Saturday, September 18, 2010

One Month and Counting.

One month and going strong...
So I've been in Roanoke for about a month now. I've learned a few back roads, I can hear the twang developing in my voice (I'm not proud of this), and I am getting a better feel for the people and the culture of the valley. Sprawling metropolis that Roanoke may be, it still very much has the small town feel. People I vaguely recall meeting once not only remember my name, but somehow seem to know every single personal fact about me, including things that I may not yet know.

"MV, do you remember meeting Mr. X?"
"Of course!" I lie.Mr. X will then proceed to tell me not only how we first met (thanks for the refresher) but also what he has learned about me from our mutual connection since we last saw one another. Now, everyone here only has to remember meeting me. My handicap is having to remember every single one of them. It's a challenge, and I am slacking something fierce. My biggest fear is them learning I don't remember meeting them, but for now I just smile and go with it. Nodding enthusiastically and occasionally going in for a hug helps too - yes, I am promoting the hugging of people who are potential strangers.

Roanoke = ParisMy supervisor loves to compare Roanoke to Paris. Obvious comparisons aside, such as it being a massive city and cultural center of the world, there is some validity to this comparison.
Zip codes are done in snail pattern, much like Paris. So, in that light, I'm just living in the Paris of Virginia. Instead of a big fancy tower, we have a massive lit-up star. And instead of the Seine, we have the Roanoke River. Other than the language, you'd never be able to tell the difference.

The Morbidity of Nonprofits
You'd think that nonprofits would be all about forward-thinking methods and general optimism. And, well, it's not that they're not - it's more that there's a dark side to them as well.

My first week at work, I found myself researching various funeral homes and crematoriums. And pet cemeteries... and so forth. This was when I was initially just trying to figure out who was generous in their donations in the area.

Now, about a month in, I've begun doing intense research in regards to planned giving - or who includes us in their will, estate plans, etc. While calling the necessary contacts, I began to realize that the nonprofit world has its ugly, morbid side. Somehow, this has become my niche for the past two weeks or so. While it sounds awful, it is a very real and necessary part of fundraising. Many nonprofits, especially in the educational realm such as universities, rely heavily on planned giving for a substantial percentage of their income. It is just incredibly essential to have a sense of humor about the whole thing, or you'll become such a Negative Nancy cynic that no one will see the point in giving to you.

The Stipend
You're probably all like, "Alright MV, that's great that you're fundraising and dealing with death and all, but how's your pretension working out for you on your limited budget?"
Let me tell you, friends, amigos, countrymen.
There's been some wine withdrawal, I'm not going to lie. I may have moved with two cases of wine (no, parents, I haven't finished them), but finding people who are like "Hey, let's get together to chill over a glass of wine!" has been rough. I went to the friendly neighborhood Kroger after work yesterday with Supervisor for a free wine tasting, and felt almost like I was at the wine tasting at Whole Foods. The sommelier had brought a zinfandel from home that he let us try - it was fantastic and honestly, I was a little bummed that it wasn't available for sale. Supervisor enjoys wine, though, which is an incredibly exciting find. There is apparently a wine festival up at the lake next weekend, but our sommelier said it was good if you're into an abundance and large variety of mediocre wine.

Going out. I don't do it, really, at all, because it costs money. (and because I'm still learning how to make friends) Or, you offer to DD. Then it's free/cheap. I eat a lot of pb&j at work. Or pb&honey. I also eat a substantial amount of pizza because you can buy a pizza here for $6. Who knew that in a one week I could go from never having had Little Caesars to having it twice?

Also, enjoy a handful of the few photos I've been able to upload! Woo.

Coming soon to the blog: my first real college football experience (and having no idea what to bring to a tailgate), being useless at work because I know no one, and my ongoing adventure to de-ghettofy Mr. Merlot.


  1. Tailgate : Hotdogs, beer, foam fingers, stereo that's louder than the potential people around you's stereo, chili, burgers, salad, sandwiches, and beer (not a repeat, just more beer).

    Oh and maybe a cooler.

  2. Very fun and entertaining, love the way you write!!!!!No desesperes niña.......antes de Diciembre tendrás a Roanoke a tus pìes.....

  3. Hi MV/PSO Roomie!

    I have to say that I am interest to hear this "twang" you think you have developed, are you becoming local so fast? Also, I have to relate to the not going out, I made one new friend who lives an hour away and have not progressed since. Soon I swear! I will become the biggest and brightest social butterfly and dominate the social scene of Greer, South Carolina. And I am sure you will be the same in Roanoke : ) If I say much more it could be an hour long conversation (1-sided of course) written on this page, so I will stop here. All the best and I wish the five hour long drive was very much shorter than 5 hours so I could see you. Weekend trip sometime this year? I could use a refreshing 10 hours of reflection time sometime in the future, I foresee it clearly. anywho, bye now!