I'm from Loudoun. Born and raised. And so were my parents, my grandparents, and generations before. My grandma was born and married on the land where my mom and I both graduated high school where Broad Run stands today... But if you ask my Mama, she says to say our family had the Solomon Farm (since they are family and all) where Redskins Park is because that was so clean, and well, our family farm wasn't always that way.:) I ride through Sterling Park and still see the beauty of it. I smile as I walk down Juniper at Christmas remembering our house on Oak Tree, and I grin when I ride by this little old rambler that is now a scuba shop... Because that was the house my grandfather hand built and raised my mom in- and don't ya know, that was the cream of the crop back then and on the home tour because it had a fireplace, wood floors, and was one of the first homes with olive green appliances- Fancy, schmancy.
My parents chose to leave Sterling and raise us in a little town called Arcola. We had to stop for the cows to cross the road (where Brambleton Towncenter is now) and the local celebrity was Les Pangle. We had a pet cow named Big Red that made me turn vegetarian one year when he became our meals. And another time, I gave birth to a cow. Well, not really, but the poor baby calf got stuck and a bunch of neighbors tied a rope to its hoof and we all had to line up and pull. Errbody knew errrbody in Arcola. In 3rd grade, Ashburn Farms and the Village started building, and those "subdivision kids" started coming to our schools.... "Don't Fairfax Loudoun" stickers started popping up on cars, and a little over a decade later, I was off to Virginia Tech and when people asked where I was from, I'd respond just like the rest of the school, "I'm from NOVA." Yep, my little piece of country was now like the rest of the area... rows of houses and Ashburn had turned Ca$hburn.
Growing up, I never thought I'd live here. But then you get married, move away, and realize, that that place you wanted to leave to conquer the world was actually your world. It was in your blood and where you wanted to raise your own children- just like you had been- with those crazy people you call family that you couldn't bear to be away from.
Good 'ole Loudoun County- land full of beauty and history. And houses and taxes so expensive you want to croak. We, like many, have those fleeting thoughts of "let's pick up and leave and move to a small town or North Carolina or somewhere we aren't house poor." When we most recently sold our home, our grand plan was to move to Winchester- to cut our property taxes in half, buy a small house, and feel like we're ahead of the game instead of working to live. Well, that didn't happen because as much as we bitch, moan, and groan, we realize that right here is where we want to be. While we dream of "getting away from it all- the crazy youth sports, the nights where we sit around and say to ourselves "what the hell are we doing wrong?" and "what are all of these people doing around here that we aren't" because we can't keep up, and all of this "keeping up with the joneses" mentality to live life more simpler, this place is made up of all the things we love. Friends, family, great schools, and beautiful surroundings.
So yep, we're moving to Western Loudoun and hoping it's at least a little slower. I mean, there is no Target there afterall. And when I was growing up, those people were a different breed- I mean the one time when I was seventeen I went out with my "Valley" friends, I ended up in a tattoo parlor in Berryville.:) But if it's not any different there, we're okay with that.
Ya see, after selling our home, moving to an apartment where we are so squeezed in with all of our belongings instead of coughing up money for a storage unit that we feel like we can't breath- it's that very short of breathness that has breathed new life in us.
Living here, and taking a step back from it all has made us realize more than ever how wonderful Loudoun is. Sure, it's filled with high falootin' rich folk that we'll never be... but it's also filled with amazing people. People that don't care where you live or what you have. People that have proved to us that they will still call, be there for you, and that the friendships you've made are real and not superficial. Friends may no longer be at our fire pit, but instead they are showing up at our son's baseball game to spend time with us. Friends invite us to trick or treat, invite us over for a Saturday night because they know we are stir crazy, and call just when ya need it. And ya never know- some of those "high falootin'" peeps are actually the most down to earth, best people you've ever met when you stop being so judgmental and take the time to meet them.:)
I've realized that so much of the "we'll never be able to keep up" is just in our heads- because at the end of the day, who the hell cares. The people in our lives love us for us, not what we have and they could care less about any of that. Surround yourself with those you love and the next time you have to say where you are from, smile, and despite the traffic and headaches, and everything that goes along with it, say that you are from "Nova". I know I will.