Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week 2 Lessons for a Snowbird

I've figured out the layout of our RV resort and can now get myself successfully to my activities: the indoor pool, line dancing lessons, two-step lessons, handbells, three discussion groups, and classes for Mac users.  And to the restaurant which serves good breakfasts and lunches. I use the mailboxes by the resort post office to orient myself before heading to our place - with 1,576 RV sites, and park models that look remarkably similar, it's easy to get lost.

Here are my current observations:

1. Living here is convenient. We can walk to everything we need within the park. Stores and shopping malls and the usual offerings of a city are within easy driving distance. The airport is ten minutes away. We don't have a yard to maintain.

2. All the activities are geared to the 55+ demographic. This is different from activities geared to the Medicare and Social Security group. There's plenty to do here to stimulate my mind and my body. I'll be 65 this year, and for the past couple of years at home I've been exercising at the local community center with my husband Art, who will be 70 this year. In those classes I'm always the youngest person. In other areas of my life, like mediation at the dispute resolution center, I'm on the upper end of the age spread. Here I am right in the middle, and I like it.

3. Everyone is friendly here, but so far I haven't had more than a cursory conversation with anyone besides Art, our landlords, and our friends Ann and Larry who showed us around the place last year. I'm finding myself wanting to make a few friends for lively conversation (other than politics, probably). We find easy, interesting conversation with the people we stay with while traveling (I've talked about the Evergreen Club and the Affordable Travel Club in other posts), but so far that hasn't happened here. I probably ought to give it a little more time before drawing any conclusions. Maybe it isn't warm enough, so everyone is staying inside.

4. If I were going to be staying longer than the two months, I'd want to find opportunities to volunteer, to be of service to the community - either within the park or in the city. I love having lots of things to do to keep myself entertained, but I need to be useful. I have found a food bank opportunity for my husband Art, who likes doing that, but nothing for myself yet.

5. I love, love, love the sun. The weather has been unusually cold for the last few days (glad I brought fleece), but it's been sunny every single day. 

6. Our rental is in the no-pet section of the park so I have seen no animals here. Today we're walking over to the pet section to pick up a book for a class. I'm looking forward to seeing some dogs. The cats will probably be sitting in their windows looking out. We took great care in making arrangements for our cat Larisa to be cared for at home - Lisa and Justen are living in our house to do that - and I'm embarrassed to admit I don't think about Larisa very much here. Probably just as well - I know she'd rather be at home with different people than in a strange place with us. Cats are like that, I think.

7. In a week and a half here, I have seen only two nonwhite people - a lovely Hispanic couple we met at the dance last Saturday. I asked my friend Ann why she thinks that is. She said, "Maybe this is what old white people want to do in the winter." I laughed, but I wonder. Is it because most of the snowbirds here are from the northern states and Canada? Is it economic? You either have to have an RV or be able to afford high-season rentals as retirees. I'm thinking about this, and I may explore it further. I'm accustomed to a diverse racial population where I live.

8. It's comfortable to look around and see a lot of people who look like Art and me - in couples, middle class, without kids or grandkids present, in reasonable health, active. It's not a posh place. I don't feel like I have to buy new clothes. The golf course is tucked away out of sight - we haven't even seen it yet.

9. I got promoted yesterday from the "newbie" handbells group to one of the two performing groups. I won't be here for the performance in March, but the director's husband will fill in for me. I am excited to be doing music again after 25 years.

10. A 55+ person who decides to take a water exercise class three days a week, line dancing and two-step lessons, and goes to dances two days in a row in Arizona - after arriving with very little Washington State exercise in the last three weeks - is very likely to strain a leg muscle. Yep, that would be me.










17 comments:

Jackie/Jake said...

Linda, it's been very cold here in Vegas as well the last few days.
I am really interested in your descriptions of the RV park.
It sounds like something we would like to do as well. We are renting a condo so there is not much chance for interaction as we are in a residential area rather than a resort.

Are you renting the RV?

turquoisemoon said...

Sounds like fun (except the volunteering part) I do stuff, but in a strange way..like being a transporter for Cairn Terriers. I'm glad there are people that actually like to volunteer. Isn't fun to be with a group near our age??? and an active group at that! Look forward to hearing all about your adventure.

Tom Sightings said...

Sounds like a great place, and congrats. on your handbell promotion! Be careful of that AZ sun, though.

Barb said...

It sounds like you are settling in. I'm especially interested in the observations 2 and seven. because of my handicap I end up at sixt two often exercising with folks much older and would like to find other opportunities. I am also used to an extremely diverse living area (money, ethnic and religion wise) and have wondered what that situation would be like.

Out on the prairie said...

Lots of fun around you.Have you hiked into the mountains yet?Check with the local conservation people for activities and volunteer opportunities.

rosaria williams said...

It sounds wonderful! Glad to see you enjoying so many activities.

The Odd Essay said...

Interesting observations.... makes me stop and consider some of my own.
Nice going on those handbells.

MerCyn said...

Sitting inside in the gray, wet, chilly Northeast I am jealous. I am looking forward to hub's retirement next year so we can spend time in warm sunny weather in winter. I love the idea you can walk everywhere. Enjoy the fun in the sun!

Ms Sparrow said...

You sound like one game gal!

Olga said...

You do keep busy. I try to take a vacation from my volunteer job, but the librarian where I devote so much time in VT sends me tasks via e-mail!

Retired English Teacher said...

You have made some great observations here. I think this place is going to grow on you. I think you will return. This seems like your kind of place. I'm glad you are enjoying yourself so well.

Muffy's Marks said...

We're in Lake Havasu and I'm running out of fleece, we only brought a few pieces so to the laundromat we go every other day!!! The Mr. would love to get rid of his Packer sweatshirt,after the landslide defeat. Unfortunately he's stuck with it as its his only warm shirt he has!!!

DJan said...

Great observations, Linda. I am sure you are having the time of your life. Those kinds of conversations you are looking for might be available if they have any kind of "mixer" gatherings. I do hope your leg muscle doesn't hold you back and heals quickly. Easy does it! :-)

Bob Lowry said...

Welcome to chilly AZ. This has been the longest cold snap in 25 years. But, today and from now on all I see are 70's in the forecast.

The sun is something we just expect to be there every day. If it is cloudy more than 2 days in a row we tend to get crabby!

You are fitting in very nicely. I'm looking forward to see you and Art next month.

Linda Reeder said...

You are amazing! You are so active and always seeking stimulating opportunities.

Madeline Hill,Freelance Writer and Artist said...

Welcome to Arizona-- I hope you'll consider spending more time here.I love the warm weather, and can tolerate heat better than cold, yes we have a couple of months of VERY HOT weather but that's when I stay inside, cook, read, write poetry, do crafts.. beats shoveling snow! Also, the cool pines are only a 2 hour drive rom here . I enjoy hearing of all your new activities!

Galen Pearl said...

I am enjoying hearing about your winter adventure. That is interesting about the lack of diversity. We (whatever our race) encounter that in various contexts in our lives. For example, there is a lack of significant diversity in my church, despite living in a mixed neighborhood and many efforts in terms of outreach. At any rate, glad you are having a good time.