September 1, 2011 by Leah
Duke and I have been here in Walla Walla since Monday night (Aaron arrived on Sunday), and it has been busy.
Our borrowed RV is a godsend. (Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!) For some reason, I’m much happier here than I would be at an extended-stay hotel (like the one we lived in in Long Beach). We’re staying in a nice RV park that is a six-minute drive from Aaron’s office. It’s also next to a dog park, but after two attempts at attendance that ended in our stressed-out dog barking and growling at the other dogs, we think we won’t be going back. There’s a nice grassy area by a little creek that runs behind the RV park that has lots of good smells.
I’ve applied for two jobs since arriving (and one before I got here). One is in arts administration, one is a writer gig, and one is an agricultural accounting position. I feel much more encouraged about eventually finding some kind of employment than I ever did in Southern California.
We got the name of a real estate broker from the RV park owner, and met with him yesterday. He seems to know his stuff, and we have already looked at one house. We should be looking at several more today, and we also may have a lead on an adorable short-term rental that could turn into a private sale if the place is as great as we think it is. We’ll see (the inside of) that one on Friday (er, tomorrow).
Safeway is the same everywhere.
I love my new butcher shop. We had top sirloin steaks last night and they were the bomb, and very reasonably priced.
I also love my mother-in-law, for various reasons including: she volunteered to drive 1300 miles with me in four days, and she takes me shopping in her garden whenever I stop at her place near Portland. (I was still thinking of the steaks, actually, and how well they went with beans and potatoes from said garden.)
Still on food… Everything seems very reasonably priced here. A gallon of Pure Eire Dairy‘s grass-fed raw milk (which I think is even more delicious than that from Organic Pastures) costs $2 less than the lowest-priced Organic Pastures milk I ever found in Long Beach. I’m saving close to $6 per gallon over Organic Pastures raw milk as offered in mainstream natural foods stores. (On the deliciousness note: based on pictures, Organic Pastures seems to have at least some Holsteins among its herd. I recently learned – from two separate sources within three days – that Holsteins are great for conventional dairying as they have a colossal milk output, but Jerseys and heritage breeds have higher-quality milk with a higher cream content. Taste coincidence? Probably not. In OP’s defense, the Holsteins on its website look much healthier than the one on Wikipedia.)
College Place (which I guess you could call a suburb of Walla Walla, although it would take 15 minutes to drive from the outskirts of College Place to the opposite end of Walla Walla) seems to be an almost-exclusively Seventh Day Adventist enclave. This is interesting as there are several affordable homes for sale there. I’m reading about the religion and think we would be happy to have Adventists as neighbors. (No leaf blowers on Saturdays!!) The only downside is there would almost certainly be a dreaded Home Owners’ Association as the homes for sale are mostly new construction. I don’t think I would do well living under an HOA. Besides, would they want us as neighbors? We eat pork. Hmm.
Speaking of Adventists, there is a large (for this area) billboard just outside of the RV park with a picture of the OB/GYN team at Walla Walla General Hospital (which includes a midwife) that says: “Your baby, your health, your way,” and: “Adventist health,” which makes me wonder if the comparatively low (but still shamefully high) c-section rate of 24.9% at that local hospital has anything to do with Adventist beliefs about health, birth, etc. (Mind you, I have no idea what those cultural practices actually are.) I’ve seen data that correlate low c-section rates with populations that encourage multiple children per couple (like Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, which serves a large Orthodox Jewish community) – could that be a factor here? (I pretty much wrote that entire paragraph in hopes that it would interest my Medical Anthropologist friend. Kim? Isn’t this vaguely germane to your thesis? I think the advertising aspect of it is particularly interesting.)
Anyway. I think my learning curve is still on the steep side. This place has a surprising amount of depth for having only 30,000 people. All the surrounding wineries have tasting rooms in the adorable downtown. Whitman College looks idyllic. (Good choice, Aaron. And many of Aaron’s friends. And many of my high school classmates… Hmm, I’m sensing a pattern here.) There are serious restaurants, and there seems to be an impressive arts scene: we have a symphony, a chamber music festival, Shakespeare Walla Walla, a recently opened 340-seat theater that seems to be branching into arts presenting, and probably much more. I’ve got to spend some time snooping on Guidestar. There’s also a frontier past that’s still exemplified by lots of agriculture, a living history museum or two, and an affinity for cowboys. And there’s a demolition derby tonight at the annual Fair & Frontier Days. We just might go.