It’s the second week of May and as you all know, I’m here in Lynchburg, Virginia for my second travel nursing assignment. It’s quite lengthy if I tell you everything that happened since my first day here, but I figured you can benefit from this post if I tell you stuff that surprised me from a Texan’s point of view. OK, before you react violently, I’m not from Texas originally, lol, but I’ve spent my last three years in Texas and even if I deny it, I’ve been accustomed to some of its ways and culture. Howdy y’all!
These little things that I observed are from my two weeks of stay, so I’m sure there’d be more to this list in the next months. But for now, here are five things in Lynchburg that surprised me.
1. Lynchburg has no HEB
I already expected the absence of Whataburger (oh snap, YES it is real!) but HEB? I honestly thought that it is America’s first choice when it comes to grocery shopping. Next to Walmart, of course. But really?! HEB is like TX’s go-to grocery store. So on our first week, Luis and I searched for an alternative and found out that Lynchburg has a community market. How cool is that? We haven’t been there yet, but we’re planning to go next time we do our grocery shopping. For this week’s groceries, we went to Kroger and applied for their membership. I know that we’re only staying for three months, but I couldn’t say no to the nice sales person who offered a discount. Kroger looks like HEB but with more organic options I think.
I actually like Kroger even though it’s more expensive than HEB because of its quality ham. I know it’s a petty reason but we always buy ham for our sandwiches and I can assure you that I love their sweet ham. It’s nothing like the HEB brand. lol sorry! Anyway, the size of the establishment is almost the same as HEB so maybe we won’t miss the latter that much.
2. Roller coaster roads
YES, I know we are in the Hill City, but nobody briefed us about our route going to the hospital and that the drive every day would feel like we’re in an amusement park. I loved it at first but my gut doesn’t. I know we’re only feeling like this at first and it’d go away eventually, hopefully soon. I’m not complaining, though. It’s not that bad. On a different note, I commend the drainage system in the city because even if it rained many times last week, and even with those dips in major alleys, we never had an issue with flood build-up.
The only issue actually is the gas. I think the car consumes more fuel to go up and down, right? Or am I making this up? But it makes sense though, because of the force going up. But I don’t really know. Lol.
3. Erratic weather
I was totally expecting a cold weather! You can’t blame me, Lynchburg is in the mountain. And a week before our trip, I was looking at my phone’s Weather app in order to monitor the trend of temperature- it was ranging from 40s to 60s. Travelers could relate to this: weather is crucial for packing because jackets, boots, and coats take a lot of space. I was not disappointed that it’s not cold because I don’t like snow or anything under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. My DNA likes tropical weather, don’t get me wrong on this one. However, when packing is compromised with minute details like this, it’s a little frustrating. I should have brought more summer dresses! Lol.
Anyway, the weather has been amazing so far! There are little rain showers that we experienced but it didn’t really last that long. We were able to go to parks and nearby stores on our first week which is pretty cool because we didn’t expect to explore the place before our clinical duty starts. So the weather actually did us a favor. It’s somewhat erratic, but totally manageable.
4. Low cost of living
We’re in Virginia so I anticipated that our cost of living would dramatically increase. Thank God, it didn’t. I was amazed that we didn’t have to adjust our monthly expenses. It’s almost the same! We were even able to rent a three-bedroom house for only $1250/mo including all our utilities except our Wifi installation. Groceries cost the same; we usually allot $150/week, more or less. Gas doesn’t vary much throughout the country so I’m not really expecting that to change.
For a small city, the cost of living is well distributed- from housing to food. I can’t really tell if it’s actually balanced with their job opportunities and wage range. It’s hard to estimate on our part because our travel contract is only good for three months.
Oh speaking of housing, I want to share with you how we found this temporary home of ours. Initially, we were planning to stay in a hotel for two weeks like what we did in Lufkin. Then just scout around for an apartment that accepts short lease and is move-in ready and at the same time, pet-friendly. So we arrived here in Lynchburg Sunday morning, like around 8am; the check in time at our hotel was 3pm. So we had extra time to explore. But then we were so tired to even tour around. We ended up at Centra General’s parking lot after I was able to convince Luis to check out our workplace.
So while we’re at the parking lot and killing time, I browsed Craigslist for housing rentals and sublets nearby. And there we found Gwen’s post about this house. I called the number enlisted and he immediately responded. I told him we’ll see the place, and right there and then, we signed the contract and cancelled our hotel booking. Such a rush but this is totally one of those unexpected blessings. Not only did we save expenses for a costly hotel booking, we did settle in perfectly in no time!
5. Friendly neighborhood
We were so fortunate to be in our little neighborhood in Yancey Street. The people here greeted us with warm smiles and enthusiastic nods. We learned from the house’s owner that the place is homed by only one extended family that’s why everybody knows everybody. And they are very helpful, too!
Don’t judge me for this but on our first day, I thought I lost my little kitty, Pumpkin! I went all hysterical and did a pretty ugly cry for this. It’s because I opened the door going to the backyard and I didn’t realize that Pumpkin is just around lurking at the corner. You know how cats are. So when I couldn’t find her inside the house, I panicked and instantly thought that she ran outside. I then approached our friendly neighbors and told them about my missing furry companion. Without much introduction, they immediately helped us look for Pumpkin. All those trouble only to find out that Pumpkin was hiding under our bed. Geez! What a first day.
Let me just share with you some of the photos we took while we toured around. We haven’t really explored the place but since we’re so excited to be here, there you go:
So far, we’re liking it here.
Where are you planning to go this May?
Let me know in the comments!
I’m twenty five years old, and for 25 years, I’ve had rebonding six times, gone to salon more than fifty times, and used a straightening iron more times than I can remember how my natural hair looks like.
