Going from newcomers to grizzled veterans

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, July 3, 2010

This week will mark my first anniversary in Suffolk, and my, what a year it has truly been.

Aside from the fact my wife and I have yet to unpack the last of our moving boxes, we have taken pride in adjusting to life in Virginia. We may not be native Suffolkians yet, but we do have Virginia license plates. That’s a start.

The other evening, while driving home from the office, I thought of just how much has changed for us in the past year.

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It seemed like yesterday I was writing a column on how I worked to avoid anything involving the “4s” as I called them. That would be I-64, I-664 and I-264. I, for the life of me could not determine my left from my right when it came to the area highways, byways and interstates.

Anytime I would have an appointment, whether it was for personal reasons or for work, I would spend countless minutes Googling the location, printing out directions and using my iPhone for directions. And, many times early on, that was just to find my way home. I held my first meeting with the newspaper’s staff and spent most of it trying to grasp the fact that Suffolk is a city, but it feels like a county. It’s Suffolk. Yes, there are villages, but they’re part of the city

When it came to weather, I learned that Suffolk had all the great weather I was used to growing up in south Alabama. It had heat and humidity. It had strong thunderstorms and threats of hurricanes.

But, Suffolk’s weather also had things called nor’easters and a thing called snow. Then there was the whole pollen explosion in the spring that I have yet to get over.

Colleagues here would ask me sarcastic questions as I battled with allergies. “Didn’t you have pollen in Alabama?” My answer was, “Yes, but we never measured pollen by the inch.”

As we take stock of our first year, we have become much more comfortable with our sense of direction, our understanding of the city and our appreciation for the community that is Suffolk.

As Suffolk welcomes more and more new residents each and every day, I am quickly moving up the seniority list. Pretty soon, I may actually be able to give someone else directions — but only if I have my phone.