Pushing the Boundaries

After spending the last three weeks in painting clothes, yesterday I put on a pretty sundress and took Ginger for a walk. I hadn’t really explored my immediate neighborhood yet, but as my apartment is beginning to feel more like home it seemed like it was time to push my boundaries a bit.

The area I’ve moved to isn’t dreadful by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not really comfortable with anything outside my four walls. Yet. It’ll come.

And wandering around on foot, taking pictures of flowers and learning the neighborhood, is an excellent way to get comfortable. And so I did. And it was–well, it isn’t home. There are trees, but the houses are ugly. And the streets are much busier. There are few sidewalks. Basically, it’s not a sleepy little historical district of a little southern town.

So I wandered, disgruntled and grousing, until–lo and behold, at the end of the street–I saw the cutest little ice cream shop. Photo6

And I made my way there posthaste. Because if there is a question of do I want a treat during a rather hot walk with a dog who really really wants to run, the answer is probably yes.

Correction: the answer is always yes.

Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness is an Eastern US franchise that offers a variety of dessert-type frozen yumminess. Their cream ice is apparently a hit, but I had an Italian ice.

And they offered like 14 flavor choices. It was awesome. I got the black cherry. And raptures ensued.

Photo2 Photo4Photo3

Did I say yum? Because omg yum.

And as I sat there, enjoying the deliciousness, I was still irritated by the busy street in front of me. Traffic was whipping by, I could see my house but I’d had to wait for three (three!) crosswalk lights in the intervening distance and it was all just a little too busy for my taste.

And I was deeply uncomfortable sitting alone to eat my Italian ice and even though it was delicious, life still just wasn’t quite right.

I sat there for five minutes or so, giving myself a stern lecture about my feminist responsibility to be ok with sitting alone in a cafe (I’m usually better with that—it’s just that uncomfortable is my default setting right now), when I noticed, behind a hideous fence a few feet from where I was sitting, a little creek.

Of course, I went down to investigate. I scrambled down a hill behind the shop, leashed dog in tow and trying not to spill my Italian ice, and found the most beautiful little park. Photo7

And I sat and watched the water.  And after a few minutes, I didn’t feel so very uncomfortable in my own skin.

And I stopped reminding myself that I had to push my boundaries and be better and braver and stronger and all of the other things that this whole move/grad school thing is requiring of me, and felt—just for a moment—that it’ll all be ok.

And you know what? I think it will.

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2 thoughts on “Pushing the Boundaries

  1. I totally agree about with “I’m not really comfortable with anything outside my four walls. Yet.” Having moved from a very undiverse (is that a word?) university community in Southwest Ohio, and having grown up in a small northern Indiana town also not exactly noted for its love of diversity, it’s taking me some time to grow comfortable with the area.

    Also, I totally know where Rita’s is! Have you discovered the network of walk/bike trails that connects College Park, Berwyn Heights, and Greenbelt? They are fabulous, very dog-friendly, well-traveled by others, and Lake Artemisia is a slice of wilderness between the metro tracks and Berwyn/Greenbelt. There is also a great farmer’s market off Paint Branch parkway with reasonable prices and a slew of veggies and fruit. Unfortunately, I have not discovered a good local coffee shop where one can just “hang” with a book or homework.

  2. There is a gorgeous bike trail back behind Rita’s–my dog and I explored for about a mile before I decided that we’d walked enough. And one of my housemates recommended the Paint Branch farmer’s market, I think I’m going to try it next week–I need some more green stuff in my life! And I’ve heard the same thing about the dearth of coffee shops, though someone suggested Ren Ten’s, a tea shop, as a possible alternative. And I’m totally jealous of your peaches! Now I’m really going to have to hit up a farmer’s market!

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