You can take Susanne out of Virginia, but you can’t take Virginia out of Susanne. I do love traveling, discovering different areas, but it’s nice to go home sometimes too. Time and time again, I’ve left for various reasons and returned to the DC area for various reasons.
Grew up in northern Virginia from 1972-1986.
Finished college in Prescott, Arizona 1993.
Moved back to Virginia with my oldest daughter and went through a divorce 1994.
Worked for Greenpeace in DC 1994-1996.
Got my master’s degree 1998.
Moved away to Nevada 1998-2001. Taught sixth grade. Remarried 1999. Had another daughter 2000 and son 2004.
Moved back 2001-2004 so my husband could attend law school while I taught sixth grade gifted/talented. Click here to read more about that.
Moved away to Texas in 2006, visited Virginia in 2008 for a high school anniversary reunion, for a short weekend wedding this summer, and again last week to help my mom through a single mastectomy.
Cancer brought me home this time. It changes everything and puts everything into perspective. Cancer runs in my family. My father had kidney cancer and then liver cancer. He died from bleeding complications during surgery. It was a surprise to all of us because we knew about the previous kidney cancer but did not know that it had spread to his liver. Knowing my mom was facing it alone, I did what I could to help.
When I go back to visit, it feels like home. The city, the suburbs, the culture and history are all a part of who I’ve become. Landing and taking off over the monuments and seeing Washington, DC by air reminds me of so many parts of my past there. It’s where I grew up, and it’s still intertwined with my life in Texas. Back home in Texas where I am comfortable with my family and it’s another beautiful sunny day, I appreciate both places for what they offer and know that Virginia/DC will always be my home. Texas is my second home, a place where we can spread out and my kids can grow up and call home. This is where I’m growing roots after transplanting from the east coast.
This is a picture of the house where I grew up in Northern Virginia. My mom bought it and we moved in during 1972. She is still there today. There used to be a big pine tree in front of the left side of the house. I used to climb it as a child and sit high up in the branches, sticky with sap, looking over the neighborhood at roof tops and trees. Those moments were times I would steal away, sit back, and observe life around me. I remember doing roundoff-backhandsprings all over the front and back yards and wonder today how I did it when I see how sloped the front yard was. There were birthdays, homecomings, proms, Halloweens and Christmases in this house. Years upon years of memories, both good and bad reside here. What a trip to go back as an adult and re-experience it from another perspective.
This is truly the “house that built me.”
This is where I went to take a walk while my mom saw her lawyer to get her will in place. It’s a familiar park near my house where I used to go all the time when I lived there. It was a heavy day emotionally, writing her advanced medical directive and discussing her wishes just in case anything went wrong in surgery. I lost my dad to complications from his surgery for liver cancer and didn’t know he was having surgery or that he had liver cancer, so this experience with my mom was the exact opposite. I did get to contemplate in advance what would happen if she didn’t come out of surgery ok.
Driving into Lake Accotink Park in Virginia, the road meanders through a secluded forest in the middle of suburbia. Tall trees line the road, and the speed limit slows to a pace where it’s impossible not to appreciate the surroundings. During any season, this is a beautiful drive into a pretty piece of nature where you’d least expect it. It’s a man-made reservoir, but it is a beautiful lake with trails around it. It’s a perfect park for picnics, bike rides, runs along the trail, boating, and parties at the facilities. As a kid, I used to ride my bike all around the park and had fun rope-swinging into the muddy water with friends. I loved getting out in nature. As an adult, I ran the dirt trail around the lake and rode single track mountain bike trails off the beaten path. One of my favorite mountain biking memories is from riding single track at Accotink in the rain. The trail was really muddy, and I got soaking wet but it was a fantastic time!
I took a long walk and did some yoga in a secluded flat spot by the lake. Afterwards, I laid down on a bench for a while to let the sun’s rays caress my skin while my body relaxed. Lying in the sun is one of my favorite things to do; plus vitamin d is good for us (the sun is the only natural source of vitamin d). The fall air was crisp, and the sun was warm, warmer than I expected and warmer that day than the rest of the week. I opened my eyes, looked up and saw this beautiful view of a tree with spectacular fall colors. The striking orange against the clear blue sky reflected a calm yet vibrant spirit within. I truly loved taking in my surroundings at that moment. Pale tree trunks reflected the loveliness of the place with initials inscribed surrounded in hearts with arrows. It was obviously a place where many others sat to enjoy the moment.
In the final moments before my flight back to Texas, this was my view outside the airplane window. It was a beautiful morning at the end of a special week. My mom survived breast cancer surgery and was in good hands with friends, family, and a home health nurse. I was able to support her through a difficult experience. We mended fences and forgave each other for the past, and I focused on a zen mindset of being calm.
I also got a chance to reconnect with old friends and family members I haven’t seen in years. I appreciated my time there despite the circumstances. I felt reconnected with the place I’ve left so many times.
Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!