Autumn Adventures around NoVa

Deah and Chris, Congress trip, Washington DC

Some of my new friends are complaining that I never post any pictures of life in the US here, so I don’t want to disappoint. Being home is super fun! Here are some adventures I’ve had in the last few months while hanging around Northern Virginia.

I’ve been riding my bike more often- I did a very fun 25 mile ride with some friends in Dover, Delaware in September, and this past weekend I did a 56 mile ride to the end of the Washington/Old Dominion trail here in Virginia. The nice thing about getting out on a bike is being out in the fresh air, enjoying the fall weather, and not having it hurt every fiber of my body, like running does.

Speaking of running, I did the Army 10 Miler with my sweetheart and some friends, but due to security measures, couldn’t take my phone with me to get pics. But we kicked ass at 2 hours, 11 seconds.
The fall weather up here does something amazing to the trees. We don’t have beautiful fall leaves down in Texas- they just turn brown and fall off. Here in NoVa, they turn sunny yellow, brilliant orange, fiery red, majestic purple, and some just stay a glossy green. Really. It’s very beautiful, and it makes my daily drive home on Fairfax County Parkway really great.

Last week, I took a day off work to do some things, and wound up in a corner of DC that I had never been to, and ran smack into (not literally) the Washington National Cathedral. I had heard of it but never really seen a picture of it or been to it. Wow! What a gorgeous cathedral. I can’t wait to go check it out with some friends and tour it. We also were able to visit the US Capitol on a school field trip, and I took Chris along as a chaperon. We met the representative from our district.

And, of course, my favorite event of all time occurs around this time each year: Halloween/ my birthday. Accompanying that is decorating the house, carving pumpkins (this year I did some drilling!), dressing up, and going to Oktoberfest (where we volunteered for the city of Reston’s Oktoberfest at the wine tent). And getting a year old, which turns out to not be so bad (so far).

couple dressed as sheik and german beer girl halloween
Celebrating Halloween

Spring in Northern Virginia

Not a lot of travel yet this year- I’ve been sticking closer to home.  I’ve been busy though!  In March I ran a half marathon, the DC Rock and Roll Half.  Then a week later I visited family and friends in Texas for a week, and then flew back to Virginia, and welcomed Chris home two days later.  We bought a new convertible and have been tooling around in that enjoying the nice spring weather.  We hopped over to West Virginia last weekend and did some mountain hiking and enjoyed the area around Berkeley Springs.  The trees are in bloom and it’s a great time of year up here.  So happy to be able to spend it together!

We return to the US- and get married!

Deah in April in DC tulips

One of the great things about coming back to visit the US is the chance to be a tourist in your own country.  Some of the local or near-by sights that others take for granted have a new-ness to them that is refreshing.  And the ease of public transportation and the efficiency of the US National Parks Services is a great thing.

girl standing in front of great falls national park virginia
Great Falls National Park
man standing at C&O canal sign Chesapeake and Ohio Canal national park washington dc georgetown
Chris on the C&O Canal

After leaving Chad, we stayed in the Washington DC for a month, looking for a house.  During that time, we explored a lot of the hot-spots of DC, visiting monuments, museums, and restaurants.  My parents came to visit, so it was great to see them and celebrate with them.  We visited the Washington and Lincoln monuments on a beautiful April day when the kites were flying, the trees were blooming, and the flowers were at their most colorful.  It was great to see my parents again- it had been almost a year since our last visit- and Dad and I enjoyed the Smithsonian together, while both my parents got to meet my new husband. (We also took advantage of a rare time when we were both in the US to get married!).

We got hitched!

In June, between Chris’s training and his deployment, we had an unexpected free week, so we split the distance between us and met in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We spent a week exploring the city, as well as nearby battlefields, the US National White Water center, the Speedway, the Biltmore House in Asheville, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  The views were amazing and we learned so much about the area while we were there.  Plus, it was nice to spend some quality time together before a lengthy time apart.

bass pond bridge reflection last of the mohicans north carolina asheville biltmore
Chris and Deah in Asheville

Now Chris is on a nine month deployment, and Deah is job hunting for a librarian job in the local schools. Hopefully Chris’s work schedule will allow for us to meet for a long weekend in the early fall, or for a week at Christmas. Meanwhile, I’ve got some adjusting to the US to do! Reverse culture shock is a real thing.