You see, I have an unexplained dislike for my curls. I can condemn the culture I grew up in for popularizing the distasteful “kulot ay salot” (curly is cursed) or I can unapologetically point my finger at the ugly society altogether for coercing everybody to fit in a mold of what normal should look like, or for teaching us to desire what we don’t have.
Since I grew up with a curly hair, it’s “common” to want a straight hair simply because it’s easier to manage. Having curls demands time, effort, and lots of patience. Braids and mainstream hairstyles need a lot of adjusting, gels, and hair wax to maintain our hair kept for the whole day. We can’t just wake up, take a photo, and caption it with #wokeuplikethis and not look like a bruha with a nest on our head. No, I’m not even exaggerating.
So you’ll know by now where all the hair change came from. Right now, my hair is a little over shoulder-length, naturally bouncing with curls, and I’m totally loving it. If you ask me 10 years ago if I’d love my hair today, I’m sure my answer would be different. It takes a lot of maturity to accept what you have, and to feel content with what you are given.
When I accepted the 30-day challenge by Hairstory, I thought I’ll regret abandoning shampoo and conditioner. With the type of hair that I have, it’s pretty scary to try a product meant to “restore” my natural crowning glory. There are doubts, sure. But I was more afraid of what I’d feel afterwards. What if I don’t like it? How would I write about it? What if even after all this time, I still hate my curls? It was a pretty rough decision for me- but then again, that’s why it’s called a “challenge.”
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’d notice that I’m pretty obsessed on how I do my product reviews. It’s either I like it or not. And I always tell my sponsors about that, and every time, they’d tell me beforehand that I’d love their products. Maybe it’s to condition me as well that everything will turn out great. And true enough, my experience with Hairstory was nothing but extraordinary.
Say no to shampoo. New Wash is the new way to clean hair with aloe and essential oils – instead of detergent – to respect the natural moisture barrier. New Wash works on EVERY type of hair, and you’ll never need conditioner again to mask the damage that shampoo and detergent cause. Rediscover your hair, restore its vitality, and prepare to be amazed. –Hairstory
Not a shampoo? Not a conditioner?
I know it’s hard to fully grasp the idea. But let me tell you what I know. Let’s start with its cleansing properties. It claims to have Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice which cleanses pores and balances scalp pH. It also adds shine and softness, and surprisingly has anti-inflammatory properties. That means if you have dandruff or itchy scalp, this could be a great option to try. Another ingredient that I like are Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil and Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil. They both loosen and dissolve hardened sebum around the hair follicle that can cause hair loss. I don’t know if you experience hair fall frequently, but I do, and it’s one thing that I observed from using New Wash- less hair fall!
And they say, no conditioner, right? So how come my hair feels really soft afterwards? Let’s take a look at its conditioning properties as well. First of all, it has Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine that conditions without build-up; unlike commercialized conditioners, New Wash has this property to improve wet and dry combing and to provide static control. It doesn’t only help with moisture and shine, it also prevents hair damage. I’ve heard of Equisetum Hiemale extract before for its rich mineral content so I’m quite surprised to know that New Wash also contains this mineral. This helps to strengthen and condition the hair shaft; provides shine and elasticity; promotes circulation and rejuvenation with a soft, smooth, firming effect on skin.
In terms of packaging, it’s what minimalists have in mind when they think of presenting a product. New Wash is contained in a white box with bold and orange letters. I find it cool because they have their own way of making a statement in a world full of definitions and unnecessary details.
Scent. If you’re someone with a penchant for flowery scent, this is not your guy. I find it minty with a hint of eucalyptus and therapeutic oils more than anything. It’s relaxing and refreshing at the same time. The scent actually reminded me of the last time I went for hair spa. It kinda gives you that vibe.
HOW TO USE
- Expect a totally new experience:
- Thoroughly wet hair.
- Cover hair and scalp with New Wash.
- Be sure to use enough! Not enough = Not clean.
- Take a few minutes to massage it into hair and scalp to distribute evenly. (This is my favorite part because the scent is just relaxing. I really took the time to massage my scalp.)
- Make sure to rinse extremely well.
- For long hair, comb through before rinsing.
- Do NOT condition; you won’t need to
- Revel in your new, modern, amazing hair.
Let me just tell you that it’s not runny like other shampoo. It’s not slimy either. The texture is more like lotion but less sticky, if you know what I mean. It doesn’t bubble, too. And that is actually a good thing because you’re finally putting something that benefits you in the long run.
Do I like it? YES.
I’ll rate it 4 of 5. But the remaining 1 is mostly for the price. It costs $40 per 8oz, and I know it’s expensive for a consumable commodity.
After using it for 30 days, I feel like my hair is less greasy and more moisturized. I actually thought I can pull a bangs with this since my issue with it is getting pimples on my forehead. But then I got so satisfied with my hair right now that I can now go out without putting any hair products on. Just my bare hair- feeling more bold and amazing than everr.
This New Wash challenge is more of an eyeopening thing for me, to be honest. It’s not every day that you’d think about why we use stuff that we use, or act the way we act. If we knew decades ago that shampoo could be out of equation, do you think the way we treat our hair would be different? It’s not also every day that I get to assess my hairstyling choices and how they affect my hair in general. If you’re into embracing the natural “YOU,” I swear you’ll love this product like I do. At the end of the day, what matters is how you see yourself.
Whether you have a flat and thin hair or a curly-all-over-the-place tangles, or perhaps you’ve just recently dyed your strands in unicorn hues, whatever your hair story is, I’m telling you: your hair story is meant to be shared.
and see it for yourself!