(I forgot to mention, that I will also be using my blog to communicate some of this "Army" lifestyle, in words you can understand. You see, I don't like all this acronym business: BOLC, TTYL[that's probably not even the right acronym] BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Usually I just have Steven explain these to me in lamens terms, and then I turn around and communicate that to other "civilians.")
People have been asking me what hotel living is like. It's not too bad. Living in hotels definitely has pros and cons. It is very strange though, this "nomadic" life we are living. Technically we are "homeless," and not in the liberating way, like in the film Into The Wild. You're probably wondering, "why are you living in a hotel? That seems silly." It is silly. Allow me to explain:
I'm not "supposed" to be here in Virginia with Steven. "They," (all those people who make the arrangements for Steven, and his fellow officers at BOLC) don't really care that I'm here, but essentially they aren't going to pay Steven extra money, or put him in base housing, or any of that--because this is only temporary. Steven is not stationed at Fort Lee, he is stationed in Germany. This Virginia adventure is just a "pit stop" if you will.
So during our pit stop we have stayed in three hotels. This isn't counting the hotels we stayed in on the way up here, of course. We have stayed in:
The Holiday Inn Express, in Petersburg (Yikes)
The Comfort Suites, in Colonial Heights (VERY NICE)
The Candlewood Suites, in Hopewell, (..Eh..)
Fort Lee is not a city, (this is a misconception I have found when talking to people). Think of it like an exceptionally large gated community. This gated community is surrounded by three cities: Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell. These cities bleed together and are often referred to as the "Tri-Cities." But make no mistake, they are very different in many places. The Army "assigned" us to a hotel when we arrived at Fort Lee, (The Holiday Inn, in Petersburg). They don't care if you actually stay there, but you will have to be responsible to make your own new accommodations if you leave. By the way, the Army pays for the daily hotel rate, (I know, what a waste of money, right?)
Petersburg is terrifying. Don't go there. If you find yourself traveling through central Virginia one day, and need to stop to use the bathroom in Petersburg---hold it. The hotel we stayed in there was decent but you would never want to step outside of the hotel. Let's just say, because of the high crime and poverty rates that Petersburg makes South Oklahoma City look middle class.We left as soon as we could.
Colonial Heights is nice. When I say "nice", I mean there is a Wal-Mart, a Target, a ton of chain restaurants, (I am SO tired of Red Lobster) and a small mall. It feels very safe. The Comfort Suites was a great hotel. Our room was huge, and pretty, and the bathroom had a giant Jacuzzi in it! YES! However, this place did not have a kitchen, and Steven was really hoping for one those. At this point in time, I was not actually eating/drinking anything with any success, so I could have cared less about the kitchen.
But this kitchen was necessary. You see, the Army also gives us $50.00 a day for food. I realize that doesn't sound like a lot at first, but at the end of the month that means we have $1,400.00....just for food. Which we definitely used at least a hefty portion of, (because of the lack of kitchen to cook our own food of course). Before this trip, going out to eat was VERY exciting for me. I'm the girl that does a little dance, or exclaims "YES!" when the little plastic buzzer coaster lights up while waiting for table at a restaurant. Not anymore. I am very tired of dining out.
So Steven called around to hopefully find a place with a kitchen. These are popular--and not easy to swing. There are TONS of military guys, (enlisted men and officers alike) who are in the Tri-Cities area temporarily at Fort Lee. And I believe they are all interested in rooms with kitchens.
Now we live at the Candlewood Suites, in Hopewell. Hopewell is not as scary as Petersburg, but there is less to do than in Colonial Heights. So, it's a pretty happy medium. And---we have a kitchen!
For Labor Day weekend we headed to Charleston South Carolina and stayed in a super beautiful Bed and Breakfast. I know some people don't really like the idea of a B&B. I too was once very creeped out, but now I love them, and I look forward to any destination that might offer a quaint, or luxurious Bed and Breakfast.
I would like to post some of my videos, but Candlewood's internet doesn't really allow for anything besides basic internet surfing. So--we'll see.