• 52°

Surviving yet another ‘first’ for me

During my first semester in northern Virginia, a huge storm hit with lightening that turned the skies purple. It was raining, but it was warm outside – a phenomenon to any Californian.

It’s never warm when it rains. A low of 55 degrees with rain is the worst of our winter.

Needless to say, I dragged my Ohioan roommate outside to walk with me in the rain. She thought I was a fool but got the message when every single person at our school from California was outside staring up at the sky like gold was falling from it.

Besides that sweet tea, there are few things that have been true novelties to me. But, even after living in Virginia for five years, I’m still experiencing a few “firsts” – to my undying embarrassment.

I had my first southern barbecue last week, and I will admit – although the vinegar burned my stomach – I did enjoy it. I also learned what a ham biscuit is. While I could guess what it was from its name, it was new to me to find out that entire trays are made of them.

Another first for me was a road trip in snow – before it had been cleared from the roads. I’m not sure how I avoided driving in the snow for the past few years in northern Virginia. I was probably hiding inside with my dear friends – DeTocqueville, Socrates and company – where it was warm and safe and had no need that would cause me to risk life and limb on the icy streets outside.

Last Friday, however, I made a 5-hour trek up to Sterling to pick up my brother and mother who had flown in from California for a debate tournament my brother was competing in.

My husband called to tell me we’d received at least eight inches by Saturday morning. At the time, a flake hadn’t fallen in NOVA.

I spoke too soon.

Within the hour, the skies dumped four inches, and it just kept coming. The next day I packed my family into my husband’s truck and braced ourselves for a slippery ride home.

I spent the next five hours in the most perilous drive I’ve ever attempted. We made it home safely and not too late. But, for the next three days, I found myself trying to stay out of the snow banks and upright. It seemed every sidewalk and parking lot in the area turned into ice skating rinks. I had to slide across everything to get anywhere.

I did however manage to survive my first “big” storm unscathed and clocked nearly 400 miles in the process.