What brought me here today:
We’re a little past the three month mark for living in Wilmington. My husband and I feel as though we just moved here yesterday. While at the same time, we’ve lived here for a year or more. This could be due to the fact that we returned to the US, and not another country. The US is familiar, yet incredibly different from when we moved to Finland. We’re still feeling a bit out of sync I suppose.
There are some things that I’m enjoying quite a bit. I guess Wilmington is growing on me!
I’m getting much better at greeting people that I meet on the street. And I’m enjoying the interaction, even if it is brief. I didn’t realise how Finnish I’d become when interacting with people in everyday settings. Sometimes there would be a short verbal exhange at a bus stop, like “Has the #12 bus come already?“. But that was it. No small talk or joking around or anything like that.
Since we walk and take the bus everywhere, we interact with lots of random strangers during the week. In Finland I would never say ‘Hei!‘ and smile at a person on a walking path. That would be considered weird, and a little creepy. More often than not, I would say “Huomenta!“, usually to an older person on a walking path. But nothing more. And I’d say something similar to the bus driver when I got on the bus.
This past Sunday, my husband and I walked to do some shopping. Along the way, we discovered the Italian water ice shop open. We’d wanted to try some, so we got in line. There were several people ahead of us. One gentleman and his wife were picking up some water ice and a couple slices of pizza to take home. He was itching to get home before the football game started. He chatted away with myself and my husband while we all waited for our orders, and had a lovely time!
The week before, we had what I can only describe as the most intensely interesting bus ride of my entire life time. Here are some highlights. The bus driver’s son is in the hospital after being shot; his legs still aren’t moving. A woman that the bus driver drove past at at stop, because she was smoking a cigarette, got on the bus and was not happy with him. He told her he was trying to protect his health. She sat down, and an older lady asked the smoking lady if she remembered her. She did! They started reminiscing about family. THEN the smoking lady got up and walked to the front of the bus to show the bus driver she had tiny bottles of alcohol.
THEN…the bus driver encountered a car that was blocking the regular bus route. There was no way he could get the bus down the street. So, he backed the bus up, did a three-point turn, and took the bus in a different direction. He ZOOMED down the street, hitting every green light too! Then he hooked back up to the regular bus route, bypassing the block with the car obstruction. The entire time, there was more drama going on within the bus too! A lady that got on the bus was talking loudly with the bus driver. I couldn’t make out what they were talking about, but it was intense! My husband was white-knuckling it beside me, looking a bit overwhelmed by it all. He pulled the cord two stops before our regular stop and we walked home.
It was the most exciting, drama-filled bus ride of my LIFE. It was a complete three-act play in less than 20 minutes! I was ready to ride the bus until there was some sort of conclusion too! While walking home, we discovered that there was something happening about three blocks from our bus stop. There were a lot of police cars at a specific spot for what seemed like an incredibly long time.
My husband and I get around via the public bus and train system, and by foot. Neither one of us likes having a car. I personally hate having to worry about where my ‘giant, metal baby’ is and who might be doing some kind of damage to it. My husband hates all the added expenses that a car brings. Gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance. YUCK! Taking the bus or train takes a bit more planning at times. But the lower stress and worry for me is a fantastic benefit.
We’ve been conducting a once a week exploratory walk. Usually on Saturday or Sunday. And we include packing a lunch to eat in a park along the way. Sometimes our walks get a little out of hand too. One Brandywine Park walk was far too long. We were having such a lovely time that we completely forgot about the time. And how far we had walked from home. Needless to say, we plan our exploration walks much more carefully now!
I’ve enjoyed getting to see different parts of the city while doing this. It makes me feel so much more at home here. And it allows me to construct the visual map of the city in my head. Then I know how far one place is from another. It’s also added to my knowledge of the bus system and the routes.
Parks and green spaces:
I was so worried that moving to a city would mean that I would have to get used to not having plants, trees, and general greenery around me. It was as if I somehow thought that I was moving to a city made of nothing but brick, stone, and concrete. Wilmington is not that at all!
There are so many trees here in the city! Even downtown there are small green spaces that are well maintained with huge, lovely trees in them. Wilmington really goes out of it’s way to preserve and take care of trees. There are three lovely parks within a short walk from our apartment. And they are full of large trees of all kinds of varieties. The large oaks are my favourite. There are also tons of sycamore, linden, maple, and even a few walnut trees!
There are not a lot of ponds and lakes. But we’re on the Del Marva penninsula, and already so close to the Atlantic Ocean that it doesn’t bother me too much. One of the parks we go to has an amazing man-made pond that is part of an initiative to grow native species of plants. There’s ample benches to sit on and enjoy the pond too.
There are so many squirrels here! Every on that I’ve seen has been what I take to be a standard American grey squirrel. They’re not terribly afraid of people either. Some will stop and check you out from a comfortable spot on a tree. We’ve had some squirrels come very close to us while having lunch in a park. They must just be so used to humans, and humans with food, that they can afford to let their defences down a bit!
I detest grocery shopping. I’ve never enjoyed it. Part of me thinks it’s because I can sometimes make horrible choices based on my level of hunger at the time of shopping. My husband is the meal planner and cook. Trips to the grocery store with him are now more like just taking a long walk and carrying things.
Having groceries delivered for us means that our work day isn’t interrupted by a three hour errand. The one grocery store here in Wilmington within walking distance is still quite a walk for us. Add to that lack-luster produce offerings, and you can see why we have our groceries delivered from the Sprouts on the northern side of the city. We can get to this Sprouts by bus. The problem with that is that it takes a three hour erran and turns it into a five hour errand.
We shopped at Sprouts before we moved to Finland. So we’re familiar with the brands on offer there. Plus, the produce is a lot better. I should note though that even though the produce is better at Sprouts, it’s not as good as Lidl in Finland. But that’s another post for another time.
So, now what?
This blog posts only covers the bigger high-lights of things that I’m liking about Wilmington. There are other smaller things, like bodegas that make hot sandwiches. Or all of the amazing historical architecture just in our own small neighbourhood. OH! And Italian water ice! These topics will all be addressed in time. I’m sure.
Completely off the topic, I do have two new items listed in the shop today. Cassandra Tuesday and Annabelle Wednesday. These two little vampire girls are looking for a good home where they can help celebrate Halloween! There are stories behind their names. Cassandra is named for Cassandra Peterson. You may know her better as the character she plays, Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Annabelle is named for a character from the movie The House on Haunted Hill. This was the first horror film Cassandra ever saw. The Tuesday/Wednesday parts of their names is for the character of Wednesday Addams. Her original name was Tuesday-Wednesday. Calling them Little Vampire Girls is for the Jonathan Richman song.
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday!