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Going bananas over Washington

When my son was just about 6 months old, he was completely and totally in love with bananas. At the time, more than eight years ago, they were 99 cents a pound in New York and the impetus for our move to Washington.

One day while standing in the grocery store looking at a bunch of bananas, I realized it was time to move. I thought they were a clear representation of what was to come.

Bananas had no business being that expensive.

I had only moved once in my whole life. I had lived in the same town I was born and raised until I was about 30, when my husband and I moved a few towns over. There was a side jaunt to Pennsylvania for college, but then right back home.

Moving anywhere other than within a 30-mile radius from my hometown was never part of my life equation. So, you can imagine how far torn-out-of-my-frame the price of bananas made me, to even contemplate such a move.

I called my mother-in-law, and, after a good, validating conversation, she relayed her own fears about affording their ever-fast approaching retirement. So, I casually started hunting for a new place for us all to lay down roots. Each day,  my mother-in–law and I would talk about places I found: one too hot or too cold, too far, too near and the list went on and on. North Carolina crept up to the top of the list of states we could move to; it was doable.

I Googled moving, or something like that, and found a website called findyourspot.com You were instructed to put in all your desires for a town or city, and they would roll out a list of places meeting your requirements. My mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I all got Washington, North Carolina, in our top five results. I now wonder what real-estate company or developer was funding that site, but either way, we packed the car and came for a look.

The rest of the story has turns in the road and all kinds of bumps, bruises and emotional scaring. But we got here, we are still here and it has taken a whole lot of work. Sometimes the grass is in fact greener on the other side, but it certainly takes a whole lot of fertilizer and water to keep it that way.

People always ask me, why here? They want to know why I would want to come to Washington over anywhere else. So many people I talk to are trying so hard to get out of here or away from “little” Washington they cannot imagine choosing to come here. All I can say is I love the people here; you all have welcomed me with open arms and have hearts as big as all outdoors, and for that I give you thanks.

Missing family, friends, familiar places and stories is probably the hardest part of moving; it hasn’t been easy, but it certainly has been rewarding. The life I have here and share with my family is one I would never have imagined for myself back in New York. And, thank God, the price of bananas hasn’t hit 99 cents a pound yet. As my husband likes to say when the bananas go up in price: “Oops, hurry up and go find another place to live, bananas are getting too high.”

This little town on the river is special, the people are wonderful and I don’t regret a moment of our move, not any of it, and most of you have even forgiven me for being a “Yankee.”

A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.