A (soon-to-be-former) RVA expat makes some big plans to love on Richmond once she’s back in the city limits.
I’m moving back to Richmond this spring, and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, I’m thrilled to be able to go get coffee from Lamplighter again, and I’m already lusting after a basil ice cream cake for my birthday from Bev’s,1 but there are other things I’m excited about too.
RVA has added so many wonderful things since I left. At the time, I felt as if it was adding them just to spite me in my absence, but now I’m thrilled that it’s grown so I have new places to explore all summer as I huff and puff my fat pregnant self around complaining about how “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” ad nauseum.
Of course, these items on my RVA Bucket List are just the things I know I’ve been missing. Please tell me what else I need to add in the comments!
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OK, technically, I had a pie from Proper Pie back in the fall, but it was just one pie, and they were crowded, so I basically got my goods and ran. I want to experience the whole world of pies Proper Pie purportedly provides. I kept trying to tell people that the reason Richmond is amazing is because a restaurant opened that’s entirely dedicated to pie. They just don’t get it, you guys. PIE. PIEEEEEEEE.
2. Sub Rosa
Along similar lines, my Twitter feed was a-buzz with horror when Sub Rosa Bakery caught on fire last April. People had so many feelings about it that, should it reopen, I knew I had to visit this magical, clearly beloved shop full of pastry wonders. They seem to be back, and so am I, so….om nom nom.
3. King of Pops
Just one more food-related item, I swear. Hey, guy with the artisan popsicles: watch out. I am COMING FOR THEM. You have been warned. You have been warned.
As I was driving around Richmond this past weekend looking for someplace to live,2 I saw lots of signs in people’s yards with opinions about the Shockoe baseball stadium. I am so excited to get to jabber away and debate the stadium with someone in person! I’ve tried explaining to people here that there is a stadium being proposed and people have OPINIONS and yet, nobody gets it. It’s a big deal! No more lurking on Twitter and chiming in with RVA people from afar for me.
5. More Baseball!
Speaking of baseball, I want to see some fireworks at a Squirrels game. I’ve never been there for the big fireworks, opting instead to lurk on the top of a VCU parking deck. But this year, I’m going to get my butt in one of those seats.3
I’ve been a customer of Chop Suey Books for years, but I’m going to admit my bad bookishness here in saying I’ve never set foot in, say, Black Swan Books. You’ll never know how gosh-darn nice it is to have the option of an independent bookstore with both new and used items until you go someplace where the only option is Barnes & Noble. Moving away from Richmond really hit home the worth of these things–you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.
What’s this? SCIENCE AND A PUB?! Sign me uppppppp.
8. My People
Speaking of not appreciating things until they’re gone, let me diverge from the consumerist portion of my bucket list and move on to the human aspect.
Before I left, I was working my way out of my social shell and tentatively trying to get to know people in my fumbling-bumbling way. Then I moved and POOF! all of that ended–not with a bang, but a whimper. I made some friends in my new city, but the lack of a community was really jarring for me. I’d taken so much for granted in Richmond. And friends, if I could give just one piece of advice, it would be this: do not take things for granted, be they people or the way your life is going to work out, stuff, businesses around you–take none of it for granted. One minute they may feel like givens in your life, and the next you may be pining after them. So many nights, all I wanted was to share a pint with a friend at Penny Lane, gabbing over the same Trivial Pursuit cards we’d been gabbing over forever. I would have cut off a limb to have that option.
It feels like I’m getting a second chance at things now, and I want to become a little more outgoing, a little more socially inclined, and a little more free with my time, whether that means inviting people to go thrifting with me instead of going alone, or volunteering my time to help others. It sounds corny, I know, but I find RVA to be a very welcoming city, and I want to be a little less prickly. I don’t bite! I’m just socially awkward sometimes. I want to be friends! I want to dive into getting to know people. I want to be more forthcoming with invitations. I want to be more willing to accept invitations, even if I’m anxious about doing so sometimes. There are so many opportunities to be there, to be a part of something–times when I could have shown up, that I simply passed by because hey, I was going to be in Richmond forever, so I could do it later. Well, I learned the hard way on that.
RVA, I promise. From here on out, I’m showing up.
Photo by: Jeffrey P. Horne