’ve ridden on my first ferry and found it quite pleasing. I’ve learned about oyster shell driveways. I’ve eaten at a restaurant at an inn where Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, and Henry Kissinger all visited and I’ve eaten at a restaurant in the home where Robert Morris died. I’ve also seen the busiest counterweight drawbridge in the nation.
I’ve learned where crabs and oysters come from and what a crab feast is. I’ve learned how you eat an oyster (though I haven’t done it myself!) I’ve learned that the Bay is famous for crabs. I’ve learned the term soft-shell and what that means. I’ve learned that there is a rule about which crabs can be caught. I’ve learned people covet crabs and that crabs can be transported alive. I’ve learned that crabs are steamed alive!
I’ve learned that my son does better in a calmer environment. Conversely, I’ve learned what it must feel like to have a rock star for a son because I’ve also learned that when girls outnumber boys and you’re the new boy in school, girls can get REALLY aggressive trying to win your attention. Hence, I’ve learned that male/female ratio in a school is VERY IMPORTANT.
I’ve learned that flat land makes biking a whole lot easier. I’ve learned that it’s really quite charming to be able to bike to the store for a few groceries and I’ve learned that it’s even more charming to feel safe enough to send your son on his bike to the store for something. I’ve learned that I can bike much better than before. I’ve learned what it feels like not to be able to keep up with the over-80s on a bike! (Now that was a wake-up call!)
I’ve learned that the wind here is fierce! I’ve rescued a car from a flash flood when its elderly owner couldn’t get to it due to the force of the wind. I’ve been part of a makeshift ‘ambulance’ team to get an older woman to the hospital when she was knocked over by the wind and unable to get up. I’ve learned that I can drive the Bay Bridge and what a crosswind actually feels like!
I’ve learned that a lot of the things that used to matter in my life don’t really matter in the slightest. I’ve learned a slower pace of life and a less intense view on things can actually work and I will still be okay. I’ve learned what it feels like to do something completely different. I’ve learned that I can adapt – I’m not great at it, but I can do it. As rough as this past year has been for me, I am actually quite proud that I did it.
It’s been quite an educational year for sure!