I have lived in Rhode Island for ten years now. I came here as a graduate student, stayed as a young professional, and now live here for the stage in my life where I care about school systems and might not move again for a while. My current home is the 7th place I have lived in Rhode Island, so the “not moving again for a while” is pretty significant for me.
I had an experience today that made me feel like I have finally acculturated myself fully as a Rhode Islander. No, I didn’t drink coffee milk and eat a stuffie. Nor did I give directions to someone comprised entirely of references to places that used to be there. I had a day where I needed to get a business associate from out of town from his hotel to a meeting with a stop for breakfast, then get him lunch, then back to the airport at the end of the day. All of these things needed to occur around my regular daycare drop off and pick up routine.
I was unsure of timing due to traffic, so I didn’t have a specific game plan in mind. But it all worked out. I got to the hotel, took a back way into the city due to a truck rollover I heard about on the radio, dropped off the baby, found a lovely breakfast spot that I had read about in Rhode Island Magazine some months back, got us to our meeting, then managed to nab a parking spot and an outside table at a perfect lunch place. All without the aid of MapQuest or any local sources of information.
This shouldn’t be that remarkable. I mean, I do manage to get to work every day, find new places to live when needed, get my car fixed, keep myself fed, and even go out for fun once in a while. However, there is a specific depth of familiarity that one needs with a place to successfully entertain and chauffer a person from out of town. It is an even more specific skill set if you want to avoid large chain restaurants and/or places that really only look appealing after dark and usually require some sort of admission bracelet, which is the category of entertaining I did in this state in my younger years.
It’s a nice feeling, having a sense of being settled here. I like that I can think of five great things to do off the top of my head when a gorgeous spring weekend is being forecast. I like that I have a library card for my town, and that I know where to get a good coffee besides the ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts. I also like that I know what makes a hot weiner such a unique phenomenon, and that the Big Blue Bug is an important traffic landmark. However, I do pray to Roger Williams every night that my son won’t have a Rhode Island accent, (may my native husband forgive me).
So, Fabulous Thing #76: Realizing I am home.