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!