My entire body misses the Old Town today. I think it's because it has been cold here in South and cold days there were so cozy tucked into our little house, just the three of us. Usually I would make something like stew for dinner and we would rent a movie and pile blankets on the couch and watch a movie. We would put Charlie to bed and have homemade cookies and enjoy the feeling of being so cozy and warm and safe and happy and together (now that I think about it there weren't very many of those cozy nights towards the end of our time there as Ryan spent every waking minute finishing his dissertation. And doing an awesome job I might add).
I really dislike cold weather, as you probably already know. But since it was just part of the deal in the Old Town I usually tried to make the best of it (not without a lot of bitter complaining I'm sure Ryan would tell you). In South everyone just endures it until it is warm again and that makes it feel like it lasts forever (it's been in the 30s for two whole days I feel like I'm developing psychosomatic Seasonal Affective Disorder. And yes, I already know what a big wimp that makes me).
In some ways (some good ways and some bad) the Old Town was frozen in time. One of the ways that was good is that it was a small town and you usually got to know the checkers at the grocery store and the waiters at the coffee shop and you could count on running into friends or coworkers or acquaintences from church while you were out. Instead of "I'd like a cup of regular coffee, please" it was "Emily! Hi! So good to see you! I didn't know you worked here. How is Brad? Oh that is so good to hear. Charlie's doing great! Thanks for asking. Oh, right, I'd like a cup of regular coffee, please. Thank you! OK, you too! See you soon!" This drove a few of my friends crazy, but I absolutely loved it. I haven't been able to find anything like it here yet.
Here is a picture of the coffee shop (one of two where they always knew exactly what I wanted when I walked in--usually some variation of an iced tea and a chocolate chip cookie). And yes, the sky was always that blue.
(Ryan and I spent many hours studying at that coffee shop. Since we were both engineering majors in undergrad it was the result of a Friday night compromise between needing to study and wanting to go out and be together. We were KEWL! I also spent so much time there with my study partner Robert that when he ordered a cinnamon roll once they brought him two forks).
Anyway, I don't really know where I am going with this except to say that you can't live somewhere for nine years and not have it become part of you. And I miss it sometimes. Today I miss it a lot. I wish I was at the coffee shop now and that I was about to leave to pick Charlie up at his little church daycare where they loved him so much they made tshirts that said "Charlie don't go" and wore them on his last day and that on the way home I would be stopping at the grocery store with the blue and white checked floor (whose VP was in our Sunday School class) to pick up stuff for stew and cookies. When I arrived home my elderly neighbor would wave and tell me how big Charlie was getting and then we would go inside to make dinner and wait for Ryan to come home.
So tonight as I try to recreate some of our old cold weather traditions, I will also enjoy the things that South has to offer that the Old Town never could, like having my family close by and the promise of spring beginning sometime in February (and having a bedroom large enough that you can have a dresser AND room to walk around).