Look out Red Hat Society, Hipsters are Coming to Richmond

I was reading hipstercrite‘s blog about the new Hipster Cities, now that the reigning hipsters of Austin, Brooklyn, and Portland are getting older and young hipsters need a place to flock, and discovered what I’d been guessing at: Richmond is starting to make a name for itself on the Hipster Map. While her blog lists my city as a Runner-Up (we’re not quite as cool as Asheville or Chatanooga yet), The Rumpus also listed us as one of the most inhabitable cities for Post-Grad Hipsters.

It makes sense. Walk around VCU for a bit, and you’ll see plenty of mustaches, skinny jeans, flannel, and Buddy Holly glasses on the art student population meandering about on bicycles. We have a Folk Festival every Fall, and while our live music selection is pretty slim (especially compared to cities like Nashville, Asheville, and Austin), we get good bands and can always drive the hour and a half to DC to catch the bigger shows (but what hipster wants those anyway!).

The cobblestone streets downtown that line one of our venues, and the Flood Wall towering over Shockoe Bottom give the city an authentic, dirty, OLD vibe, which is partly thanks to the enrichment of history engrained within those same cobblestones.

Then there’s Carytown, a shopping street filled with high end thrift stores, mustache gifts, street performers, and the only Record Store left in the city.

All this time I’ve been wanting to leave Richmond for a more hipsterific city, and I find out Richmond is on the verge of becoming a notable one. Talk about irony.

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Trying New Things – Like Falling on My Butt in Snow Pants

I’ve now hit 2 weeks with the boy (officially) and we’re finding ourselves using the relationship as a means of spontaneity. He’s someone who’s never really left the box he built himself, and I’ve always struggled with the company part of doing things – I have ideas, but no one to do them with. But now, we have each other to inspire us and accompany us on our adventures outside the black hole that is my apartment (seriously, time just disappears in there). So far, he’s been the one trying more new things (a jazz show, vegetarian cuisine and vegetables in general, dating a non-bimbo), but I’m tallying up a few as well (an adult relationship, for starters).

This Sunday, we’re planning a snowboarding trip. Well, he planned it with his friends and graciously invited his clumsy, balance-stricken, never-been-snowboarding-before girlfriend, who said yes after multiple assurances that she wouldn’t be a hinderance or a bother to those more experienced. This is new for me, and it scares me. The only other time I’ve pulled on those snow pants and bundled up for winter sports was 10 years ago, when my Dad took me skiing and I hit a tree while his cheap ass waited for me in the lodge, sipping wine and talking up women. No joke. The Snow Patrol (not the band, though that would’ve been awesome, being rescued to the sounds of “Chasing Cars”) had to come and “rescue” me and my bent ski pole. Please, God, don’t let this happen again. Great anecdote that it is, I don’t really want a repeat performance. Especially not when it will make continuous fodder for the boy to use against me, and make me feel like an incompetent athlete that can never correlate with his body-building athleticism.

“No, you go ahead down the increasingly difficult slopes all day, I’ll just be right here, taking an hour to run the Bunny Slope one time, on repeat, all day. And if I’m not, I’ll be in the lodge, drinking wine hot chocolate and taking pictures.”

I’m going to try though, and laugh off the tremendous amount of falls waiting for me and the snow that will surely be continuously eaten. And Damnit, I’m going to like it… if for no other reason than I’ll be with him, making fun of him when he tries to go super fast and slams to the snow below him.

High five for adventures!

Happiness

For the first time in a long time, I’m pretty happy with almost every aspect of my life. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good about myself with very little to complain about. Sure, at work my coworkers and I spend our planning and lunch venting about the students who drive us crazy and the stupid policies administration has set up, as well as the uncertainty of our jobs next year, but bitching about work is part of working. It eases the stress and makes you feel like you’re not a complete idiot, that everyone has the same problems you’re fighting against everyday.

But overall, I’m happy. For the first time in my life, I have a career and not just a job. I love teaching. I love coming to school and making a fool out of myself just to get a smile from students. I love getting to impart knowledge and a love of reading into students who have never enjoyed a book. I love being there for them (even when they drive me crazy) and being the one person in their life that cares about them. I love planning lessons and putting together videos and posters and activities for supplemental and kinesthetic learning opportunities.

I’m also the skinniest I’ve been in probably a decade or more. Not by much, thanks constantly-fluctuating-feminity, but I feel slimmer and healthier. I’ve cut my portion sizes down and my intake of sugar and other unnecessary substances. I generally just eat less, and when I do eat, it’s a lot of salads. I’m even considering making the jump to veganism (I’ve been a veggie for 2 years). Part of this is a direct correlation to Happiness Reason #3, but it’s mostly because I’ve been trying to be healthier and Reason #3 was simply a kick in the butt to get started. I swear I’m going to start working out soon, too… maybe some yoga…

Finally, Reason #3. The boy. It’s still super new, so I won’t go into it, but  I’m extremely happy with it and couldn’t stop smiling for days on end. Beaming.

I’m a Master…

Finally! After almost two years of discussion questions, papers, learning teams, and student teaching, I’m finished with my Masters! This means I finally get to add M.A.Ed at the end of my e-mail signature at work (something I’ve been waiting anxiously to do, sometimes going in and typing it just to see what it looks like before reverting back to my standard, boring, plain old name). I also get a pay raise next year (given that I get a job, and with my one-year contract and the budget cuts, I’m not sure how likely that will be). The best part, however, is not feeling guilty while having TV marathons that I should be online writing a paper… I can watch all the Top Chef I want, thankyouverymuch, and not have to worry about that 1am deadline that I’ve skirted so closely.

Success.

Good thing I have a job, otherwise these student loans would kill me and then charge me extra for dying, while picking apart my leftovers to squeeze every penny from the lint.

Please don’t fire me.